Spirit Spectacular


Cheerleading performance

Her hands shaking in excitement, senior Alexis Garcia opens the email from Varsity Spirit. The pandemic complicated things, but she needs to have one more chance to cheer and dance before graduation. Jumping for joy as she reads the acceptance letter and smiles in anticipation of her upcoming Thanksgiving trip.

Every year, 12% of the nation’s cheerleaders get to participate in the Varsity Spirit Spectacular. It is a parade held every year. Athletes are chosen based on their work in the All-American program at Universal Cheerleaders Association and National Cheerleaders Association summer camps. This year, Garcia was the only cheerleader to represent our school in this exclusive event.

“Normally, it is a parade but this year it is a performance. I would have gone to London but because of COVID-19, we are going to Universal Studios,” Garcia said. “I’m excited to see Universal and meet everyone. It’s different meeting cheerleaders you know than cheerleaders from across the country.”

This year, 600 cheerleaders of America were selected to participate through an audition. They were all sent the same dance to perform in early October. 

“We are not going to walk around and stuff. Just going to be put on a stage and social distance,” Garcia said. “It’s mainly a social experience because of COVID and possibly makes lifelong friends.”

The trip lasted three days, one each for rehearsal, performance, and enjoying Universal Studios. All of it was documented through Garcia’s social media.

“The other girls were actually really, really nice and it was nice to actually meet them in person. Cause it’s much different than meeting them over text and stuff like that,” Garcia said. “I think my favorite part was the watch party we had at the Hard Rock Cafe because we got to see each other perform. So we got to meet the people in other groups.”

All the girls in Garcia’s group were seniors from Texas. The first part of the trip was spent mainly perfecting the choreography and organizing the spacing for the routine. Garcia was set in the front due to her experience and talent.

“So the day that we got there, we actually had our rehearsal, which was kind of hectic because our plane was a tiny bit delayed. And then from there, they had us changed the entire routine and ripples, which was hectic because we had to learn it and then perform it the next day, like the next morning,” Garcia said. “So I feel like this was the one thing that kind of brought back some sort of normalcy for me was being able to actually perform in front of a crowd; see different people kind of gave me a camp feeling considering the camp we had this year was just us.”

Although there were safety guidelines, Garcia was still able to explore some parts of Universal Studios for the remaining event. 

“It was my first time ever going. As soon as you walk in, you see the big sign that says Universal Orlando Does Citywalk and it has different shops and stuff,” Garcia said.  “And then you finally get in there and it’s like, You’ve entered New York. And then if you go to the right it’s Beverly Hills. So just seeing that was weird, I think. Like universal did a really good job on making that happen because all of the buildings that were there weren’t fake, you could go in them.”

The Varsity Spirit Spectacular event was made even more special by the fact that it was Garcia’s last chance to participate before graduating. Careful planning and safety measures can allow most Seniors to still have memorable experiences during the continuing pandemic. 

“It was nice meeting other cheerleaders and other cheer captains who are kind of in the same boat that I am. I’m really grateful for everyone I met there and I even made some friends that I still talk to now, from just that one event.”