DANVILLE — The day after Christmas, Shaina Alise Allen, a Danville High School senior and cheerleader, will embark on a one-week trip to London to represent Danville on an international level.
Allen is one of about 500 sophomore, junior and senior high school cheerleaders and dancers nationwide on the Universal Cheerleaders Association’s cheer team who will perform at London’s New Year’s Day parade.
DHS cheerleading coach Sharda Pascal said she is proud a local cheerleader was selected to represent Danville in the international fete and said Allen is deserving of the honor.
“She’s one of my captains,” Pascal said. “She’s very committed and talented and works hard at everything she does.”
Pascal believes those attributes are the reason Allen was selected to perform in London.
“I’m very proud of her. It doesn’t happen very often that a cheerleader is selected to go to London,” she said.
However, just in the two years that Pascal has been DHS’ head cheerleading coach, three local cheerleaders have been chosen to perform in the London parade. Last year, DHS seniors Devon Cross and Kristina Wells participated in the parade.
Allen was selected as a UCA All-American while attending a summer cheerleading camp hosted by the UCA, National Cheerleaders Association, United Spirit Association, Universal Dance Association and National Dance Alliance.
“I tried out for All-American and got on the team,” the 17-year-old said.
All-Americans are chosen based on superior cheerleading skills, with only the top 12 percent of cheerleaders who attend the summer camp earning the chance to march in the holiday spectacular.
In addition to performing in the parade, the All-Americans will have the opportunity to tour London during their seven-day trip between Dec. 26 and Jan. 2.
“We’re going to go on a tour around London and then have a one-day practice before the parade,” she said.
Shaina’s mother, Michele Allen, and aunt Kimberly Broadie, who is the teen’s mother’s sister, will accompany her on the trip.
Allen, who is close with her mother, said, “She said she wasn’t going to send me across the pond without her.”
The opportunity to travel to London and perform, however, came with a price tag, with Allen’s family having to raise thousands of dollars.
“We sent out sponsorship letters to family and friends and our church family,” Allen said of the family’s fundraising efforts. “We also had a teen party at the civic center and my mom did a bake sale.”
The family has met its fundraising goal and now is focused on the British adventure.
“I’m excited because I’ve never been to London or out of the country before,” the teen said. “I’m looking forward to seeing Big Ben and meeting new people.”