Junior Solange Jackson Cheers Her Way to Rome

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Junior Solange Jackson Cheers Her Way to Rome

Junior Solange Jackson performing in Rome, Italy.

Junior Solange Jackson performing in Rome, Italy.

Photo courtesy of Solange Jackson.

Junior Solange Jackson performing in Rome, Italy.

Photo courtesy of Solange Jackson.

Photo courtesy of Solange Jackson.

Junior Solange Jackson performing in Rome, Italy.

Camille Crumbley, Staff writer

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Rome, Italy is the home of some 2.8 million citizens and thousands of years of history. For a week last December, it also hosted over 250 boys and girls in the Varsity All-American parade, which included Chamblee’s own Solange Jackson, a junior and cheerleader.

“It was an amazing experience,” said Jackson. “It was my first time out of the country. I got to experience a new culture and make new friends from across the nation.”

In order to make the team for the parade, Jackson first auditioned through her summer camp with the National Cheerleaders Association. Athletes who make the cut through this or other camps across the U.S., such as those organized by the Universal Cheer Association or Universal Spirit Association, together form the All-American team. 

“At cheer camp, I tried out for the All-American team, which is made up of girls and guys from all across the United States,” said Jackson. “I made the team and we have an opportunity to participate in a parade of our choice. They give us the option of the Citrus Bowl, Walt Disney World, Rome, or London. This year I chose Rome, and I was able to perform in the New Year’s Day parade held in the streets with thousands of Romans watching. It was amazing.”

Jackson, whose trip to Rome marks her fifth appearance on the All-American team, began cheering at the age of four. Her interest in the sport began at her older brothers’ football games.

“Growing up, my three older brothers played football, and instead of watching them, I was more fascinated with the cheerleaders,” said Jackson. “They always lifted everyone’s spirits with a smile, and I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”

And as it turns out, her expectations have become reality in her cheering experiences.

“I love the atmosphere of spirit,” said Jackson. “The energy we all have is great to be around.”

In order to prepare for the parade most efficiently, Jackson began to practice long before her arrival in Rome.

“They sent us the routine a couple months before in the mail,” said Jackson. “Then we only had one day of rehearsal together. So there wasn’t really much that we had to work on except learning the different movements at rehearsal once we were put into our specific places.”

When she is not cheering, Jackson also enjoys doing gymnastics, vlogging, and hanging out with her friends. But in the end, cheer remains her main passion.

“Cheer is a major part of my life,” said Jackson. “I truly love it. It’s a part of me.”