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Cheerleaders head to Florida for National Competition

On the weekend of Feb. 9, 2013, there was an unusual amount of cheer in Orlando, Florida - even for Walt Disney World - as the National High School Cheerleading Championship brought over 500 teams from more than 30 states to its annual competition. If you've never been to Disney World, perhaps you should ask the BKW cheerleaders if it really is where dreams come true; they'll most likely tell you, "yes!"

Click here to view more photos from the BKW Cheerleading Team's trip to Nationals!

For many of the students, it was their first time in Florida, in Walt Disney World and even being on a plane. Another first was for the district itself, as BKW has never had a team attend this invitation only event, or any national sports competition in general.

But it wasn't an easy task for the team to make this dream a reality, as they needed to raise $7,000 in a very short time span: a little over a month. Thanks to the support of the Hilltowns community, the team was able to raise enough money to head to Florida.

"We couldn't have done it without the support of the school and community," said Cheer Coach Amanda Allen. "It wasn't announced that we qualified until the beginning of December, so we didn't turn on the major fundraising until then. In a month, the generosity of our community helped us raise what we needed. We're so lucky to have the community support this dream of ours."

Some of the things the team did to fundraise were holding a bottle drive, hosting concessions at boys games and a pancake breakfast at the Knox Fire House, organizing an alumni basketball game, and holding raffles and coin drops.

Quickly enough, the money was raised and it was time to head to Florida. The team arrived in Orlando on Friday, Feb. 8 and went right into practice for the competition at Hollywood Studios on Saturday.

With over 500 teams at the competition, the teams get separated into divisions; first by tumbling or non-tumbling, then by JV or Varsity, and finally by the size of the squad. BKW was placed in the "Medium Varsity Non Tumbling" division with a total of 30 other teams, among them were 5 previous national champions. While BKW made a strong showing, the Bulldogs finished 24th and missed finals by only a few points.

"Cheerleading does not have a defined season in most states and we were competing with teams that have been cheering since August for Football," said Allen. "There were also teams from schools more than twice the size of ours in our division and we were also dealing with injuries and illness. Having only ran our routine a week prior to leaving, I am very proud of how well the routine came together, the effort the girls made and how well they showed at the competition. All the teams did extremely well!"

After the competition, the BKW cheerleading team celebrated by going to Disney's Animal Kingdom. On their last day in Florida, they watched the finals of the competition and finished off the trip with a visit to Disney's Magic Kingdom.

"I’m so unbelievably proud of the work and dedication of our squad," said Allen. "Not just of their dedication to practice and pride in their community, but the hard work they had to put in just to make this trip happen. It was certainly a time to remember."

Video of the BKW Varsity Cheerleaders' at Nationals:

75th BKW Alumni Dinner Dance is Saturday, September 26 at Crossgates Restaurant and Banquet House in Albany. Banquet Letter

Class of 1984 reunion picnic set for August 22 at the Knox Town Park from 12 p.m. to dusk on Friday, August 22. View the Flyer

District opens search for new business official after recently learning that current Business Administrator Timothy Holmes will be leaving. Read More

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