Silver Star Officers perform in Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade


Photo Courtesy of Pewton Nowell

RUN RUN RUDOLPH: The Silver Star officers smile in their reindeer costumes on the day of the performance. The officers had to get up at three in the morning to do their makeup and get ready.

Audrey Cullinane, Print Staff

Standing in foil blankets in the subway, waiting with anticipation for the two-and-a-half-mile walk ahead of them, the Bowie Silver Stars officers prepare to join the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade as the act opening for Mariah Carey. 

The Silver Star Lieutenants were featured in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade over Thanksgiving Break. Shay Gist, Liliana Demediros, Peyton Nowell, Sydney Cabello, and Olivia Cassidy were given the opportunity by Spirit of America, and spent almost a week in New York City. 

“At officer camp we got invited to the parade by Spirit of America through a letter and then from there you pay and you get to go,” senior Lieutenant Demediros said. “There were a lot of fundraisers, camps over the summer, selling poinsettias, and senior girls shirts to pay for the trip.” 

Dancing in the parade, the Silver Stars were just a small fraction of the huge ensemble of dancers performing with Spirit of America as Santa’s reindeer. 

“Being in a group of 770 people, there were people from all over America,” junior Lieutenant Nowell said. “Which was really cool to be a part of. It was nice to meet those people from other states and learn about what they do differently than what we do here in Texas.”

To be a part of such a huge group, the dancers had lots of rehearsals and practices during the week of the big day.

“There were almost 800 girls in the dance, so rehearsals were really crazy,” senior Lieutenant Gist said. “We had to break up the dance into a bunch of small parts so we could only use the big room once, so the other times we had to do it in a really small space.”

According to Gist, rehearsing in such a big group of people was difficult, but performing in the parade went smoothly, for the most part. 

“The parade didn’t go as expected, but it was still very fun,” Gist said. “The people cut off the music, so we couldn’t do the full dance, but I liked walking in the parade regardless.”

Technical mishaps aside, the Silver Star officers still enjoyed the once-in-a-lifetime experience through seeing the reactions of their loved ones in the crowd. 

HUDDLED UP: The officers pose in front of the Macy’s store in NYC during rehearsal. The officers had long rehearsals with hundreds of other girls before the day of the parade. (Photo courtesy of Peyton Nowell)

“My favorite part was walking in the parade,” Demediros said. “Getting to wave at everyone and smiling, and just having the opportunity to do it. Not a lot of people get that opportunity ever, and it was really cool to be one of the chosen ones. I got to see my parents who camped outside at four in the morning. Watching them being excited was so happy for me to see.”

According to Gist, the audience’s joyful reactions made the experience impactful for her. 

“Walking through the tall buildings, you could see people waving out of the windows,” Gist said. “Just seeing how many people were watching us in the parade was an out of body experience.”

The trip, though mainly centered around rehearsals and the parade, also featured free time for the girls to enjoy New York and each other’s company. 

“Spending time with the rest of the officers was probably one of my favorite things,” Nowell said. “Getting to practice with them and also, stepping outside of Silver Stars and doing something that wasn’t for the whole team, but taking a trip as just the five of us and spending time with our directors outside of practice.”

Although being in the most populated city in the United States, the bond of the performers was apparent as the dancers explored New York. 

“Near the time of the parade, Times Square was just filled with the blue coats that everybody was required to wear. It was cool to just think, ‘Yeah, I know you’ in such a big city,” Demediros said. “Getting to be next to my community and my officers while also around people from all over America was crazy. It was so cool to be around such diverse people.”