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 London’s New Year’s Day Parade in front of thousands of people.
Tabbs was able to participate in this amazing opportunity because of her cheerleading abilities. Tabbs has been a RBHS cheerleader since 7th 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,” Tabbs said. “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 on December 26th. It was a nine-hour flight and Tabbs said after they landed it took another hour just to get to the hotel where they stayed.
Before Tabbs left for London, she had to learn a full dance routine to the song “Love Train.” Once she was in London, she only 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,” Tabbs said. “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. But it wasn’t 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. 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 food situation. She said that even though the restaurants were great, the closing times and other events were not. She says that one time one of the restaurants closed by 6 and another time all restaurants had run out of food because the food truck did not deliver that day.
But even though the food situation was not great, thankfully there were more good experiences.
“The first thing I thought when I arrived was just wow,” Tabbs said. “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.”
And another thing Tabbs found special and fun was the status and curiosity about cheerleaders.
“We were told the people of London don’t see or have cheerleaders,” Tabbs said. “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 mom were able to see the Tower Bridge, Saint Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, the Skygarden (360 view of London), the London Eye, which is a giant Ferris wheel that you ride and get an entire view of London in 30 minutes; Windsor Castle, where Harry and Meghan were married, and the town of Greenwich.
Tabbs said she would like to first thank God because she needed this trip so bad and without Him she wouldn’t be where she is today. She also wants to thank her mom for working so hard to make the trip for her possible. She wants to thank all of her family and friends who supported her and encouraged her to take this trip. She thanks the cheer sponsors and all the businesses who helped send her on the trip. And she thanks UCA for giving her the opportunity of lifetime.
Tabbs is the daughter of Jamie and Brandie Miller and Eric Tabbs.