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Worthington native living her dream as a Celtics cheerleader

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Jessica McClain of Worthington is a Boston Celtics cheerleader for the 2015-2016 season.

Jessica McClain, a cheerleader for the Boston Celtics, credits her Worthington family for encouraging her to reach her goals.

“It took a lot of work and a lot of family support to get here,” McClain said.

The 21-year-old, who graduated from Kittanning High School in 2012, manages a busy schedule as a Boston Celtics Green Team cheerleader while working full-time at the Boston Conservatory.

“I go from work to practice or from work to a game with sometimes only an hour of free time in a day,” she said.

But it’s a pace she enjoys. She said she hopes to continue cheering as long as she can. On the squad, McClain is a co- ed flyer, tumbler and an all-girl base and backspot.

One of her favorite things about cheering for the Boston Celtics at the NBA games is seeing the excitement on the kids’ faces.

McClain has been tumbling and cheerleading since she was 3. She got her start in the YMCA gymnastics program in Kittanning and at the Twist & Shout All-Stars in Ford City. From there she continued to build her skills through many competitive cheerleading programs while still in school.

She cheered for Kittanning Area Middle School and High School before attending college and cheering for the University of Central Arkansas. Her training and professional stunt, tumbling and cheering at national and international venues led her last year to a spot on the Detroit Pistons cheerleading team and to her current spot as a Boston Celtics cheerleader.

“We’re very proud of her,” said Sharon Grafton, McClain’s grandmother.

“She sure has a lot more nerve than I do,” she said.

Grafton and her husband, Rich, own Bower’s Feed Store in Worthington. They were able to see their granddaughter cheer at a Detroit Pistons game in Michigan last year and hope to see her at Celtics game this season.

But it’s likely they’ll get to see her even sooner when she returns home for a visit this fall. McClain said she is looking forward to coming back to Worthington to see family and friends.

And she has advice for all aspiring cheerleaders out there.

“Cheerleading is hard work and a lot of time and effort goes into it, she said. “If you believe you can do it, then go for it.”

And it helps to have the support from family and friends, she said.

“They supported me every step of the way,” she said.

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or [email protected].

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