Turpin, Okla.’s, Cassidy Velasquez was among several hundred cheerleaders from across the nation who were invited to be a part of the Nations Cheerleaders Squad that marched and performed in the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New Your City. Here are some of them practicing indoors because of frigid temperatures.
Love of cheerleading takes Turpin’s Cassidy Velasquez to NYC
By GISEELLE ARREDONDO
• Leader & Times
She had the options of Florida’s Christmas Extravaganza, Houston, Texas, for a Thanksgiving Day Parade, Philadelphia, or London, but she chose New York City in a heartbeat.
Cassidy Velasquez, a sophomore in Turpin High School was amidst the 650 selected cheerleaders from all over the country performing for Macy’s Thanksgiving Day 2013 Parade in New York.
“I went to cheer camp with my cheer team, and I got nominated by NCA, which is National Cheerleading Association, and they nominated me, and I tried out,” Velasquez said. “I happened to make All-American and there’s a list where you can go, a list of events, and I chose the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.”
The 87th anniversary of the parade was on NBC Nov. 28.
She was also the only sophomore in the crowd. The rest of the cheerleaders were juniors or seniors.
“I thought it’d be a lot of fun, and I’d always wanted to be there. I’ve seen it on TV and I thought it’d be a very fun experience,” she said.
Velasquez has been a cheerleader most of her life.
“I was a cheerleader in Junior high, 7th and 8th grade and then my freshman year and sophomore year, but I have been cheering pretty much since I was 2,” she added.
Not only is Velasquez a passionate cheerleader, but she’s also a student who maintains a 4.0 GPA.
“I won Oklahoma State Academic my freshman year,” she said.
Proud father Joe Velasquez added, “Their team did. Cheerleading team won state academics.”
“You missed it this year by very few points,” her mom, Cindy added.
“Yes, very little.” Cassidy said.
“It wasn’t because of you, was it?” Joe joked.
“I’m actually on the honor roll. I have all A’s, and I have a 4.0 GPA,” she said and laughed. “So, I don’t think it’s because of me, dad.”
Besides cheerleading, Cassidy also enjoys playing softball. She is a catcher for the softball team and she also does track and field.
A small town girl, the Big Apple gave Cassidy many emotions.
“Adrenaline rush. Exciting. Happy,” she said.
Such a huge event required extensive rehearsal.
“A lot of rehearsal,” Cassidy said and laughed.
“There was one day that we had eight hours of practice. And the very first day, we had three hours of rehearsal. And then we had the Monday night rehearsal in front of the cameras. That was about three hours. There was another day that was about four,” she mused.
“16 hours,” Joe added.
After much rehearsal and anticipation, the parade in New York was flooded with many anticipated people and celebrities.
“I saw One Direction,” Cassidy said and laughed. “And Matt Lauer, Kellie Pickler, Joan Jett and we had the International Emmys in our motel, so we met up with them. We got to meet some of them,” she noted.
She also said that she saw country band Florida Georgia Line since they were also in the parade.
Wait, One Direction?
“They were going into their motel, which was across from ours,” she said.
And Cassidy instantly thought of her friends.
“I thought of my friends. I said, ‘Oh, my! This is crazy.’ My friends always talked about them and I’ve listened to some of their songs. They’re interesting,” she said.
With this trip, Cassidy learned a little more about the city life.
“I got to see the city. Being out here in the country and then going to the city, seeing taxi cabs and buses and subways, it’s an experience. It was hectic,” she said and laughed.
“You always had to watch. It was eye opening.”
In the future, Cassidy plans to take her passion of cheerleading and become a cheerleading coach. She also wants to be a teacher for elementary school.
“My cheer coach is a kindergarten teacher. She happened to be my teacher and she’s been the cheer coach, and it has inspired me a lot.”