LONGMEADOW, MA – It’s usually this time of year when one notices a miracle somewhere, and it’s been one miracle after another for the Longmeadow Knights, this small town’s Cheerleader Competition Team.
The Longmeadow Knights qualified for nationals and received a bid to attend the National High School Cheerleading Competition at Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL, Feb. 8-9.
The NHSCC is considered the most prestigious cheerleading championship in the country. This ESPN-hosted event is nationally televised on ESPN and ESPN2 to more than 100 million homes and 32 countries nationwide each year.
It was truly a miracle that brought them to this moment. The team made a commitment at the beginning of the year to set their sights on making it to the UCA Disney Nationals. They worked extremely hard with practicing 5 hours a week, cheering at football games, and attending tumbling class at Air Time Gymnastics weekly.
Just after Thanksgiving on Nov. 25 the team, coaches, and parents joined at Airtime and filmed their video submission to UCA. The crowd was cheering the Cheerleaders on and the girls performed better than they ever have before. Coach Natalia Collins submitted the video that evening and on Sunday, Dec. 9 she received the email that the Longmeadow Knights were one of the 30 teams from across the USA that have earned a bid to attend the Nationals in Disney.
On Monday, Dec. 10 the coaches gathered the girls at practice to give them early holiday gifts and tape a thank you video to their sponsors. 22News was there to capture the special moment. When the team opened their gifts they pulled out a pair of Mickey Ears and the Coaches screamed “Were Going to Disney”! The team instantly screamed with joy. Their true devotion to the team shined through as they were hugging each other and crying tears of joy. The girls’ hard work had finally paid off – they made it: they were going to The Disney Nationals, a one in a lifetime opportunity.
The miracle for this team did not stop there. The following week the team attended the Mayflower Competition in Amherst, MA where they competed and earned first place and first place overall; winning against the All-Star teams, something this town recreation program did not think was possible. Not only did they win first place overall, they were awarded with bids to both the US Nationals in Rhode Island and to the LEGENDS Competition in Myrtle Beach, SC.
With only two months to plan, the expenses for this Longmeadow team of 14 girls, in grades 3-7, are costly. The girls need to secure sponsorships and other donations to help offset the expenditures of this once-in-a-life time experience and they only have two short months in which to do it. They are asking for support from local businesses and individuals who wish to be a part of the event by sponsoring the team in Orlando. Sponsors will receive recognition.
These cheerleaders are grateful to represent Longmeadow and Massachusetts and would love to do so in the best way possible. Team spirit is soaring while the girls visit the community to seek their support.
To make a donation online, go to the GoFund Me located at: www.gofundme.com/longmeadow-
disney-nationals?sharetype= teams&member=1291598&rcid=r01- 154645982356-d44cf5003fde4407& pc=ot_co_campmgmt_w
For more information, contact Natalie Collins at email@example.com or 413-717-0940.