North Platte High School students Bailey Lehmkuhler and Laura Cox will travel to New York City to participate in the 86th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on Nov. 22.
As members of the NPHS varsity cheerleading squad, Lehmkuhler and Cox were selected for the All American Cheerleader team in July during the National Cheerleaders Association cheer camp in Denver. Seven NPHS cheerleaders out of the 20-member squad were nominated by staff and invited to try out for the national team.
"It takes guts and confidence to try out," said cheerleading co-sponsor Diann Vargas. "We have a young team this year, with 10 new members. The new girls all watched Bailey and Laura go through the process of trying out and learned a lot from them. They are both excellent leaders."
Lehmkuhler received the highest score of all the camp participants. The daughter of Butch and Melanie Lehmkuhler, the senior is also active in chorus, jazz choir, Key Club and Student Council. The senior has been on the cheerleading squad all four years of her high school career.
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"I have studied dance and cheerleading seemed to be a natural progression," she said. "I had to decide between the dance team and cheerleading and I think I made the right choice."
The two will travel to New York City with Lehmkuhler's parents.
"As a member of the All American team, you can participate in events all across the country and even the annual New Year's Eve Parade in London, England," Lehmkuhler said. "We have to pay our own way, so we decided to go to New York City."
Both girls work at Starz School of Gymnastics and carry 4.0 grade point averages in school.
"There are a lot of late nights hitting the books," Lehmkuhler said.
Cox said that making the All American team has been a goal since she began cheerleading her freshman year.
"I was a gymnast, and cheerleading seemed like the next best step to take to promote leadership in school," she said.
The daughter of Carrie Cox and Alex Cox, the junior is also active in Key Club, on the Prom Committee and in music. While in New York City, the two will tour various sites with the 600-member All American team. They will visit the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building and see a Broadway show.
"We will go see the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall," Cox said. "I think I'm most excited about that."
Earning the spot on the All American Team is much more than a popularity contest, Vargas said.
"It's skill based and about pride and leadership," she said. "Bailey and Laura will be excellent representatives of our school and state."