By Andreas Butler
For Hometown News
Spruce Creek High School's Junior Varsity cheerleaders are headed to nationals.
The girl's will compete in the Great Lakes National Championship in Chicago on April 7.
With funds tight, the squad needed a little financial help and one local restaurant in particular stepped in.
Aunt Catfish's On The River Seafood Restaurant, 4009 Halifax Drive, Port Orange, hosted a "Fish Fry" fundraiser for the team on Dec. 6 and donated all the proceeds to the squad for the trip.
"We are always trying to help out the community," owner Brendan Galbreath said. "I also have a daughter on the squad. We try to give them the best experience that they can have."
Cheerleading Coach Keshia Rentz said, "This is a wonderful business. They do a lot for our squad and our school. The owners are great to work with. They accommodate our needs and are helping us raise money to have a wonderful experience in Chicago."
The girls are excited to be going and glad for the support they received.
"We are very excited. I don't know what else could be better than going to Nationals," said Brooke Galbreath, 16, an 11th grade cheerleader.
"We are very appreciative and we probably wouldn't be able to go without their support. They do a lot for our squad," said Morgan McCutcheon, 15, 10th grade.
Both the Varsity and JV squads received bids to the United Cheerleading Associate Nationals Championships at Disney World in Orlando.
At regionals, the varsity placed third and the JV finished second.
Brooke Galbreath said, "It was a challenging experience, but we pulled through."
"We had some things that we were worried about but things fell together for us," said Josie Toung 16, 10th grader.
But the squads decided that only one team could go to nationals and the girls chose Chicago over Orlando.
Madison Preston, another 15-year-old 10th grader, said, "I think this could be a bonding experience for us to do something that we have never done before. We live close to Disney so why not Chicago."
With the state of the economy and budget restraints plaguing the local school district, both the restaurant and squad are aware of the importance of the event.
"We understand that both people and businesses are struggling financially. This trip costs $500 per student. We didn't want to put the entire burden on the parents, so we came up with a way for the girls to raise some money on their own," Coach Rentz said.
"We have been sponsoring within the community for 12 years. We have helped elementary schools, high schools, clubs and church groups. We do a pancake breakfast almost every Saturday to help fundraise for groups. Many need money. Many do good work. At the end of the day if everybody does a little bit it adds up," Mr. Galbreath said.
Also competing recently were the Pop Warner Port Orange Hawk Pee Wee Cheerleaders, who advanced to nationals at the Wide World of Disney Sports Complex. In the Tuesday, Dec. 4, competition, the Pee Wee Hawks placed fifth.