Instances where area youth are given the opportunity to perform on the big stage are often few and far between.

Yet, that's exactly what a triumvirate of Palmerton Junior High School cheerleaders gleefully did on their Thanksgiving holiday.

While their cohorts spent quality time with family and friends, this select group of cheerleaders marched in the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Eighth-grade students Jess Debski, Arissa Snyder and Alyssa Reis spent four days in Philadelphia while they learned the routine for the parade and for the finale.

When all was said and done, the girls found themselves marching in the City of Brotherly Love along with the Universal Cheerleaders Association.

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 for the distinction.

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.