CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Over the summer, the John Paul II cheerleaders competed at a Universal Cheerleaders Association camp at the University of Texas. The team finished in first place at the camp competition, which earned them the opportunity to perform prior to the Citrus Bowl on New Year’s Day in Orlando, Fla.
The team needs to pay its own way to Florida, and is raising money to do so. However, the team only has until Monday to raise the necessary funds.
“We only have a couple more days, so we really are praying and hoping our donors can contribute to our goals to go, and participate in this extravagant event with cheerleaders from across the nation,” said Danelle Patterson, the head cheerleading coach.
Patterson said she is proud of her girls for the hard work they’ve put in, in order to have an opportunity like this.
“When we started setting our goals on it, we worked even harder. Of course, COVID last year really threw a wrench at us, and we came back even harder this year. So, it’s just the excitement, the reality, that they were able to pull this off,” she said.
The cheerleaders are excited to have an opportunity to perform in front of tens of thousands with other squads from across the country.
“I think it means a lot, it definitely puts John Paul cheer on the map," senior cheer captain Briannah Mejias said. "It’s not a big program, it never has been, but it’s really turned around a lot, especially once Coach Patterson got here."
“I just feel really grateful, it really emphasizes our hard work. So many people think we’re there just to be entertainment, but there’s really so much more hard work and dedication that goes into it,” said junior cheerleader Amaris Basquez.
Mejias echoed Patterson’s pride on the team’s growth to be given an opportunity like this.
“We work on new material every day, and just try to improve every way we can," she said. "Although it is the one set routine for camp and competition, there are a lot of things we can do to prepare for that and better ourselves in that one routine. It’s really cool to see us grow as a team, especially such a small team at a small school."
Basquez said they can’t take all the credit, a lot of it is due to Patterson’s coaching.
“We have one of the best coaches, she’s been there 100%, she inspires us the most, and I think she deserves as much credit as the rest of us,” she said.
To donate to help the team travel to Orlando, donate through Cash App, by searching $JP2HS, or by following this link.