They waved their pompoms, stretched their vocal cords, and marched with the cream of the crop.

Only this time, a trio of Palmerton Area Junior High School cheerleaders found themselves smack dab in the heart of the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Cheerleaders Kassie Hertzog, captain, Alyssa Reis, co-captain, and Kristen Ahner were among those to march in this past year's parade with the Universal Cheerleaders Association.

Much to their delight, the cheerleaders were chosen among several hundred of their contemporaries to march in the world-renowned parade.

Together, the girls spent four days in Philadelphia, at which time they learned the routine for the parade and for the finale.

Hertzog said she was thrilled to participate at such a well-known event.

"It was a great experience," Hertzog said. "I hope I get the opportunity to do it again sometime."

Reis, who also performed in the 2009 parade, said she had just as much fun the second time around.

"My experience was great, and I loved doing it last year too," Reis said. "I would love to go with them to London next year."

Ahner said she "enjoyed being able to perform and meet new people."

The event was open to cheerleaders age fourth grade and older. Since only 10 percent of each camp is selected as an All-American, the girls were chosen from about several hundred cheerleaders.

The UCA was founded in 1974 by Jeff Webb to provide high quality educational training for college and high school cheerleaders through summer camps and clinics on college campus.