Brownwood High School's Lionettes dance team is on its way to New York City to perform in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The school gathered around 11:30 a.m. on Friday in the parking lot to cheer for the girls as they left campus early for their flights. Despite the winter-like weather conditions, Brownwood Lionette Bethany Pittman said her flight and other teammates' flights were still scheduled for take-off.
Pittman said the team had been preparing for the Big Apple adventure since summer, when they received honors and the invitation to perform in the parade at a dance camp in Dallas.
"I'm super excited. I feel like the days have dragged on especially this week...but it's finally here," Pittman said. "Time has went by really slowly but at the same time it feels like it went really fast as well because we just got the opportunity and then we're all of a sudden going? I can't believe it."
Pittman said she is most looking forward to seeing how different the city will be from Brownwood.
Brownwood Lionette Alex Hetzel is also excited for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
"I'm crazy excited. New York is something you see in movies so I'm excited to see it in reality. My mom always teased me that if we got the All-American dance award then we would be going to New York, but I never thought about it."
The team held bake sales and t-shirt sales among many other fundraisers for their trip, which cost $2,500 to $3,000 per dancer.
"I'm just really thankful for the community's help and all they've given," Lionette Emerald Fernandez said.
"It's been a real community effort," Brownwood High School Principal Bill Faircloth said. "These young ladies have worked so hard and they will do a super job representing us. Getting the opportunity to go to New York and to march on Thanksgiving morning...it's one of those things you dream about doing, but it's probably never going to happen. Well it did."