Liberty High School’s competitive cheer team was selected to participate in the 2023 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade this November, and the team is raising money to help fund their travel, lodging, food and other expenses.
“Our first goal is to raise more money in order to get there safely for travel,” Liberty special education teacher and varsity cheer coach Alicia Schrank told FauquierNow. “So right now, we have 30 people registered, and that includes athletes, coaches and spectators that are coming from Liberty High School, essentially.”
Last November, a few weeks after Liberty’s cheer team received third place at the Class 4 state meet in Richmond, Schrank said she sat down with her family to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade on NBC before the football game as she does every year.
But while watching the event, she noticed some of the performers consisted of fellow middle school and high school cheer teams.
“I saw all the cheerleaders and was like, 'How do we do that?'” Schrank said.
When she looked up how to participate in the parade on Macy's website, there was the option to submit an audition tape. Schrank said she wasted no time and sent in a recording of the team’s most recent performance at the state championship.
The website said it takes about seven to 10 days to process the application. But because Schrank submitted it so close to Thanksgiving, the team didn’t hear back until late January.
“At the end of January, like on a random Tuesday, we got an email that said 'Congratulations, you will be performing in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade,’” Schrank said.
Thousands of dancers and cheerleaders perform in the parade each year, but only about 600 cheerleaders, ages 13-18, are selected from camps, competitions and auditions nationwide to participate.
Although Liberty will be represented at the parade, the team will receive special Macy's cheer uniforms and perform among hundreds of other athletes in front of about 27 million people.
When the team arrives, they have a busy schedule consisting multiple rehearsals a day. But in between, Schrank said her athletes would also have the opportunity to see a Broadway show, take a tour of the Empire State Building, embark on a Statue of Liberty tour and more.
The total cost for each athlete to attend is approximately $60,000, or about $3,000 a person, according to Schrank.
Schrank said the parents signed up their children knowing the team may not raise that much money, in which case they would have to pay out of pocket. But she noted the money is not due until September, giving everyone time to prepare.
“Lots of parents have been taking flyers and stuff to church. They've been asking local businesses, where they have family members or connections, to make sponsorship donations,” Schrank said. “So, as of right now, we have not seen a problem.”
Nearly 30 businesses and community stakeholders have donated already, according to Schrank, but the team still needs more.
“No amount is too small. Everything counts,” Schrank said.
Anyone who would like to donate may do so through the Fauquier Excellence in Education’s website at https://www.flipcause.com/secure/cause_pdetails/MTc2NTMz or using the QR code below. Sponsors are also able to donate online with a credit card and receive a tax-deductible receipt.
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