Cheerleading has been a passion for Arden Cummins and Zoye Henry since they were young girls. Little did they know their skills would earn them a trip overseas as seniors.
Cummins and Henry recently made the trip to London where they marched in the New Year’s Day parade. It was the reward after both were selected at UCA camps over the summer after performing standout routines.
Both made the squad in June when they attended camps. Cummins was at the UCA All-American camp with the WCHS basketball squad, while Henry has been a standout for the football cheerleading team, one which recently won the TSSAA state championship.
Their paths were joined in late December when they made the trip to London, an experience neither will forget.
“The experience of being in London was so surreal,” said Cummins. “I was astonished at the sights in London and the reality of being in another country. My favorite thing was seeing all the famous London monuments in real life – Windsor Castle, Big Ben, the London Bridge and the Houses of Parliament.”
Henry was just as amazed by her surroundings.
“The experience was definitely a one-in-a-lifetime trip,” said Henry.
While both were able to take in the town, there was still business to be taken care of once arriving. Both had to take a crash course on a routine that would be performed in front of over a million spectators.
“My one responsibility was to focus and remember the dance I learned. We got one night to practice as a group for maybe two hours. There was no way I could mess up in front of millions of people lining the parade,” said Henry.
Cummins added, “Since we only had time to practice together as a group once, we had to essentially teach ourselves the whole routine. Our routine only lasted a couple of minutes. We performed it seven times throughout the two-mile parades, stopping in front of different sets of grandstands to perform.”
Neither seemed to be overwhelmed by the moment. If anything, Henry wished she could have cheered a little longer.
“The parade was my favorite thing,” said Henry. “That morning was very, very nerve-racking and having international television as an audience is crazy to think about. The hours I stood in the cold waiting to march seemed like forever until I blinked. (Then) I was getting on the bus to head back to the hotel.”
Now back in Warren County, the international cheer stars are back to school and with their respective cheer teams. They’ll take the court and stages again soon, resuming their responsibilities to pump up the local crowds.
From now on though, Cummins and Henry will always be able to talk about the time they crossed the pond to entertain millions.