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Lodi High School students Melanie Cockrum and Amanda Mercado in today’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

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Posted: Thursday, November 25, 2010 12:00 am | Updated: 7:29 am, Thu Nov 25, 2010.

As you load the turkey into the oven this morning and pause to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, look closely for Melanie Cockrum and Amanda Mercado.

The co-captains of the Lodi High School drill team will be performing near the beginning of the 2 1/2 mile route. The girls left for New York City last Saturday.

Who

Cockrum and Mercado will be performing dance numbers alongside about 400 other girls in a group called Varsity Spirit. They will be wearing hot pink skirts and tops mailed to each of the participants.

“We’re going to look like highlighters,” Mercado said last week.

The girls, both seniors, have been practicing the routine posted online.

Cockrum admits it’s hard to follow along from a computer. “You can’t really see what they’re doing, but it works.”

What

Varsity Spirit consists of captains/co-captains and officers from Universal Cheerleaders Association, Universal Dance Association, National Cheerleaders Association, National Dance Alliance and United Spirit Association.

Spirit of America is producing the dance and cheerleading performance groups.

“I’m excited to go, but I’m really nervous,” Mercado said Friday, adding that she’s most excited to be on TV. “I’m ready to take over New York.”

Mercado’s mother and grandmother are accompanying the girls. None of the group has visited the Big Apple.

Why

The Lodi High girls were chosen for the all-star team after attending summer drill camp at the University of California, Davis.

In the last 11 years, only six other girls from Lodi High have been selected, including Mary Wong, who participated in last year’s parade.

Where

While in New York City, Cockrum and Mercado will also get to do some sightseeing like the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty, see a Broadway play and visit the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall.

“I’m excited about being in the parade because seeing it is something I’ve always wanted to do. Being in it just tops everything,” Cockrum said.

When

The 84th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade begins at 9 a.m. EST on NBC. More than 60 million viewers are expected to tune in to watch this annual tradition live from New York.

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Lodi Unified leaders are moving Lodi and Tokay high school graduations from the Grape Bowl to the Spanos Center at UOP in Stockton. They cite limited seating, costs and unpredictable weather at the Grape Bowl. But others say graduations at the Grape Bowl are an important Lodi tradition, and one reason many supported renovating the stadium. What do you think?

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