Incline cheerleaders invited to perform in Macy’s Thanksgiving parade | SierraSun.com

Incline cheerleaders invited to perform in Macy’s Thanksgiving parade

Kayla Anderson
Special to the Bonanza

The Incline High Varsity Cheer Team performs at halftime of this past Friday's home football game.

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — When Incline High School cheerleading team members received word that they were invited to perform in this year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, it was like a dream come true. But now they have to raise the funds to get there.

"If a cheer team goes to competitions and do well, submit videos or write letters, then they are considered to cheer in the Macy's Day Parade," IHS Head Cheer Coach/Advisor Marie Villa says.

She said that usually just one person from a team gets invited to go, so the fact that the whole IHS team got invited makes it a pretty rare opportunity.

Villa says the parade committee receives thousands of letters per year from cheer teams vying to be in the parade, so it was a wonderful surprise that IHS was selected.

When they received word in May 2016, Villa immediately started talking it up to the cheer teams and gave up her summer to help raise funds.

The cheer team needs to raise $30,000 to be able to afford to send the team of eight cheerleaders, one chaperon, and the coach to New York City.

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They spent all summer hosting bake sales, car washes and working over the Fourth of July — resulting in a $1,000 donation from the Highlander Pride. The IHS Varsity Cheer Team has also been selling $250 corporate sponsorships all around the lake.

"The kids have said, 'coach, we'll do anything; just let us get there,'" Villa said. "We could take a personal loan to raise the (remainder of) the money, but then we would be in debt. I'm trying to teach the kids that raising this money can be done with perseverance."

Villa says that the $3,000 per cheerleader includes their airfare, costumes, a week's hotel stay at the Hilton, a metro pass, the travel bus, tours and more.

If they get to go to NYC, the cheerleaders will tour the Statue of Liberty, visit the Empire State Building, explore the 9/11 site, and attend a few Broadway musicals including The Rockettes. The IHS Cheer Team will also appear on NBC's Today Show.

Macy's parade cheerleaders are required to practice twice a day starting at 4:30 a.m. while in Manhattan to prepare for the parade and wear the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade jackets when touring the city.

"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for locals who would never get to go," Villa says. "If these kids can get on a plane and fly across the United States to see what's out there, then maybe it will prompt them to want to further their education and a career."

Villa explained that a lot of the high school students she works with are juggling full-time jobs, studying, living with lots of other family members, and fending off peer pressure, so this would be a nice diversion.

"It would be an amazing opportunity for these kids to get out of Tahoe and see the world," Villa says. "I want to hear when I'm old how this trip changed their life. It takes a village to raise a family; let's get them somewhere, give our kids a little hope and magic.

"We have 276 kids in the high school, and our cheer kids get the chance to be in the Macy's Day Parade; this is the first time ever this has happened. It's an amazing opportunity."

Kayla Anderson is an Incline Village-based freelance writer with a background in marketing and journalism. Email her at kaylaanderson1080@gmail.com.

How you can help

The IHS Varsity Cheer Team still has to raise $10,000 more to meet their mark by September 14. To make a donation, visit any Wells Fargo and ask for money to be deposited in the “Incline Cheer” account; visit D.C.’s Pilates at 917 Tahoe Blvd. #202 (above Rainbow Printing); or contact Marie Villa at gracefullyserving_him@yahoo.com or 559-760-3567.

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