Thursday, December 1, 2011

November 2011: A World Record Month

A few years ago I had what I called the "Best Week Ever." It started by flying to Oregon to visit my long distance boyfriend. We saw my favorite musician Jack Johnson play live outdoors with the mountains surrounding us. I then flew to Miami (also my longest flight ever) to vacation with my girlfriends and watch the Chiefs versus the Dolphins. Best. Week. Ever.

Well I'm fairly certain I just experienced the Best MONTH Ever. You can scroll through my appearances and see all the amazing opportunities that came my way this month. I met the director of the Presidential Fitness Challenge and "Let's Move." I threw the ceremonial first pass at a Kansas City Chiefs game alongside one of my all time favorite running backs. I returned to my alma mater to address my sisters within Delta Zeta Sorority. I taught the "Move Your Body" routine to pro cheerleaders while visiting Philadelphia. I launched the Lady Raiders 2012 Swimsuit Calendar in Richmond, Va. And then... I broke a world record.

What!?! Wait a minute. Yep, that's right. Ms. United States 2011 is now in the Guinness Book of World Records. Here's how.

About two years ago I met an amazing woman named Darlene Cavalier. She was a dancer for the 76ers NBA team, and I was an NFL cheerleader for the Rams and Chiefs, so we clicked instantly. Darlene holds a PhD and writes for Discover Magazine. Her passion is teaching young women about science, math and engineering, so she became known as "The Science Cheerleader." Darlene developed a website and began featuring current and alumni pro cheerleaders like ourselves who worked in or studied the sciences.

Darlene's goal was to bring the website to life through a performance team of Science Cheerleaders. These women would greet the public, work with children, and playfully challenge stereotypes. She recruited me as the choreographer and creative director, we designed a uniform, recruited 13 performers, and choreographed a 20-minute stage show to appear at the U.S. Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, DC in October 2010.

Since then, the Science Cheerleaders have become daily water cooler conversation among scientists, journalists, and well, everyone! That performance had over 150,000 views on Youtube and was featured on CNN. The Science Cheerleaders have been invited to perform at NASA, the Hispanic Science & Engineering Festival, and this fall, Darlene, the Science Cheerleaders, and Ms. United States officially made history by partnering with Pop Warner Little Scholars.

Early in November, Darlene asked me to choreograph a 5-minute science cheer to be performed by American cheerleaders in an attempt to beat China's world record of the largest cheer. Five days later, I had gone through three edits of the cheer, hours of video and scripting, and at last... the final instructional video was sent to Trenton, New Jersey for the big event.

On November 12, 1,300 Pop Warner cheerleaders piled into a school gymnasium while Ms. United States appeared on a jumbotron and led a cheer for science. On the floor keeping the energy high were Science Cheerleaders from the Kansas City Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles and Baltimore Ravens. Here's the Video of the Guinness World Record Cheer for Science!
We waited a few weeks, and by November 30, the confirmation came...
"We are pleased to confirm that you have successfully set the new Guinness World Records title for the Largest Cheerleading Cheer. The greatest number of cheerleaders simultaneously performing a cheer was achieved by Science Cheerleaders & Pop Warner (both USA) at the Sun National Bank Arena in Trenton, New Jersey, USA, on 12 November 2011. Guinness World Records congratulates you on your achievement.” 

I'm so proud to be a part of this event and of the Science Cheerleaders organization. I've met women of amazing backgrounds who share the pro cheerleading experience with me. One of the Science Cheerleaders, a NASA engineer, recently competed to become Ms. Texas United States! I believe we'll be seeing quite a bit more of the Science Cheerleaders in the years to come.

So what does one do when they've broken a world record? I guess I can sleep soundly tonight! Bucket list #8 checked off. What will happen in December?? Only time will tell... 

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