November 13, 2019
The Jersey Village High School Gold Dusters and cheerleaders are led by the Houston Texans’ cheerleaders during a practice at the football team’s training facility. Both ensembles joined groups from six other high schools and were part of the Houston Texans All-Star Cheerleaders halftime performance on Oct. 27. (Photo by Mariela Vargas, Jersey Village HS)
By Jackie Orozco, Jersey Village HS
Nov. 13, 2019—Jersey Village High School Gold Dusters’ sweaty hands held shiny silver poms with strong grips as they followed the lead of the Houston Texans cheerleaders on the playing field at NRG Stadium. The bright stadium lights hit the Gold Dusters as their smiles grew larger, poms were raised higher and waves became more emphatic toward the loud crowd. An experience that began with in invite ended with Gold Dusters and Jersey Village cheerleaders joining other Houston-area high school dance teams for an all-star performance with the Texans cheerleaders on Oct. 27 during the team’s game against the Oakland Raiders.
Practice for this exclusive opportunity began immediately following the news of the invitation to perform.
“When I first found out our team was performing at the Texans’ halftime show, I got super excited and thought it was crazy because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience and not everyone can say they danced at the Texans’ halftime show,” junior Yahilen Vega said. “While learning the dance, I felt so overwhelmed because we were also learning other routines and it felt like too much to process but I just put my mind to it and gave it my all.”
The Jersey Village High School cheerleaders pose with the Houston Texans’ cheerleaders following a rehearsal Oct. 23 for the Houston Texans All-Star Cheerleaders halftime performance. The Falcons joined groups from six other high schools for the performance Oct. 27. (Photo by Mariela Vargas, Jersey Village HS)
After two weeks of morning practices, the Gold Dusters and cheerleaders loaded their buses in purple and gold uniforms to make their way to NRG Stadium. They saw the streets lined with football fans tailgating in their Texans’ gear, and the teams’ adrenaline heightened as they unloaded the buses and joined ensembles from six other schools.
They stretched and made their final preparations. Just before halftime, the large group of performers lined up and made their way toward the field. The crowd of 71,893 fans looked on as they took their spots, cheering and shouting as the music cued the start.
“At first It felt really intimidating to dance with the other schools and the Texan cheerleaders because I was not used to dancing with people that I didn’t know,” senior Jessica Henderson said. “But, once I stepped onto the field, it felt exciting because I realized that I was dancing with a lot of other people who love to dance as much as I do.”
The music blared and camera flashes fired as the as the girls dance through the routine. It lasted just a few minutes, but their smiles as the performers ran off the field showed the pride and appreciation for this opportunity.
The Jersey Village High School Gold Dusters pose with the Houston Texans’ cheerleaders following a rehearsal Oct. 23 for the Houston Texans All-Star Cheerleaders halftime performance. The dance team joined ensembles from six other high schools for the performance on Oct. 27. (Photo by Mariela Vargas, Jersey Village HS)
“Watching the girls perform always makes me proud,” said Ryan Garcia, Gold Dusters director. “I can still remember the excitement of each performance in front of a big crowd and I loved that we were able to provide our girls with opportunities like this.”