Home' The Chronicle : Canberra Chronicle 19-08-2014 Contents Tuesday, August 19, 2014 - 4
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Family among growing sport's devotees
Aaron Clark, Chloe Thornton (12), Maria Clark and Lucinda Clark (20 months), are all members of Sirens
Photo: Rohan Thomson
Younger sisters yearn to follow in their
siblings' footsteps and 21-month old
Lucinda Clark is no exception.
Little Lucinda has just begun
cheerleading but her elder sister Chloe
Thornton has reached competitive
heights in the dynamic sport.
Since Chloe began cheering five
years ago, the sport has taken hold in
their family and now the girls' mum
Maria Clark competes in a parents'
cheerleading squad at Sirens -- the
ACT's only dedicated sprung floor
"You get an appreciation of how
difficult the techniques are and what
the kids have to do," Mrs Clarke said.
As a toddler, Lucinda had to cheer
as a spectator while her mum and sister
took part in the ACT regional
cheerleading competition, held for the
third time this year.
Seven all-star cheerleading teams
from across the ACT and one from
Goulburn took part in a day of high
Sirens head coach Rianna
MacDougall said in the past few years
she has witnessed an explosion of
interest in competitive all-star
cheerleading and with it a decline in
the view that cheerleading was not a
"Our athletes are the main event, we
are not sideline cheerleaders," she
As a former member of the NRL
North Queensland Cowboys
Hotsquad, Ms MacDougall has spent
time as a corporate cheerleader but
was drawn to pursue the sport
competitively and represented
Australia at the World Cheerleading
Championships in 2010.
Establishing Sirens and creating the
ACT's first dedicated cheer gym in
2012 was a daring move but one she
said has paid off, seeing the success
and enjoyment the gym yields from
the squad's 130 strong membership.
Of course there is fun, bling-y
costumes and plenty of hairspray but
. . . it's a sport that requires trust and a
strong culture of teamwork."
A new action plan for the endangered
brush-tailed rock-wallaby aims to
help the species recover from near-
extinction. Minister for the
Environment Simon Corbell said
action plans protected local species
by outlining strategies for their
identification, protection, survival
"We learned much about the
conservation needs of the brush-
tailed rock-wallaby (Petrogale
penicillata) while implementing the
first plan from 1999 and are now
ready to guide further recovery
actions with a new plan,'' he said.
"To ensure the species is around for
generations to come, it is important
we get this action plan right, and that
is why we are asking the community,
experts and stakeholders to comment
on the draft."
NAPLAN RESULTS PUT
ACT AT HEAD OF CLASS
ACT students continue to be the best-
performing in Australia, the latest
NAPLAN results show. Minister for
Education and Training Joy Burch
said the NAPLAN testing program
was first introduced in 2008 with
18,000 students in years 3, 5, 7 and 9
across the ACT participating in May
this year. "NAPLAN test results are
important in understanding how ACT
students are performing in literacy
and numeracy, and how we can
provide support where it is needed
the most," Ms Burch said. ACT
students have been the highest
performing in Australia every year
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