LONDONâ€”In July of 2011, 16-year-old Columbia City High School student Jade Shopell attended a UCA (Universal Cheerleaders Association) cheer camp and was selected as an All American.
This awarded her the opportunity to fly with All Americans from all over the United States to London, England on an eight-day trip, culminating in their appearance in Londonâ€™s New Yearâ€™s Day Parade.
The All Americans were divided into three groups. Each group was sent a DVD of a dance mix they were to learn and perform along the parade route.
Jade didnâ€™t think twice about boarding a plane with people she had never known before, crossing an ocean and spending eight days in another country.
Before that performance, these three groups were treated to a tour of London with their peers. The day after arriving included seeing such places as Buckingham Palace, The Tower of England, St. Paulâ€™s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.
They spent the third day as tourists and were split up into smaller groups, given a London Transport Day Ticket, known as â€śthe Tube,â€ť for use on the extensive underground network much like the subways of New York City.
She even got her photo taken on â€śPlatform 9 and 3/4â€ť which was a highlight as Jade is a fan of the Harry Potter series.
Their fifth day was spent much like the second. They caught all the sights they did not have time for on the previous tour day.
That evening they were told to wear â€śglad ragsâ€ť as they were being treated to a West End Theater Show. The show was â€śLegally Blonde: The Musical.â€ť
Jade loved every minute of it. This would be New Yearâ€™s Eve. They celebrated together as a group at the hotel.
Greeted as superstars
Jade mentioned that there are no cheerleaders in England and other countries. They were superstars wherever they went. Cashiers would ask why they were in London and when Jade answered the reply was almost always â€śReally! The Cheerleaders!â€ť
The day of the parade, the spectators soon learned a chant the Cheerleaders authored for the London 2012 Celebration and joined in with them wherever they went along the route. They also performed many times at possibly 20 grandstands along a route they danced and cheered past Big Ben, Dowling Street, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, The Ritz Hotel and Berkeley Square. They ended their day in the heart of London in a fine restaurant to celebrate the week.