Local All-American athlete set to cheer across the pond

Local All-American athlete set to cheer across the pond

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - A Palo Duro High School student athlete flew out of the country and across the pond for a big opportunity to cheer in London's New Year's Day Parade.

Sarai Silva, a Junior at Palo Duro, didn't board just any regular flight at the airport.

She had her boarding pass scanned all the way to London.

"I'm super proud and excited to be able to go and represent Palo Duro, the United States and be part of such a great organization," said Sarai Silva.

Sarai has been selected to the All-American squad after receiving high marks in a cheerleading competition.

"It's very selective, it's a very selective process. Again, it's based on amount of points and not all cheerleaders get those points," said Haley McWilliams, the varsity cheer coach at Palo Duro High School.

Cheerleaders from all over the country try out. About 10 percent are offered the opportunity to cheer in the parade.

For those who stamp their passport, it's a team effort.

"My parents help me a lot through hard work and pushing through," said Silva.

When Sarai performs with other cheerleaders from every state, she'll be putting Palo Duro High School on the map in front of those in attendance and a TV audience of 20 million from all over the world.

"Coming from the North Side, we deal with a lot of economic disadvantaged children," said McWilliams. "We don't always get that opportunity, so with sponsorships, with fundraising, whatever it took her, it's huge. Especially representing us over here."

For her coach, the honor is reflective of the type of cheerleader Sarai is.

"I can give her what she needs as far as teaching her jumps, teaching her how to stunt, give her the basic fundamentals," said McWilliams. "She's taken that beyond and shining and doing way more. It's talent, it's work ethic, it's a lot that she's done individually."

That work ethic is what inspires this Palo Duro cheerleader to leave a mark on London for herself, her family and her community.

"It's just another step in my life and it's getting to where I want to be," said Silva.

When Sarai returns next week, she hopes her experience overseas will help motivate her squad at Palo Duro to continue to compete on an elite level.

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