Story by Sarah Melchert
3 Lee’s Summit West students took their passion abroad. Seniors Ashton Dobson, Hayley York and Matthew Hall traveled to London to participate in the Universal Cheerleading Association (UCA) All-American Tour where they performed in the New Year’s Day parade.
According to the UCA official website, uca.varsity.com, only students in Sophomore, Junior or Senior year were allowed to go on the London trip. To be allowed to go on the trip, one must also tryout and be selected for the UCA Varsity All-American team during a UCA camp in the summer of 2014.
The three tried out for the All-American team over the summer at a camp at the University of Central Missouri and they qualified for the All-American tour in London. Dobson said “It was nerve-racking because we had to try out in front of the whole camp”. There are tryouts for UCA at the summer camp every year, but York said, “Varsity is when it really counts because that’s the London trip”.
Before the trip, they said they received a video and a brochure where they had to learn a dance. Then when they got to London, they had one practice to get things finalized. They only needed this one practice because they knew the dance before they arrived in London. Dobson said, “It wasn’t like a competition. It was just for fun”.
Hall did not have to do the dance, but did stunting with all the other guys. Hall said, “stunting is when you are tossing the girls up in the air”. Hall also said, “there were probably a thousand girls and probably thirty guys.” Even though there were more girls than guys, he said, “it’s always fun showing off in front of the girls.”
They left on Dec. 26 and came back on Jan. 2. They stayed at the Guoman Tower Hotel in London. Dobson said that they did “a lot of touristy things” in London. The three visited the London Eye, Windsor Castle and Big Ben. Dobson said “my favorite thing was probably the London Eye.” York said, “I liked meeting new people and just getting to see the aspects of a different country”.
They also had two parties, one was on a riverboat the night before the performance and the New Year’s party was at their hotel. Hall said, “my favorite thing was partying with the other guys.”
Hall said he still talks to his roommates and he still keeps in touch with some of the girls that don’t live too far away. York said, “it gave me the opportunity to showcase my skills”. Dobson, York, and Hall all said they want to go back to London.