06/02/10 — EWHS cheerleaders headed to Gator Bowl

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EWHS cheerleaders headed to Gator Bowl

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on June 2, 2010 1:46 PM

Eastern Wayne High School cheerleaders have even more to cheer about these days, since being invited to participate in the Gator Bowl parade and halftime show at year's end.

Kerri Lee, cheerleading coach at the school for seven years, said this is the first time the squad has received the honor.

"We were officially invited by Bowl Games of America to participate in the half-time show, parade and national competition Dec. 27 to Jan. 2," she said. "Someone saw us compete somewhere and provided our names to the coordinators to get this invite."

The squad has done well over the years, she said -- winning this year's top award for the East Carolina Conference and sportsmanship honors for the past three years. Ms. Lee was also named coach of the year for the conference in 2008.

"It's a very big honor and we're very humbled by (the invitation)," she said. "I was really excited because a lot of times the cheerleaders don't get recognized for the time that they put in to practice and how hard they work at cheerleading competitions.

"They do work really hard. A lot of these girls won't have the opportunity to do something like this again."

As part of the trip, each cheerleader will receive a uniform, game ticket, souvenir packages, travel and hotel accommodations.

But they have to come up with the money to get there, Ms. Lee said.

"This package is $850 for each girl, but we have to provide some meals, transportation to Jacksonville (Fla.) and spending money," she said. "We don't know the final cost per girl but I'm looking at around $1,200 each, which is a lot of money. So far we have raised over $5,000 as a team and are hoping to get a lot more over the summer."

With 27 cheerleaders on the squad planning to make the trip, she estimated the total cost will be around $32,500.

So far, the group has held car washes, sold gas card tickets, T-shirts and coupon books, with an array of fundraisers planned for the coming months, including a bingo night on June 26 at the school from 7 to 9 p.m. In October, they will host a "Warrior Challenge," a cheerleading competition to allow schools in Wayne and surrounding counties to demonstrate their hard work and to recognize the best squads.

"The public has been very good and area businesses have been supportive," Ms. Lee said. "The community has really treated us well. I'm very thankful for that."

For more information on the fundraising efforts, or to make a donation, call the school or e-mail kerrilee@wcps.org.