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Red Bay student earns trip of lifetime thanks to cheer talents

Red Bay High School junior Alexis Tabbs recently had the opportunity few high school students ever get. Tabbs was able to travel to London and perform in the London’s New Year’s Day Parade in front of thousands of people.

Tabbs was able to participate in this opportunity because of her cheerleading abilities. She has been an RBHS cheerleader since seventh grade, and all her practice and hard work paid off in the trip of a lifetime.

“At cheer camp, you learn a dance routine and a cheer that you will perform in front of the entire camp and the panel of UCA judges, “ said Tabbs. “You have to do a jump, cheer and dance routine at the tryout. Each category is rated from one, which is not great, to a four, which is really great.

“In order to make  All-American, you have to score a perfect 12, which is a 4 on everything, to be selected.”

Tabbs and her mother, Brandie Miller, traveled to London Dec. 26. It was a nine-hour flight, and Tabbs said after they landed, it took another hour to get to the hotel where they would be staying.

Before Tabbs left for London, she had to learn a full dance routine to the song “Love Train.” Once she was in London, she had one practice that was an hour and a half long, so it was necessary for her to learn the dance beforehand.

“The only thing I did cheer wise while I was in London was the parade,” said Tabbs. “The parade was set up with parents and fans in the grandstands on different sides of the street, and we would stop and perform in front of them.”

It wasn’t, Tabbs emphasized, “just smiling, waving, dancing.”

“We had about two miles of London to cover, so we ran a lot. We basically ran the whole time because we had to be at our spot on time,” she explained. “While running we had to avoid camera people and things in the street. Then we would stop in front of these huge grandstands and perform the dance. We actually performed the dance about seven times.”

Tabbs said her least favorite thing about London was the dining situation. She said even though the restaurants were great, the closing times, combined with other problems, were not. She said one time one of the restaurants closed by 6 p.m., and another time all restaurants had run out of food because the food truck did not deliver that day.

There were, however, more good experiences than not.

“The first thing I thought when I arrived was just wow,” said Tabbs. “In my opinion, it’s like New York without all the trashiness, and London has way more beauty. It has beautifully designed, not-modern skyscrapers and buildings everywhere. And I tried so many new foods while I was there. The restaurants were amazing, and they are very serious about food allergies. They will not serve you anything that is even near gluten or anything if they are not sure.”

Another thing Tabbs found special was the status and curiosity about cheerleaders.

“We were told the people of London don’t see or have cheerleaders,” said Tabbs.  “They treated us like celebrities, taking pictures with us. They actually enjoyed seeing us, and feeling important like that still brings a smile to my face to this day.”

Besides the food and amazing architecture, Tabbs and her mother were able to see the Tower Bridge, Saint Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, the Skygarden with a 360-degree view of London, the London Eye, Windsor Castle and the town of Greenwich.

Tabbs is the daughter of Jamie and Brandie Miller and Eric Tabbs.

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