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Barbie cheers with team

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Gabriella Palumbo, a senior on the varsity cheerleading team, got ready for senior dress day. After making sure she was clad in an all American outfit, she turned her attention to her giant Barbie doll, wrapping an American flag bandana over her duct tape cheerleading uniform and tying red and white ribbons in her hair.

A senior on the varsity cheerleading team discovered the doll in her basement two years ago, and the girls decided to make her the team mascot after seeing another cheerleading squad with their very own doll at camp. They decided to name her Agnes Jablonski. Now Agnes serves as an honorary member of the squad, joining the cheerleaders at games. She even wears her own official duct tape Hinsdale Central uniform.

Palumbo became the official owner of Agnes when the seniors on the team two years ago passed her down at their end of the season banquet.

“It was an honor to get [Agnes],” Palumbo said. “I love dressing her up with the seniors and acting like she’s a part of our senior class.” Despite Palumbo’s official ownership, she shares the doll with the other cheerleaders.

“Everyone just plays with her and carries her around,” said Emily Park, a sophomore on the JV cheerleading team. “We put her in stunts.” According to Park, Agnes doesn’t just interact with her fellow cheerleaders.

“It’s kind of funny to freak people out with (Agnes),” Park said. “Last week, we went to York, and we brought her around and scared people who were coming out of the bathroom. We would set it in front of the door.”

Despite being a doll, Agnes seems to bring a lot of joy to the cheerleaders. “She’s like a mini us, and it makes us feel spirited,” said Taylor Gray, a junior on the varsity cheerleading team. “She’s sacred.”

This special effect of the doll is not always shared with everyone, however. Park explained she is almost exclusively a varsity team doll.

“[The varsity team is] really protective of [Agne]),” Park said. “We were playing with her at the game, and they were like, ‘Don’t do that!’ It’s a varsity doll. They bring her everywhere and get her accessories. It’s kind of weird.”

As far as who is set to get the doll next year, Palumbo says she is not yet sure who will receive the honor. “[I will choose] someone who shows good leadership but also has the best school spirit,” Palumbo said.

The cheerleaders plan on keeping Agnes as a permanent member of the team. “It’s a tradition now that a senior will pass down to a junior at the end of the season,” Palumbo said.

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Barbie cheers with team