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FORT WORTH (CBS11) – In the blazing heat in front of their historic high school, a cheerleading team snapped through routines. Their yells echoed off the empty school building. They worked tirelessly through the summer making their routines better. Now, Polytech High School’s cheerleaders are practicing for a trip they never imagined.

Last year, the squad had low self-esteem. They were saddled with what they believed is a reputation as a mostly low-income, underachieving school.

“They felt like if they tried, nothing they do would happen,” said coach Rayneta Dotson about the squad she took control of last school year. “They feel like the world is against them.”

Dotson pushed the cheerleaders to improve, made discipline a trademark of the squad and gave them a challenge.

“My coach, she had faith in us,” said cheerleader Diamond Price. “She said, ‘Hey, we should try out for Macy’s Day Parade.'”

Fellow cheerleader Kezin Douglas added, “At first we were just playing around like, we can’t go to New York. We can’t do it.”

With Dotson’s guidance, they sent in a video to parade organizers describing their new-found spirit.

“We’re supposed to have spirit for our school so we can bring everybody together, y’know?” one of the cheerleaders said on the submission.

A few weeks later, Coach Dotson shot another video of her breaking the news to the cheerleaders.

“You have to tell your parents you won’t be home for Thanksgiving because you’re going to the Macy’s day parade!” she yelled as the squad erupted into squeals and yells as they bounded up and down.

“I didn’t know what to say,” Douglas said. “I was just so excited!

“A lot of us have never gone anywhere so this is a once in a lifetime chance for us to go somewhere,” she said.

The team has to raise $37,000 for the trip to New York and the chance to show the country the pride of the underdog school from Fort Worth.

“This was amazing!” Prince said. “Us going to the Macy’s day parade? Poly going to Macy’s day parade!”

“Whatever we do we work,” Dotson said. “We fundraise. We have to. And that’s what I want to teach them. After they leave these walls they know you can do anything if you work for it.”

If you’d like to help the Poly cheerleading squad raise $37,000 to go to New York, click here.  

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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