Mars teens jumping their way to Thanksgiving parade
By Bill Vidonic
Published: Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, 3:57 p.m.
It's not an Easter parade that four Butler County teens will be hopping, skipping and jumping their way through on Thursday.
The four girls, all members of the Mars Stars jump rope team, will join about 200 other jumpers at the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City in a nearly non-stop 2.8 mile display of jumps, crosses, sideswings and legovers.
“Coaches have compared it to a marathon,” Mars senior Maggie Mc-Kernan, 17, said. “There's definitely a lot of work involved.”
Maggie, along with 15-year-old twin sisters Cassie McKernan and Rachel McKernan, ninth-graders, and Natalie Welsh, 13, an eighth-grader, are members of the Mars Stars Competitive Double Dutch Team, which has been together for nearly six years.
In May, the girls took first place for best overall double dutch team, ages 15-17, at the AAU Maryland Open Jump Rope Regional Qualifying Tournament, along with several other honors.
Because of their accomplishments, the girls were invited by the national Jumpers United for Macy's Parade, or JUMP, organized by the Heartbeats Jump Rope Team in Cleveland, to join the Manhattan holiday extravaganza.
“We are just so grateful for the opportunity,” Maggie McKernan said. “We're not only showcasing our skills, but joining other great jumpers who share our passion from around the country.”
Maggie said that since August, the foursome has been learning the routine they'll perform in the parade, using a video of the routine online for them to view. They've been rehearsing in the parking lot of Mars Area Elementary School and elsewhere.
The performers will rotate along the parade route, so at some point, the Mars girls will appear at the front of the group. The 200 members will perform to the song “I Need Your Love,” by Calvin Harris, featuring Ellie Goulding.
They won't, however, be among about 70 performers who will perform a routine on live television in front of Macy's flagship store at Broadway and 34th Street. Maggie said they will be part of a shorter segment that also will be broadcast.
The girls are planning to visit the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and other sights. They'll join the other jumpers on Tuesday to practice as a group.
“We're looking at this as a family vacation,” Laurie McKernan said, the three girls' mother. “I've very proud of them. I know they worked hard at this, and they have a passion for jumping rope.”
“It's such an awesome experience,” said Pam Best, the girls' jump rope coach and Mars Area Elementary health and physical education teacher. “All four of them are very self-directed and good kids and leaders. I can't wait until they get back to share the experience.”
The 87th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade begins at 9 a.m. Thursday. It will be broadcast on WPXI-TV.
Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.