WELLSBORO — A recent trip to England to march and perform in the New Year’s Day parade in London, England, was beyond the expectations of two high school cheerleaders.
Senior Lexia Cover, daughter of Jeffrey Tramell of Wellsboro and Kelli Cover of Harrisburg, and junior Elaine Dickinson, daughter of Kristina and Michael Dickinson of Wellsboro, returned Jan. 2 from London, England where they were members of the Varsity Spirit All American Cheerleader Squad.
They returned from their eight-day stay still excited by the sights, sounds and experiences of the trip.
“It was way different than I expected,” said Lexia. “I thought we’d be practicing every day. We had one rehearsal, then we went sightseeing.”
“It didn’t even feel like I was in London,” Elaine said. “It was amazing to see all the different buildings and architecture.”
The pair met other cheerleaders at JFK Airport on Dec. 26, and flew to London where they gathered with more than 700 cheerleaders from the U.S. and overseas military bases on Dec. 27.
“Most of them were nice and likeable,” said Elaine.
The members of the squad are selected from the Universal Cheerleaders Association and National Cheerleaders Association summer camps.
Lexia and Elaine were chosen in August 2018 and raised $3,000 by November. They received Navy blue uniforms accented in red and white and routines to memorize before the event.
The group was divided into three sections — Celebration, Dancing in the Streets and Rhythm Nation — each performing a different routine. Lexia and Elaine were in the Celebration group, performing to the song by the same name with dancers, pyramid building and stunting.
They performed the routine eight times along the 2.2-mile parade route, taking almost four hours to go from start to finish.
“We’d perform at one judge’s station and then basically sprint to the next one,” Lexia said. “You’ve got to be a cheerleader inside and out. You can’t be tight the first time and then stop. You have to stay tight the whole way through.”
The final station was telecast. Information on the parade can be found at lnydp.com.
The girls brought home lots of clothing, souvenirs and memories: crossing Abbey Road (only Elaine, whose mother is a Beatles’ fan, knew the significance), getting lost in Harrod’s Department Store, their escort Sal getting shut in the subway door, the frequency of Starbucks, ice skating, the food at Borough Market, the “best ever” macaroni and cheese and hot chocolate at the Cinnamon Cafe.
It’s an experience both girls recommend to other cheerleaders.
“Try the best you can to go because it’s an awesome and amazing experience,” said Elaine.
Both thank the people who supported their fundraising efforts.
“Thanks to our parents and everyone who supported us along the way,” Elaine said.
“Thank you to everyone who believed in us as cheerleaders,” Lexia added. “Not everyone believes cheering is a sport, but it showed us how much is required to be a cheerleader.”