all-american cheerleaders

Two Vernon High School cheerleaders, Marli Limon and Yuleyka Ramirez, will be traveling to Hawaii next week to participate in the 82nd Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade, which will be held the afternoon of Thursday, Dec. 7, in Honolulu. The two VHS cheerleaders will be members of the Varsity Spirit cheerleader squad after being named an All-American cheerleader at the camp they attended during the summer.

This will be Marli’s second consecutive year to earn All-American honors and make the trip to Honolulu, while this is Yuleyka’s first year after not being selected last year.

“I was so nervous performing in front of the judges that I was shaking, but I just went out and cheered with my heart and prayed it was enough,” Yuleyka said of her All-American tryout at the UCA Camp at Great Wolf Lodge in June. “When they were announcing who made All-American I was telling myself ‘Okay, they aren’t gonna say my name’ and I was still in disbelief and didn’t think they called my name until one of my team members hugged and congratulated me.”

Although this will be Marli’s second trip, she’s even more excited about the trip this year.

“I’m more excited because I honestly never thought I’d be going twice,” the senior said. “Last year was nothing I expected it to be, so I’m more relaxed going into this trip. The routine we do in the parade changes every year, but it will be all around easier to enjoy because I won’t be nervous like I was last year.”

With this being Yuleyka’s first year making the trip, she’s excited because she’s always wanted to go to Hawaii, but she also expects to be nervous.

“I’ve never been on an airplane before,” the junior said. “I think it’s really funny because we have to fly and I’m super afraid of heights. I’m excited to have my first flying experience, but not excited about being high in the air.”

All-Americans are selected from Varsity Spirit summer camps held across the country. All-Americans are based on superior cheerleading or dance skills, as well as leadership skills at the camps. Only the top 12 percent of the cheerleaders and dancers from Varsity Spirit camps earn the chance to participate in a performance of this caliber.

The two cheerleaders, along with their mothers – Melanie Ybarra (Marli) and Marina Ramirez (Yuleyka), will fly out this weekend and the cheerleaders begin their week of practice and planned activities on Tuesday.

“Yuleyka and I earned this trip, but our parents made it all happen and this experience is 10 times greater because of them,” Marli said.

Between practicing, and then performing in the parade in front of thousands of fans lining the streets of Waikiki Beach, the cheerleaders will also get to tour the USS Missouri, visit the Pearl Harbor Memorial, and have a luau.

“Last year, my favorite part of the trip was just getting to walk, literally, everywhere and never getting bored or tired because there was so much to see at every corner,” Marli said. “I also enjoyed meeting so many new people from all over the states. I also enjoyed learning so much about Pearl Harbor. I am looking forward to cheering in the parade again! Seeing all the residents of the island and tourists throws a heartwarming feeling over you and reminds you of the purpose of the trip.”

“I’m looking forward to making memories and just being part of an experience that means a lot to the people of Hawaii,” Yuleyka said. “I’m also just looking forward to sharing this experience with Marli because she’s done this before and we’ve grown close this year.”

While the cheerleaders will not be sitting in a classroom next week, that doesn’t mean they’ve left the school work behind.

“My college finals (for dual-credit classes) fall on the week of the trip,” Marli said. “Luckily, I took online classes this year, so a little bit of school work will be going with me. But I can’t complain too much, because I won’t be in a classroom.”