Tumbling at Thanksgiving: CSS Spirit at the Thanksgiving Day Parade

Mia Mikki, Reporter

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Stepping out in style, The Columbia Secondary School (CSS) Cheerleading Squad made their televised debut into the public spotlight at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

As the first-ever New York City team to participate in the Parade, the cheer squad received the memorable opportunity to show off their marching, tumbling, and spirit skills. Seeing as many of the other cheer teams marching in the parade arrived from different states in America, such as Georgia and Alaska, CSS was very excited to represent NYC on its home turf.

When asked how it felt to receive such an incredible opportunity to march in front of millions, both in person and on television, Ariel Kuhl, sophomore, replied, “I was honestly shocked when I got the email [to march] in the summer because we’re such a small school and who would have thought that we, that WE of all the schools in New York would have the opportunity to be a part of such a big tradition in the whole country!”

Other members of the team seemed to feel the same way when asked the question.

“It felt completely surreal” gushed Sencere Jones, sophomore. “When I was marching down the street in front of all of those people I felt like a celebrity.”

When asked how it felt coming from a relatively small school and marching at the parade Kuhl responded, saying, “I don’t know how we did it, We’re so small! Everyone I know, when I tell them I go to this school, they don’t know the name, they don’t recognize us, but I guess we did something right.”

Jessica Dilone, sophomore, highlighted the differences between the Parade and the cheerleader’s usual competitions.

“It wasn’t different groups doing different things,” explained Dilone. “It was different groups doing the same thing, so we all had the same struggles with doing the numbers and just learning to memorize the routine, so the Parade had a very different feel because we were all working together for a common goal and not all individual goals.”

“First of all for the march there was 500 of us total,” added Kuhl. “So we had late night practices from six to ten thirty, like 3 or four times a week, and it was all for a one minute dance. We worked what? 12 hours for one minute on T.V. An actual Cheer routine involves so much more, we have stunts we have tumbling, and we get to do it all; for the parade, only some people were selected to do stunts and others tumbling.”

When asked how they thought the march affected the cheerleaders and CSS as a whole, Dilone replied, “Well as a whole, we kind of realized that we were good, because in this school we don’t get recognized as much because PSAL sports take priority. Getting the opportunity to march kind of gave us some recognition in this school because people would come up to us and say, “Oh my god, your gonna march and that’s a really cool experience”. For me, I think, I appreciate Cheer more because I realized I had this amazing opportunity to march in this parade and put this in my resumé.”

“ I just, I’m so grateful that I had the chance to do that, to be honest,” added Kuhl. “I never really watched the parade as a tradition but suddenly I’m in it and it was so surreal.”

Dilone also adds to keep an eye out for their next competition on January 13 at The Bronx High School for Science.

”We’re very excited and hope we’ll place. It’s definitely possible because we won first place in our last competition last year and we placed second in the previous one to that,” said Dilone.

“Hopefully in addition to all the competition, we’ll get to participate in the parade again next year,” said Kuhl. “In Cheer, you’re always supposed to smile but, this time I was smiling for real!”

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