FMS cheerleader Duke cheers in Houston parade

A lone Frenship Middle School cheerleader represented Frenship in the 59th Houston Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Megan Duke was selected to be one of many Universal Cheerleader Association cheerleaders in the Houston parade after being selected at a UCA cheer camp at Texas Tech this summer. Duke was selected for the UCA All-Star team.

Duke left for the parade the Sunday before and participated in two days of practices before the parade.

The first day of practice was held in the hotel, but the second day was in the middle of the street where the parade route would be so that the girls would be familiar with the area. Practicing in the street was “really cool,” Duke said.

On Thanksgiving morning, Duke and the other cheerleaders were up by 4:30 a.m. to be at the parade site by 6:15 a.m. — almost three hours before the parade was scheduled to begin.

“We waited in the bus for like an hour, and everybody slept,” she said.

Finally, it was showtime. Duke described the cheerleaders’ contributions to the festive morning as more cheering than dancing.

“We said ‘Happy Thanksgiving’ and ‘Hello’ to all the people in the streets,” she said.

Duke said it wasn’t just the biggest parade she’d ever been in — it is the only parade she’s ever been in.

“We always used to watch the Macy’s (Thanksgiving Day) Parade,” she said. “I liked the one we were in, because I was in it.”

Duke said there were many people attending the Houston parade, with some even on the bridges over the street.

“It was really hot and humid,” she said of the parade weather. “It was way different than what I expected, than what the camp or cheerleaders expected.”

Duke said she has been cheering for about three years, with a year and a half at Raider Extreme and later at Pride All-Stars. She is in her first year as a cheerleader at Frenship Middle School.

Duke said she likes being loud and having people hear her, as well as the adrenaline rushes of cheerleading. Between games or performing stunts, she said it is difficult to pick a preference.

“I like the games, because the crowd yells with you,” she said.

Next year at Frenship High School, Duke said she hopes to continue cheering.

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