The Columbia Secondary School Cheer Team marched and performed in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade- the only local New York City team to participate!

“I was watching the parade last year and thought, ‘they have cheer teams from all over the country, let me see about a local team,'” said CSS Professor Colette Young, the team’s director and head coach. “We sent a video from our competition last year and were accepted.”

Parade sponsor and organizer Macy’s has an age requirement for participants, so only those 17 members of the Cheer Team in eighth grade and higher marched: Niagale Fofana, Desire Duverglas, Jarlenys Mendez, Ariel Kuhl, Stephanie Cortez (team co-captain), Jessica Dilone, Sencere Jones, Danielle Urena, Ellison Estwick, Adriana Napoli, Carmen Abduzid, Kiana Turner (team co-captain), Catherine Parkin, Bev Christy, Melany Lin, Lexi Lee and Allegra Mack.

The nationally televised and much-loved Thanksgiving Day Parade was an ambitious step for the Cheer Team. The Competition Squad, led by coach David Collier, is only in its third year; the Spirit Squad, led by Melina Guti, has just been around for two years. R.B. Martin, is assistant coach to both squads.

The team put in four to five hours of practice almost every day of the week in advance of the parade. It was a specialized routine for the parade which included stunts, such as a pyramid.

“They fully rose to the challenge,” Young said.


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