MAIZE (KSNW) – What a Maize High School cheerleader may lack in height, she makes up for in spirit.

Senior Katie Scheer is 3 feet, 11 inches tall. She is often the smallest on the cheerleading mat, but her heart and love for the sport are bigger than most can imagine.

“It’s kind of just like what I enjoy doing and what I am passionate about,” said Katie Scheer.

Scheer’s passion for cheer started in middle school.

“In sixth grade probably, I was probably looking at the cheerleaders at a pep assembly, and I was like, ‘oh my goodness, they can do so many cool things. Why don’t I do that?’ I just came home to my parents, and I was like, ‘Can I try this, and they said, ‘Yeah, go for it,'” Sheer explained.

The rest is history. Scheer joined her middle school cheer team. She now cheers on the Maize High School varsity squad. However, the road to becoming a cheerleader was not exactly smooth. Scheer will admit her confidence wavered at times.

“Back then, I didn’t think I could do any of the things I still do now,” she said. “I honestly think if I didn’t join the team, I probably would not be where I am today.”

Scheer has achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism that impairs bones’ growth in the limbs and can cause abnormal growth in the spine and skull.

“My torso is the same, but my arms and my legs are shorter, but that’s kind of it,” Scheer said. “I think my head is also considered a little bigger.”

Scheer said she used to struggle connecting with others. At times, she wasn’t sure if she fits in.

“As a kid, it was probably hard just because I was like growing up seen different, but like I developed friends and my family, they were just so supportive,” she said.

That support system grew as she developed friends on the cheer team.

“They have pushed me, and they have known I have struggled with connecting with others, so it just pushed me to get out of my comfort zone,” she explained.

Scheer’s joy for life has pushed some of her teammates out of their comfort zone too.

“To be a cheerleader, you have to be loud and have pep, and she brings all of that to our team, and definitely, we wouldn’t be who we are without her,” said Maize Cheer Captain Cora Malone. “Me, personally like I am nervous to be in front of a crowd like that, especially during basketball games being right directly out there. She definitely has made me more confident in myself and has made me a better leader overall.”

Malone said Scheer is a natural leader who has a way of making everyone feel included adding Scheer has taught her a meaningful life lesson: anything is possible.

“Just no matter like who you are, where you came from that you can do anything that you want to do and just believe in yourself,” Malone said.

KSN asked Scheer what it’s like to know she is encouraging others to be themselves.

“It’s just nice knowing that people are inspired by it,” Scheer said. “I am able to help others.”

After high school graduation, Scheer plans to continue to help others. She will study pediatric nursing at Kansas University.