Houston County Courier - Local News
Stories Added - December 2008
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company
Cheerleaders Will Celebrate New Year's Day in London
Houston County Courier - December 2008
By Sharron Randall
On the day after Christmas, Thursday, Dec. 26, two Grapeland High School Varsity Cheerleaders will leave Dallas on a flight to London, England to participate in the 2009 London Varsity Spirit Parade on New Year's Day.
Junior Stefanie Garrett, who turned 17 on Dec. 16, and sophomore Kelsey Hadley, 15, earned the privilege of traveling to London and appearing in the New Year's Day parade when they attended cheer camp at Stephen F. Austin University in June and were chosen to be UCA Varsity All Stars.
By performing a dance, cheer and jump during the tryouts, and placing at least 1st, 2nd or 3rd, the duo qualified as All Stars. Hundreds of girls from all over the United States that were chosen from each cheer camp will also leave on Dec. 26, and return Friday, Jan. 2.
Once in London, the girls' itinerary before parade day and between rehearsals includes touring Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, St. Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, and Houses of Parliament and Windsor Palace. They will get to go on a disco cruise on the River Thames, watch a West End show and go shopping at Harrods, one of the world's largest department stores.
Information packets and uniforms arrived by FedEx. The Texans were instructed that McDonald's French fries are called chips; that potato chips are called crisps; the bathroom is called the loo or water closet; donuts are called croissants; that instead of waiting in line, they will form a queue; that instead of using dollars, they will use pounds; that instead of getting iced tea, it will be hot tea and if ice is requested in drinks, there will only be a couple of pieces.
Washcloths are not provided in Great Britain, so the girls will have to include those items in the one suitcase they are allowed.
Cheerleaders' uniforms include toasty toes to put in shoes to help keep feet warm during the 3-mile long parade route which will take them past Big Ben, Downing Street, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, the Ritz Hotel and Berkeley Square.
The parade will be televised and it’s estimated that there will be about 20,000 total participants, half a million to a million streetside viewers, as well as the mayors of London's municipalities and other dignitaries.
Stefanie has been in dance, gymnastics or tumbling since she was three. Since dance is her main love, her current plans are to try out for the Kilgore Rangerettes and apply for the Physical Therapy Assistant program when she graduates from high school.
Besides being a varsity cheerleader, she participates in other sports including volleyball, track, powerlifting and softball.
How she's going to pack a week's worth of winter clothing in one suitcase is one of Stefanie's main concerns. She was told that the carry on bag should be reserved for her uniform and pom poms.
Kelsey has been a cheerleader since she was 7, when she began cheering the Little League football in Santa Fe. Her cheerleading accomplishments are many and she hopes to become a college cheerleader when she attends SFA after graduation.
She's looking forward to her trip, experiencing the culture in another country, and shopping! Her main concern is how she's going to get all her "stuff" back home in that one suitcase and being without her cell phone for one week!
Stefanie is the daughter of Eric and Rachel Wortham of Grapeland and the granddaughter of Roland and Jo Gills of Bossier City, La. and J.W. and Melba Wortham of Tyler.
Stefanie's mom, Grandmother Gill and Aunt Robin Hughes are all going to London as well.
Kelsey is the daughter of Larry and Kathy Hadley of Grapeland, the granddaughter of Bill and Sharon Hadley and Judy West, all of Grapeland, and Larry and Patricia Ceres of Santa Fe.
Both girls are looking forward to the "once in a lifetime" opportunity and according to their parents who really wanted them to go and enjoy this experience, "They both love to cheer, dance and perform and will get to experience new cultures, foods, travel and make a lot of new friends."