By Sonya Campbell

Harker Heights Herald

BELTON - A group of Belton High School cheerleaders will take a flight to New York on Saturday to perform in the 84th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Seven of the 10 varsity cheerleaders who were deemed "All-American" by the National Cheerleaders Association, both individually and as a team - a first in school history - were able to make the trip.

Because the jaunt is not a school-sponsored event, students traveling to New York had to pay their own way - about $2,000 per student and a little less for the 11 individuals who are accompanying them as "spectators."

They had only a couple of weeks to come up with the money, Varsity Cheer Coach Elayne Kaufman said. Three of the cheerleaders invited to participate in the parade couldn't raise the money. The abbreviated squad making the trip includes two seniors and five juniors.

The team members have been working hard to perfect a dance routine to be performed with about 600 other cheerleaders from across the nation as they parade down New York City streets.

The cheerleaders will be sporting official Macy's parade hot pink and lime green outfits instead of their school colors. Their televised performance is expected to air on NBC.

Belton's All-American cheerleaders taking part in the parade include Conly Davis, Madison Evans, Abby Odell, Courtney Pate, Erica Putman, Shelbee Scope and Jade Shafer. Odell, a junior, said earning recognition as an All-American Cheerleader and getting to participate in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade doesn't yet seem real.

"It's going to be a lot of fun," she said.

Evans, a senior, and Pate, a junior, agreed.

All of the girls have been working hard to learn the required two-part dance routine and aim to do their best to make their part of the parade a success.

Donations are being accepted to help offset the cheerleaders' cost.

Contributions may be mailed to All Star Cheer Squad, C/O Vickie Pate, 3104 Red River, Belton, Texas 76513.

Contact Sonya Campbell at or (254) 501-7585.

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