Pope John cheerleader rings in New Year in London

Noelle newman marches in world-famous parade

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  • Pope John XXIII Regional High School junior Noelle Newman performed with Varsity Spirit at the London New Year's Day Parade in London. Photos provided

  • Noelle Newman, third from left, poses for a picture with fellow Pope John juniors Caitlin Hanley, Brianna Hentschel and Olivia Gang after they were named UCA All-American Cheerleaders at the UCA summer camp at Pine Forest in August.

SPARTA — On Monday, New Year's Day, Noelle Newman displayed her competitive spirit to the world while ringing in the New Year.

Newman, a Pope John XXIII Regional High School junior cheerleader, was one of more than 650 high school cheerleaders and dancers from across the U.S. who represented Varsity Spirit in the world famous London New Year’s Day Parade.

“I am really excited,” Newman said before leaving for England. “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. I’m excited that it is London and I have a chance to go there to be part of this parade where there is going to be so many people.”

“I am so excited for her,” Pope John head cheerleading coach Ashley Rhodes said. “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and she is so deserving of it! I am incredibly proud of her and I can’t wait to hear about her experience. What a great way to represent Pope John!”

Newman and the other individuals were invited to a tryout for the parade after being selected as an All-American at a summer camp hosted by one of the Varsity Spirit camp brands, which include Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA), Universal Dance Association (UDA), National Cheerleaders Association (NCA), National Dance Alliance (NDA) and United Spirit Association (USA).

Newman went to the UCA camp at Pine Forest in Greeley, Pa., where she helped lead the Lions to a first-place trophy in Xtreme Routine — a cheer that incorporates stunts, jumps, and/or tumbling — and was named an All-American along with classmates Caitlin Hanley, Brianna Hentschel and Olivia Gang.

At the tryout, Newman managed to impress the judges well enough to earn an invite to the parade. Newman is part of a group of only the top 10 percent of the more than 325,000 cheerleaders and dancers who attend the 5,000 Varsity Spirit summer camp sessions to earn the chance to march in the holiday spectacular.

Newman was shocked to get chosen.

“I knew you could possibly go to London, but I didn’t actually think I would get picked,” said Newman, who has been a competitive cheerleader since she was 4 years old. “Once I did, my Mom and I talked about it and she said it was a good opportunity for me to go.”

Newman, who flew to London last week, was be among 10,000 performers representing 20 countries worldwide in the 2018 parade. Varsity Spirit says this year’s parade is “Showtime!” and will celebrate the greatest shows on earth.

To get ready for a parade that is seen by nearly 300 million people around the world, Newman said she has practiced the routine that she and the other cheerleaders and dancers will be performing after receiving a video on it from Varsity Spirit.

She also said the group would have a two-hour practice before they hit the streets of London for the parade, which spans 1.5 miles and goes from Berkeley Street to Parliament Square. In addition to cheering in the parade, Newman and the Varsity Spirit performers will celebrate the holiday’s European style with the chance to tour some of London’s most historic sites during their seven-day stay.

Needless to say, Newman was looking forward to the New Year and the days leading up to it.

“I’m really going to enjoy it,” Newman said. “I’ve never been to Europe, so it will be fun to see it. I can’t wait to perform in the parade. It’s an honor for me.”

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