This week, Temple’s Diamond Gems welcomed a new addition to their roster. 11-year-old Sianni Rodgers signed with the dance team as their newest gem.
Rodgers was able to connect with the Diamond Gems through an organization called Team Impact.
Team Impact is dedicated to connecting children with illnesses to collegiate athletic teams. They work to foster bonds and solidarity through sports.
The team and the athletics administration staff gathered for an official signing ceremony in Pearson & McGonigle Hall on Sunday.
“We’ve been waiting for this day for a little while,” says Jenn Keller, the Gems’ head coach.
“We’ve all started as a family a couple months ago. Sianni’s been able to do a couple things with us in practices, we even got a photoshoot one day which was pretty cool,” Keller remarked. “It was really when we got to see Sianni’s fun side. She’s been a great addition to the team so far.”
Sianni was diagnosed with sickle cell disease when she was two months old, and has experienced extensive treatments for her condition.
Her mother, Erica Washington, says she is happy to see Sianni step into a new role.
“I’m just glad she gets to experience this after all she’s been going through besides her being in and out of the hospital,” Wasington commented.
Sianni had a busy Sunday on campus. After her signing, she attended the volleyball game and danced along the sidelines with her new team.
When asked how it felt to be a part of a college dance team, she said she was, “Happy for the new opportunity and new experiences.”
Sianni also said she’s been practicing the dances she’s learned from her teammates and getting ready for her next appearances, as basketball season approaches.
She is hoping to attend the final home football game as well, on November 13.
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