Students participate in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Olivia+Blann%2C+Rachel+Qualls%2C+Tristen+Collins%2C+Katherine+Doan+and+Claire+Doan+smile+for+the+camera+before+dancing+in+the+Macy%27s+Thanksgiving+Day+Parade

Olivia Blann, Rachel Qualls, Tristen Collins, Katherine Doan and Claire Doan smile for the camera before dancing in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Story by Katherine Doan, staff writer

600 girls in full costume and makeup.

55 New York city blocks.

35 mph biting cold winds.

7 girls from Texas High.

One unforgettable morning.

Senior Tristen Collins performed in the 88th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade on Thursday, Nov. 27. She performed through Spirit of America alongside Sophomore Claire Doan and Seniors Katherine Doan, Rachel Qualls, Olivia Blann and Ashley Tyson.

“I was eligible because I made all-american at our drill team camp this past summer,” Collins said. “The group was so diverse. The girls to my left were from Iowa and to my right were from Florida, so that was really cool, but I liked being there with girls I knew. It was really a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

The company required extensive practices the first two days the girls were in New York. They re-taught choreography to ensure all 600 participants knew the routine and to prepare them for the parade.

“The practices were extremely hard and extremely tiring, but it was definitely worth it,” Collins said. “It was a great way to meet new people.”

Despite years of dancing on competitive teams and with the Texas High Steppers, the routine was still an unique experience.

“We did a gaming dance with a bunch of different pieces and kind of strange choreography,” Collins said. “It was weird, but it looked really good as a group and was visual for television.”

After working all week to perfect the dance, the girls were rewarded as they walked the streets of New York in line with famous talents including Nick Jonas, Idina Menzel, Meghan Trainor, William Blake and Needtobreathe.

“My favorite part was actually walking [in the parade] because it made me feel like I was a part of something so much bigger than myself,” Collins said.

There were so many people lining the streets to watch and all of the little kids were looking up at me like I was a goddess. It was incredible.”

— Collins

Claire Doan also enjoyed getting to be a part of the parade, especially as an underclassman.

“It was really fun getting to be in New York and only being a freshman,” Doan said. “I loved getting to perform with my older sister. That’s not something everyone gets to do.”

Outside of the studio, the girls saw the sights of New York and experienced many of the city’s highlights.

“We saw Aladdin, the Rockettes, Jersey Boys, Les Miserable and the NYC ballet’s performance of the Nutcracker,” Collins said. “We went Black Friday shopping on Fifth Avenue, went to the Museum of Modern Art, the Statue of Liberty, Times Square and ate some of the best food I’ve ever had. It was an incredible week.”

Aside from the group activities, Blann had an unique favorite memory from the trip.

“My Nana and I went to see the 9/11 memorial,” Blann said. “It was so impactful.”

Overall the girls had an incredible week and made memories they will never forget.

“I didn’t think it would be that incredible,” Blann said. “Seeing so many people. Being a part of something so great. I will never forget that.”