As a member of the Mount Vernon School competition cheerleading and sideline cheer squad, sophomore Ella Wagner performs routines regularly before about 500 spectators at Mustang football games.
Her best friend, North Atlanta High School sophomore Olivia Schramkowski, usually performs modern dance routines in her dance classes, both in and outside of school, and has done so before audiences of more than 4,000.
Nov. 28, the two Buckhead residents will display their talents to a nationwide audience. They will perform in different groups before 3.5 million spectators who will line the 2.5-mile route in New York to view the 93rd annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
In addition to the parade observers along the route, more than 50 million viewers will watch the parade on television.
“For me, I am just proud to represent my community, the city of Atlanta and our state of Georgia in the parade,” Wagner, 16, said.
In February both girls sent videos of their special talents in cheerleading and dance to the parade selection committee. About a month later, each received a letter from the parade selection committee congratulating them on being chosen to be in the parade.
Each girl said being selected for the parade was a dream come true. Wagner will be part of a 600-girl cheerleader group, chosen from applicants across the country, and will be doing both a dance and cheer routine as part of her parade performance.
Schramkowski, will be in a group of 400 girls, also selected from applicants throughout the nation, who will do a jazz dance routine along the route.
Both girls will go on sightseeing tours with their groups in New York, visiting such sites as the Empire State Building, Radio City Music Hall and the 9/11 Memorial & Museum. But their visit will also include extensive six-day practices on the routines they will be performing in the parade.
According to Wagner, she and Schramkowski, who have been close friends for more than a year, will arrive in New York the Saturday before the parade to begin learning and practicing their routines as temperatures will be hovering in the mid-30s.
Once the parade is over, both girls will fly back to Atlanta that same day.
“The parade organizers have designed outfits for us to wear in the parade which we can keep, but they are rather thin and we have been advised to double-up on the tights we will wear underneath our costumes to keep as warm as possible,” Schramkowski, 15, said.
Although each girl said being in the parade will be exciting, they are also looking forward to meeting the other girls in each of their groups from throughout the country.
“I will be rooming with two other girls from Texas, so it will be exciting to get to know them,” Wagner said.