Two Biloxi High School student athletes spread inspiration on campus

Both coaches say one thing we can learn from the dynamic duo is to preserve.
Published: Oct. 20, 2023 at 8:24 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Teachers and students celebrating their hard work is nothing new at a pep rally. Even having cheerleaders is nothing new. But one shining star on Biloxi High School’s squad is moving to her own beat.

Senior Bailee Edwards is a student athlete who has Down Syndrome. Her dance moves are second only to her spirit.

“Cheerleading gets me motivated because it’s fun and it’s making people happy in their own ways, and I love doing that because I’m very inspired by cheer,” said Edwards.

Another inspiring moment came a week ago when Bailee was crowned homecoming queen. It was a moment that left her speechless.

“I never thought I was going to get it, but it turns out I did, and look at me changing the world right now,” said Edwards.

“The tears were flowing. Everything was right in the world,” said Hartley Frederic. “People were happy and cheering her name.”

That special moment is one Cheer coach Hartley Frederic says Bailee truly deserved.

“She truly bleeds, eats and sleeps Biloxi,” said Hartley.

Like Bailee, Biloxi High swimmer Joel Burris has Down Syndrome. A few years ago, he went through a major reconstructive hip surgery that kept him out of the pool. But with the support from his family and team, he’s making a splash on the team and on campus.

WLOX asked, “Do you enjoy the rest of your peers and friends?”

“Yeah,” Burris said.

“Do they give you a lot of inspiration?”

“They do,” Burris said.

“It definitely gave us a chill bump at some swim meets whenever he would finish his race,” said Christine Laird.

Christine Laird is Joel’s swim coach at the school and says he brings a bright spirit to the team.

“He made me extremely proud. And even all the other teammates said that they feel like they could do anything they could put their minds to,” said Laird.

Both coaches say one thing we can learn from the dynamic duo is to persevere.

“We need to have that outlook on whatever we go through and no matter what troubles we may be facing, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and give us joy,” said Frederic.

“If you put your mind to it, you definitely can achieve it,” Laird said. “And try new things, even if you haven’t done it before.”

Click here to subscribe to WLOX News on YouTube: Keep up with South Mississippi news, sports, and local events on our YouTube channel!