PATERSON, New Jersey (WABC) – The city of Patterson, New Jersey, hosted a brisk rally on Friday, the region’s first cheerleading team invited to participate in the Disney World International Cheerleading Competition.

Mayor Andre Saeg chaired the event for Flamez Elite, Patterson’s first all-star support team.

“I would never have thought that,” said Captain Jasmine Ode. “We are all very happy.”

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Practice and hard work are what the team deserved the invitation, but they are also talented and modest.

“I’m very confident that my team will win,” said cheerleader Lizmari Rodriguez. “But if we don’t, I’m still proud that we got a chance to be on that mat.”

These ladies are outsiders, 36 Cinderellas in the world of cheerleading competitions. Flamez Elite was founded during the pandemic and this is only their first full season.

“They pretty much beat every team in their division,” co-founder Alexandria Obong said. “And so they were offered an invitation.”

Being invited is one thing, and paying for a trip is another.

The team was able to raise only $ 5,000 out of the $ 35,000 needed to go, but with the team making the story, the mayor supports.

“We want people to help us send our girls, our stars, to Disney,” Saeg said. “For some of them, this is probably the first time they’ve had the opportunity to travel to Disney World.”

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Related to Disney or not, these young ladies know that this is exactly where they need to be and that this is exactly what they need to do using their time and energy.

“These are my sisters,” said cheerleader Lanesti McCall. “The older ones are my older sisters, the miniatures are my little sisters.”

Head coach Pauline Jojos believes they are setting a new standard.

“There’s always a lot of negative feedback in the press when it comes to Patterson,” she said. “Most importantly, we want to show that good things come out of Patterson. This is a strange group of children, and now it’s time, we need help. “

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