cheer

Mikayla Harmon (left) and Shelbie Rhodes (right) were two out of around 650 high school cheerleaders from the U.S. invited to perform in London.

Two of Little Elm High School’s cheerleaders will be performing in the New Year’s Day Parade in London. The girls are two out of over 650 U.S. high school cheerleaders and dancers who will be performing in the parade.

LEHS sophomore Shelbie Rhodes said she and junior Mikayla Harmon were both chosen as All-Americans based on their superior cheer, dance and leadership skills while they were at the University of Texas at Arlington summer camp, hosted by the Universal Cheerleaders Association and Universal Dance Association, which are both Varsity Spirit brands.

Rhodes said she and Harmon will be required to learn a routine, which they will perform every five minutes during the parade. The cheerleaders will be performing to the songs “Shake it off,” “We are One,” “Happy” and “Bounce.”

According to the Varsity Spirit website, only the top 12 percent of over 325,000 cheerleaders who participate in the summer camp get the chance to perform in the London parade.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Rhodes said. “I’m counting down the days.”

Roughly 300 million people worldwide tune in on their TVs to watch the London New Year’s Day Parade, the London New Year’s Day Parade wrote on its website. In addition to that number, the website stated that two thirds of a million people attend the parade each year.

 “This is the 29th year we’ve been able to bring these talented cheerleaders to London where they can showcase their skills to a very enthusiastic international audience, and explore the rich culture and heritage of this great city,” said Mike Fultz, the International Event Coordinator for Varsity Spirit.

Rhodes said Varsity Spirit has various sightseeing tours planned for the cheerleaders and their families when they are not practicing. They will not, however, be paying for hotels, flights and spending money.

Rhodes’ father, Scott Rhodes, said Shelbie has worked hard for this opportunity through her love of cheer and ambitious personality.

“My daughter is crazy,” Scott said. “I don’t know how she does it. She cheers for Cheer Athletics, works part time at Rudy’s and is on the powerlifting team at her school. She’s highly motivated.”

Rhodes said she loves everything about cheerleading, especially the community involvement. As a member of competitive cheerleading outside of school, and a Varsity LEHS cheerleader, she said she enjoys both the sport and the audience engagement seen at school games.

To learn more about the parade, visit lnydp.com.

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