Bristol- For Jessica Read, cheerleading hasn't been just an activity, it's been a lifestyle. The Liberty High School senior is a varsity co- captain and member of the Jags competition squad.
"I practice Monday through Thursday, games on Friday, competition on Saturdays. Sometimes I practice on Sundays" she said of her hectic schedule.
Between countless hours of practice and the physical demands, Read said she doesn't appreciate being told cheerleading's not a sport.
"After two concussions and many trips to the hospital, I would definitely say cheerleading is a sport" Read told us laughing. "You have to put a lot into it to get what you want out."
What she got out of it was a trip to London to cheer in a New Year's Eve parade with the Universal Cheerleading Association's (UCA) All American squad.
"Maybe I'll get to see the queen" Read said. "That would be exciting, I don't know, maybe she'll be at the parade."
But the trip won't be her first time in the spot light. "I tried out last year and made it and got to [cheer in] Macy's [Thanksgiving Day Parade]. That was very exciting."
"We were glued to the TV" Jessica's father, Donnie Read said. "My son and I were down here- and her friends, waiting for her to pass by. And when she passed by, everybody texted and emailed, 'I saw Jessica'. It was really neat."
"I'm very grateful for the opportunity to travel the world with something i love and go to London" she told us.
And when she's not cheering? "I hunt too. I like to bow hunt."
Read joked that she brought some southern flavor to the UCA squad.
"My roommates were all from up north and I was the only one from the country and I had my Georgia boots on and my camouflage pants on and we went down to Time Square and ate supper" she said laughing.
Read told us after graduation she hoped to cheer for Chipola for two years, before transferring to Florida State University where she said she would like to cheer as well.