• December 12, 2019

A very MOJO Thanksgiving - Odessa American: ECISD

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A very MOJO Thanksgiving

PHS Panther Paws heading for Macy’s Parade

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  • Panther Paws Headed to New York

    Sixteen-year-old junior Haylee Holguin rehearses their routine. The Panther Paws dance team practices in their studio. They will be participating in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City on Thanksgiving.

Posted: Sunday, November 17, 2019 4:30 am

Odessans may catch a glimpse of Permian High School’s Panther Paws dance team during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade set for Nov. 28.

It is set to air at 9 a.m. on NBC from New York City.

Coach Kristin Carter said 22 varsity and 10 JV returners will participate as part of a group called Spirit of America. She added that this is the first time in four years that the squad will take part.

The team was selected by winning national championships in a couple of divisions at the Crowd Pleasers. Carter said they had to earn a certain score to make them eligible for the Macy’s parade.

“You go with a group called Spirit of America. You don’t go as the Panther Paws, but we get invited to participate with Spirit of America which is like the really big group that you see in the parades. They have like a cheer group and then there’s a really big dance group and usually the dancers bring out Santa …,” Carter said.

She won’t know for sure, though, until they get there. The team has to learn a dance for the parade and a spirit dance.

“… We’ll have to spend lots of practice time because I want to make sure the girls know it and are prepared so when they walk into rehearsals they’re representing Panther Paws and Permian High School to the best of their ability,” Carter said.

She added that taking part in the parade is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, although they will probably be very cold, but “it will be worth it in the end.”

They will be a busy rehearsal schedule.

“… There’s one whole day where they literally practice the entire day. It’s like morning and an afternoon and an evening practice. They have several practices throughout and then there’s a night they do a dress rehearsal at Macy’s with the cameras so that way the cameras can practice with them,” Carter said. “They do their dress rehearsal downtown and then the next time they perform it is the parade. They also do a dress rehearsal in the hotel that all the parents get to come and watch.”

The group will spend about a week in New York for the event.

“We get to see two Broadway musicals,” Carter said. “We get to see the Rockettes. We get to see the 9/11 museum. … I think that’s a huge thing for kids to see and experience such a huge event in our history. We’re going to get to go on a dinner cruise in the harbor, so they get to see the Statue of Liberty, all the bridges, get to ice skate in Central Park, and then of course just normal Times Square and Rockefeller Center — all that stuff and a little shopping.”

Carter expressed thanks to everyone who helped the students fundraise.

“It made it possible all our kids able to go, so we really appreciate the support from the community so that everyone was able to attend this trip,” she said.

Brittny Deanda and Ryan Navarrete, both 17-year-old seniors, said it’s going to be an exciting trip.

“There’s going to be a lot of team bonding for sure. It will just be different, a really cool privilege that we even get to go,” Deanda said.

Navarrete said it’s surreal for her because she’s watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade since she was little.

“I was like wow look at them look at them. They’re on TV. They’re dancing on TV and I’ve always thought it would be so cool” if she could do that, too, Navarrete said. “So I just think it’s very surreal that we’re actually doing it.”

Since the PHS football team made the playoffs, they have mainly been focusing on their routines and pep rallies for that.

“… Once that stops and once they’re done, we’ll start focusing and I bet we’ll have to have weekend practices …,” Navarrete said.

Deanda said they will probably add on to their practices just to make sure they are as prepared as they need to be.

Autumn Wells, a 17-year-old senior, said she thinks the trip will be a really great experience.

“It’s something that people don’t ever have the chance to experience and it’s cool. … It’s something that’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Wells said.

She added that she’s looking forward to getting closer to her Panther Paws friends and meeting new people who are experiencing the same thing.

“And seeing New York. Oh my gosh, I’m so excited. I’ve never been,” Wells said.

She added that she’s also anticipating ice skating.

“I love ice skating. I can’t wait to go to New York. I’m excited,” Wells said.

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