Dixon High School Varsity Cheer Captains Emily Idleman and Becca Hammack have been invited to cheer in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade as part of the Spirit of America cheer performance.
Each year more than 700 outstanding cheerleaders and dancers from Universal Cheerleaders Association, Universal Dance Association, National Cheerleaders Association, National Dance Alliance and United Spirit Association include team captains and standout performers who attended summer camp.
Emily and Becca were the talented two selected from DHS.
This honor comes with a hefty price tag – upwards of $2,500 each. The girls have created their own Facebook fan page to help drum up followers and negotiated four fundraising events at Mary’s, Pizza Guys, a bake sale, and Big Spoon.
They've also made donation jars for any business in town that would allow them.
So far, the girls have raised enough money to purchase their plane tickets and pay deposits. But with the final payment due Sept. 15, it’s crunch time. Each girl needs an additional $1,400.
Both girls have packed daily schedules, allowing mostly weekends for their fundraising. Advanced placement classes from 7 a.m.-3 p.m., then cheer practice till 5 p.m., followed by Youth Cheer coaching until 6 p.m., leaving them a few hours for homework every night.
Additionally the girls have excellent GPAs, partake in extracurricular activities like FFA, Public Service Academy, and babysit regularly to help raise additional money.
"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the girls," says Lisa Dunkak, Emily's mom. "The girls will get to meet other cheer captains from around the country and represent Dixon by showing their Ram Pride on television.
“The girls have done all of their own fundraising organization because we (the girls' moms) thought it would be a good experience for them to earn it, but it would break our hearts to see them put so much work in and come up short. "
Both girls say they are willing to work.
“We will do anything; babysitting, lawn mowing, wash cars-dogs, odds and ends,” Becca said.
"Our goal is to not let our parents go into debt to help us,” Emily added. “We really want to earn this trip.”
Although the trip will offer a lot of fun, the girls feel like they will earn life experience on this trip, as they explained their itinerary. They will stay in New York for 6 days, bunking with four girls per room.
They start with a grueling practice schedule to learn a new cheer routine and will march and cheer the six-mile parade route. They will absorb New York Culture with their subway passes, watch a Broadway show, Radio City Rockettes, and visit the Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building.
Their Facebook page, “Emily & Becca go to New York” has a PayPal link for donations. There is also a message box since they are happy to accept job messages as well.