While the tea party may have been a bit different this year, the magic of Disney still filled the cafeteria of Corbin Primary School as the Corbin High School Cheerleaders invited little princesses in for the team’s annual Princess Party.
During a year without COVID, families would come in and the children would get to participate in a beauty salon boutique where they could get their hair curled, makeup done and nails painted before they were ushered inside the gym or cafeteria for crafts and the tea party, said Corbin High School Cheerleading Coach Shonya O’Neill.
This year was a bit different, as the cheerleaders were unable to do the boutique. Instead participants were seated at different tables where they got some snacks and completed crafts. Every few minutes, participants would rotate tables so that they got to meet all of the cheerleader princesses. Each cheerleader princess decorated her table based on her character and selected a craft to complete with the children.
O’Neill said that it is fun for the cheerleaders because they both get to interact with the children, but also get to portray a Disney princess.
“It is just fun for the girls. It is tradition,” said O’Neill.
When the children come in, they tend to ask for specific princesses right away, said O’Neill. “To them, this is Disney when they can’t get there.”
The cheerleaders themselves said they enjoyed the events with the seniors looking back on their time participating in the annual princess parties.
Cady Estep, who has been on the high school cheer team for five years and portrayed Cinderella, said, “I am going to miss being able to bond with all of the little kids.”
“Once you start out, it is kind of nerve wracking because you don’t really know what craft to choose or how many kids or how they are going to react to you, but as a senior you know how to deal with them a little bit better and it is a lot more fun as the years go by,” said Estep.
Libby Cima, a senior who has been on the high school cheer team for four years and portrayed Elsa, said, this year was especially different because everyone was wearing masks and it was just all around different.
Overall, Cima said the event is special.
“It’s really special because I have always enjoyed this. It is my favorite fundraiser that we have done,” said Cima.
Merrah Pack, a four-year team member who portrayed Ariel, said, “I am kind of sad that I [won’t] see all of the ones who have come every year and they remember us. I will miss it,” said Pack. “It is special to all of them, so it is special to us every year.”
Olivia Roberts, also a four-year team member who portrays Belle, agreed with the other ladies that she will miss interacting with the children.
“My favorite part of the princess parties is when the little kids come in and find the princess that they are matched up with and their faces just glow,” said Roberts.
“I am going to miss it. It is really a good time,” said Emma Reedy. “I am just trying to take in every moment because it makes me sad that I won’t be back here next year, and all of the familiar faces, I won’t see them anymore. I am just trying to take it all in.”
Reedy has been on the team for four years and portrayed Moana.
Katty Ann Taylor, who has portrayed Mary Poppins all four years she has been on the team, said, “I think my favorite part about the event is seeing the smiles on the little kids faces. You can tell it means a lot to them, especially coming from such a small town where they don’t always have these kinds of opportunities. Just once a year getting to dress up and be a princess, it makes me feel great.”
The senior members of the Corbin High School Cheerleading team are not the only ones who enjoyed the event.
Kasi Grande has a young daughter who has attended the event for two years.
“I think it is wonderful that the cheerleaders put this on for our children, so that it gives them someone to look up to and someone to aspire to be,” said Grande. “Our daughters love princesses and everything associated therein, and they just have a good time with all of the cheerleaders and all of the other little girls here as well.”
The event was split into two sessions with approximately 100 little princesses and parents attending the event.