A Carthage High School cheerleader rang in 2013 in London.

A Carthage High School cheerleader rang in 2013 in London.

CHS junior Kaylee Wright, and her family, were able to travel overseas for a special opportunity over the New Year holiday. Kaylee was one of more than 500 high school cheerleaders and dancers from across the United States who were selected to perform in the London New Year's Day Parade.

“I've wanted to go since I was a freshman,” Kaylee said. “It meant a lot to me to represent our high school cheer squad and our country. It was a huge responsibility, but I felt like I was up for the challenge – It was a lot of fun.”

Kaylee qualified for the seven-day trip after trying out at a four-day summer camp, hosted by Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA), National Cheerleaders Association (NCA), and United Spirit Association (USA) in Branson. Also qualifying for the trip was senior Tesa Lucas and sophomore Kate Dawson. Only the top 12 percent of the cheerleaders who attend varsity camps earn the chance for this opportunity.

With this experience under her belt, Kaylee says the goal next year is the Macy's Day Parade.

“Cheerleading is my life,” she says. “I've always been around it, it seems, and it gives me something to do with my life. It keeps me fit and active, lets me meet new people and just be myself.”

There isn't a time when Kaylee isn't cheerleading. Besides high school cheer, she also participates in competitive cheerleading with Amplify Elite, in Joplin. She is on the senior squad of 26 young ladies.

“I don't get a break,” she said with a smile. “It keeps me up on my school work, because I'm so busy, I have to get it done otherwise I would fall behind.”
Kaylee says she opts to be a good leader next year for her underclassmen at the high school.

“If I want to be a captain next year I have to tell the underclassmen that cheer isn't just raw-raw and shake your pom-poms. It's about being a team, it's being a family and showing everyone what we can be. If you have a goal, set your heart to it and don't stop till you get it.”

Kaylee is the daughter of Chip and Sara Wright of Carthage.