HANFORD — The Hanford High Cheer Team have the chance to spend Thanksgiving in New York City along some of the most talented cheerleaders and dancers in the country.
The varsity team was recently invited to perform in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade as part of Spirit of America Cheer, a group of 500 elite cheerleaders selected from across the country.
“I’m very surprised we were invited,” said Victoria Ramirez, Hanford High Cheer Team captain. “The fact that they picked our whole team to go, that was awesome. It was definitely a surprise for all of us.”
The team was selected by Morton Burgue and Regina Kahn of Cheergyms, based out of Concord, Varsity Head Coach Timerie Correia said.
The varsity team attended a cheer camp hosted by Burgue and Kahn, who are also choreographers and representatives of the Macy’s Spirit of America cheer team. Burgue saw the team perform and selected them to go to the parade, Correia said.
Cheerleaders usually have to audition to land a spot in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, but representatives like Burgue have the opportunity to choose some of the Spirit of America cheerleaders for the big event.
“Besides performing in the parade, the girls also get to go to a Broadway show, visit the Sept. 11 memorial and the Statue of Liberty,” Correia said. “It’s all one package.”
The team still hasn’t decided if they will go together or if it will be up to individual cheerleaders to attend because of the expensive trip fee: $2,475 per person, according to the Spirit of America website.
The price includes hotel accommodations, meals, performance materials and several admission tickets to memorials and shows between rehearsals. The travel to and from New York City is not included.
The team or individual members will have to fundraise to be able to attend, Correia said.
Past coach Gina Young, who coached the cheer team for 15 years, said she doesn’t think a Hanford cheerleader has been invited to perform at the parade before, let alone a whole team.
The other performance groups at the event will be Fred Astaire Dance Studios, Spirit of America Dance Stars and Young People’s Chorus of New York City.
Performing in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a once-of-a-lifetime opportunity, Junior Varsity Coach Jillian Hampshire said.
“I think it’s such a great opportunity for them,” Hampshire said. “It’s a really good way to kickoff the season, and it’s a confidence booster; now they know for sure they are good enough.”