Adventures abroad with Abigail and Avery

Two LHS cheerleaders travel to London for the New Year’s Day Parade
By: 
GARRETT HARR
Outlook staff writer
Avery Carlson and Abigail Peterson seeing the sights of London together on their travels abroad.

It all started with a flock of flamingos in a mysterious and daring five months of fundraising by two LHS sophomore’s Abigail Peterson and Avery Carlson. 

Abigail and Avery are both on the LHS cheerleading squad and were given an amazing opportunity last year when they were told of a chance to travel to London to represent American cheerleaders in the New Year’s Day parade. Over 800 cheerleaders from all over America travel every year to be part of the parade. This year a handful of Laurel’s finest were chosen and were told that they had five months to raise $4,000 for the trip. Marcus Simpson raised the funds and also went to London. The two girls banded together to help each other raise the money

The girls spent months together bussing tables at Pizza Ranch, making tips, leaving a tip jar at The Yogurt Shop, selling cheer-bow keychains, having yard sales, selling cookie dough to newspaper publishers and even baby-sitting to raise money. They did it all, but it still wasn’t enough. 

Rebecca Peterson, Abigail’s mom had an idea. The girls listened and loved it and so began a friendship that would grow over the next few months into something special as the girls embarked on flocking Laurel. 

The girls ordered 50 lawn flamingos online, large skinny, pink and plastic. Their first Flock-attack was aimed at their principal. The two friends snuck out one night and stuck the long skinny legs of flamingos into the lawn of the front yard of Edward Norman. The next morning Mr. Norman awoke, like any other day, but saw something different. He now had a flock of dozens of plastic flamingos in the front of his house with a note. The note read that he had been flocked, as a fundraising event and that he now had a choice. For X-amount of dollars he could donate money to the two perpetrators to remove the flock from Mr. Norman’s yard to any address, or addresses of his choosing. Friends, family, co-workers, everyone was fair game to be flocked.

Over the next few months the two girls went out almost every night together, filling unsuspecting Laurel residents’ yards with entire flocks of plastic flamingos. 

Abigail’s mom had gotten the idea from Pinterest and night by night the flock of flamingos moved from house to house until finally the day came when they had raised enough money to both travel to London. The flocking wasn’t over yet, however; as with all things fundraising, it isn’t complete without adventure, love and betrayal. 

Avery conspired with Abigail’s boyfriend, Brandon, and her parents to go to the Peterson’s house very late at night. Abigail was told by her mom that her boyfriend was at the door. When she went outside she was shocked to see her Brandon standing in a heart-shaped flock of flamingos holding a sign that read, ‘Will you fly me to formal or leave me standing alone on one leg?’ Abigail was flocked and her heart jumped with joy as she said yes to Brandon and the flamingos. Just like that, they were each other’s date to the winter formal.

Then after months of hard work it was off to London for an entire week, Avery, Abigail and Marcus Simpson all were able to make the trip abroad. The cheerleaders were sent a tape of what routine they would be performing in the London New Year’s Day Parade. The yearly event is one of the largest with over 10,000 participants, 500,000 on the streets and over 3 million watched from their televisions at home. 

In London the two girls became even better friends as they traveled together and met cheerleaders from all over America and met the locals and hundreds of other Europeans who were in the country for the parade. 

London doesn’t have cheerleaders and both girls expressed how happy and kind everyone overseas was to them.

“We felt so appreciated,” they both agreed.

Being in a parade that large was surreal for both the girls and the moms. Deb and Rebecca watched at home and looked through the hundreds of cheerleaders on television to try and spot their girls. Abigail and Avery were part of hundreds of girls and boys who cheered down the streets for the giant event. 

The parade only lasted a few hours however so in addition to the parade march (which took them past many iconic sites, such as the London Eye and Big Ben) the two friends were able to spend six days sight-seeing in England. 

They visited the Windsor Castle, London dungeons and a mock-history haunted house which was a theatre production of famous local murders and horrors inside a giant Disneyland-like attraction. They went to museums and took pictures of everything. 

“Every building is so unique in it’s own way,” said Abigail. “It’s amazing how everything still looks so beautiful after so long. It felt like I was time traveling.”

Avery’s mom Deb, bought each girl a safe bell that would ring if they got lost in a crowd and had to find each other. Avery’s bell had a butterfly and Abigail’s a heart. They traveled together the entire trip with a teenage sense of adventure and saw every building, show and event they could, following the distinct ringing of each other’s safety bells. 

“How beautiful it still is,” said Avery. “How ancient it still is.” Avery, like Abigail fell in love with the architecture of London and came back filled with exciting stories of wonder. Both were thankful for the opportunity to go on such an amazing trip.

“We are so thankful for our families and friends for support,” said Avery, adding, “Our coaches and squad and our captain Kaylee, who helps us with everything and anything, from school to boy problems.”

Even the two girls moms got closer during their daughters absence. 

“I was Abigail deprived,” said her mom Rebecca. She and Deb talked everyday and like their daughters, got to know each other quite well over the entire journey. 

After months of fundraising, two 28-hour plane rides together and participating in the biggest cheer event of their lives and back home again, the two girls learned a lot about the world, but most of all, they learned a lot about each other. 

“Abigail ruins movies,” said Avery. “She ruined ‘Happy Feet.’ She kept saying that the penguins don’t really look like that and pointed out weird things in movies that shouldn’t be there,”

“Avery is even more sassy than I thought,” said Abigail. “One small and sassy girl. We cried and we laughed together.”

The two girls are back in school now, preparing for Cheerfest, and can be seen almost weekly at the Locomotives home basketball games, still cheering, still friends. 

 

    

 

      

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