Six AHS cheerleaders performed in London for its New Year’s Day Parade
ATASCADERO — Six seniors on the Atascadero High School (AHS) cheer team started 2024 off with a bang when they headed to England for the first time. There, they shook their pom poms with the All-American in London’s New Year’s Day Parade. The six athletic performers auditioned and earned their spots during cheer camp last year. It all paid off for Priscilla Muneton, Gabi Pullen, Shae Mansfield, Ambrea Fredrick, AnaJane Soto, and Mya Neilson with an adventure to remember.
“The parade, for me, was a super surreal experience,” Neilson said. “There was one point when we were parading, and I could see Big Ben, and I got a little emotional in my head because it was like all of the hard work I’ve done over the last four years of cheering led me to an incredible moment.”
The New Year’s Day Parade took place at noon on Monday, Jan. 1. It started on Piccadilly and took the girls past iconic London sites like Trafalgar Square before finishing on Whitehall with a view of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.
“My favorite memory was right before the parade started. We were all so excited and nervous at the same time,” said AnaJane Soto. “Being in London was amazing. Every building was either hundreds of years old or super modern. But everything was so pretty. Nothing felt real.”
Muneton, Pullen, Mansfield, Fredrick, Soto, and Neilson performed next to other cheerleaders from all over the U.S. while sporting cheer outfits in red, white, and blue in front of huge crowds of locals and excited Brits from all over the UK.
“Performing in the London New Year’s Day Parade was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Muneton said. “There were hundreds of people crowding the city and excited to see the cheerleaders perform. It felt amazing to be able to perform in front of a crowd who made you feel welcomed and excited.”
“I’ve never cheered like that before,” Soto said. “It was always in front of stands, and a football game going on behind me, so it was very different to be marching down the street with hundreds of people on each side of me. It was an amazing experience.”
The parade was also streamed live on hundreds of PBS TV stations throughout the country, according to the parade’s official website. That way, anyone who wasn’t able to make it to London themselves could experience all the fun.
“The parade itself was probably the coolest thing I have ever done,” Frederick said. “Getting to meet other American cheerleaders and seeing the reactions of people from London watching the parade. I would definitely say my favorite part was being on TV, preforming the dance we all worked hard on.”
Between practicing for the parade, the AHS cheerleaders also got to dip their toes into all that London has to offer. From sightseeing, to eating popular food in Britain and getting a small taste of another part of the world.
“London was one of the most incredible experiences ever,” Neilson added. “The weather was super cold, but it was so so beautiful and fun and I couldn’t believe how kind of people were and how amazing the whole atmosphere was.”
Frederick also commented on how interesting it was to see a completely different culture, with different customs, food that was slightly questionable, and the fact that it took some getting used to traffic moving in a completely different direction than in the U.S.
What a way for all six students to celebrate not only ringing in 2024 together, but also adding to their AHS experience before heading towards graduation in June.
Feature Image: (From left) Atascadero High cheerleaders Priscilla Muneton, Mya Neilson, AnaJane Soto, Shae Mansfield, and Ambrea Fredrick (in front of them) take part in the London New Year’s Day Parade. Photo Courtesy of Atascadero High School