Polytechnic High School cheerleaders are turning to Plan B.
The squad had hoped to raise the $37,000 needed to send its 21 members to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. But after hours of selling popcorn, T-shirts and spirit gear, and washing cars, the members fell $17,000 short.
New plan: Some Poly cheerleaders will make the trip, just not everybody.
“We didn’t raise enough to send the whole squad, so the team voted to just send the seniors,” coach Rayneta Dotson said. “We had enough to get that done.”
The squad began working to raise money for the trip after it received an invite for the parade, a dream moment for the school. The group raised $9,375 on a crowdfunding site that drew support from Poly alumni and cheerleaders from neighboring schools and rival teams.
Working on an Oct. 1 deadline, the Poly cheerleaders also held car washes and sold popcorn, spirit gear and concessions at numerous events, Dotson said. They also passed around homemade donation jars. In the end, they raised $20,000.
They are still raising funds to help with trip essentials such as winter coats and gear tjat the seven cheerleaders will need on their visit to New York City.
“The community had been very receptive to helping fund the cheerleaders reach their goal to go to New York,” Dotson said. “Poly alum have been incredible in their donations, as well as the community in general. The support towards the students’ needs to go to this event has been positive.”
Dotson said area businesses also helped. She called the invite a “prestigious honor” for the cheerleaders, many of whom come from working-class families and have never traveled outside Tarrant County.
“This trip has been a wonderful lesson for each student attending,” Dotson said, explaining that they learned about financing a trip, national security tied to airplane travel, the importance of good citizenship and being “a great student.”
“This has had a positive effect on everybody,” she added, explaining that the entire effort has helped build the school’s “can-do” spirit.
Principal Joshua Delich said the squad’s efforts left an impression on the entire community.
“There are moments as a principal that you will never forget,” he said in a statement. “This is one moment I will treasure for the rest of my life. Poly is truly the place to be!”
This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.