Participating in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was an unforgettable experience for Elizabeth Ortega.
Seeing the Hello Kitty balloon provided a special touch.
“I’d seen it on TV but to see it in person — it was so beautiful,” said Ortega, a senior cheerleader at Fort Worth Poly High School.
She and her teammates were invited to participate in the 90th edition of the annual parade last summer, and after raising $30,000 with a last-minute flurry of donations they left Fort Worth on Saturday for a whirlwind tour of New York that included seeing School of Rock on Broadway, ice skating at Rockefeller Center and visiting the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty.
Thursday’s legendary parade, of course, was the highlight, said cheer coach Rayneta Dotson.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Dotson said.
Ortega, 17, said the trip was worth the effort to raise the money for the 14 cheerleaders who made the trip.
“We worked hard to get where are,” Ortega said.
Poly’s cheerleaders will return to Fort Worth on Friday, then it’s back to school on Monday, where the girls will likely have a spring in their step.
“It was a very impressive way to spend Thanksgiving,” Ortega said.