Thanksgiving break will be a little different this year for three California High School cheerleaders.
It all started when the cheer team participated in a clinic sponsored by the Universal Cheerleaders Association. The three-day summer clinic allowed the team to prepare for the school year and also to audition for a special event.
At the end of the clinic, it was announced seniors Molly Forsythe and Ashlee Thomas and junior Alyssa Sabartinelli were selected to perform at the 99th Annual Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day parade.
"I'm really super-excited and thankful," Forsythe said. "We're going to be able to dance and walk in the parade with all kinds of people from all over the country."
Forsythe has heard of the rewards UCA offers to cheerleaders as her sister, Ashlee, made the same accomplishment during her high school career.
The trip will kick off with a walking tour through historic Philadelphia to Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. To make matters more interesting, the tour guides will be donned in traditional colonial dress. The first day will end with a dinner cruise along the Delaware River.
Then, of course, will be the Thanksgiving Day to remember. Forsythe, Thomas and Sabartinelli will be three cheerleaders out of hundreds from 25 states to participate in the 99th Annual Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade.
At the end of the parade, the girls will perform for a live television show and be part of the parade finale, which includes more than 1,000 people.
Each year, the UCA sets up camps and clinics across the nation for cheerleaders, in order to improve their routines and introduce new ideas to the team.
Thomas, who has been a cheerleader since the seventh grade, said one of the most exciting parts of this experience is the travel.
"This is all just so exciting," Thomas said. "I've never been to Philly before."
The hard work and dedication did not stop with the three cheerleaders. Behind the scenes was their coach, Annette Forsythe, who organized the whole operation. Molly said her mother, Annette, worked hard to raise money through fundraisers and bake sales in order for the girls to take part in the once in a lifetime event.
"The girls really worked hard," Annette said. "We are so excited to represent our town and school in Philly in their red, white and blue uniforms."