Bright Future: Trinity cheer captain will participate in Macy’s parade
Published 12:44 am Wednesday, November 26, 2014
By Morgan Mizell
NATCHEZ — Taylor Ham will accomplish a feat Thursday she’s dreamed of for years.
The Trinity Episcopal Day School senior and cheer captain will participate in the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.
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The parade began in 1924 as a heritage celebration for first generation immigrants who were employed by Macy’s. More than a quarter of a million people were in attendance that year and it became an annual event.
Through the years the parade has grown. More floats and attractions have been added including the participation of high school marching bands, cheerleaders and dancers.
For Ham, the experience is something she’s thrilled about.
“I have made All-American since ninth grade,” Ham said. “When you do well in cheer you have opportunities to do events, but none of them were too appealing to me. This parade is the one I have wanted.”
Ham said the application process was not difficult.
“My mom and I went on the website and got all the information,” Ham said. “There was a fee, and I had to have my cheer coach fill out some information as well, but that was it.”
Ham is the only participant from the area going this year.
“I wish that there were other girls going,” Ham said. “But, I think I will fit in well and be able to make new friends quickly.”
Participants were asked to arrive in New York City by Nov. 21 for registration and to begin rehearsing for the event.
“I know that we will have to practice quite a bit,” Ham said. “Many of our scheduled practices will last for a few hours and then, before the event, we have a rehearsal with NBC.”
The trip will not be all work for Ham. She and her mother, Dee, plan to take in some sights while in the area.
“We plan to see the 9-11 memorial, Central Park, Radio City Music Hall and even see ‘Aladdin,’” Ham said. “Also, I have family that will be there, and we plan to visit with them as well.”
Ham’s cousin, Natalie Hightower, will be in the Big Apple over the Thanksgiving holidays with the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
“She is very ill with a brain tumor, and her wish was to see the lighting of the tree in Rockefeller Center,” Ham said. “We were not sure that she was going to get her wish, but it came through, and thankfully, we will be in the city at the same time and be able to share the holiday.”
The path to this dream come true for Ham has been full of changes and growth. A transplant from Ocean Springs after Hurricane Katrina, Ham has adapted well.
“I came to Trinity in the third grade, and I was involved in American Youth Association (AYA) cheer and the competitive cheer team with Mrs. Kim Strawbridge at Natchez Gymnastics Association (NGA),” Ham said. “I tried out for cheerleading with the school in the seventh grade and made the squad and have done so every year.”
Strawbridge said Taylor is a beautiful person with lots of talent.
“I enjoyed coaching her,” Strawbridge said. “I think she will succeed with whatever she does in life.”
Ham said that she is enjoying her position as cheer captain on the squad because she gets to call the cheers and choreograph the dances and make sure the girls practice.
“It is a lot of responsibility,” Ham said. “But, I am learning a lesson about being a leader.”
Ham has applied to several colleges including the University of Southern Mississippi, Mississippi State University and Louisiana State University.
Ham is most interested in USM because of the all-girl cheer team and its Kinesiotherapy degree program as she is interested in becoming a physical therapist.
“I am so excited to be going to NYC and being in the parade and I hope everyone watches,” Ham said. “If any young girl wants to become a cheerleader all she has to do is stick with it and work hard because nothing is impossible.”