Emily Ward, a student at Tamaqua Area High School, is one of more than 500 high school cheerleaders and dancers from across the U.S. who will be performing in the London New Year's Day Parade.

Emily is the daughter of Thomas and Ruth Ward, and the granddaughter of James Ward and Margaret Steele, all of Tamaqua.

The individuals invited to perform in the parade qualified for the trip after being selected as an All American at one of the Varsity summer camps Pine Forest Cheerleading Camp hosted by Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA), National Cheerleaders Association (NCA), United Spirit Association (USA), Universal Dance Association (UDA) and National Dance Alliance (NDA).

All Americans are selected to try out based on superior cheerleading skills at camps across the country.

Varsity has been hosting camps since 1974. Each year, Varsity trains 325,000 cheerleaders at over 5,000 camp sessions.

Only the top 12 percent of cheerleaders who attend Varsity summer camps earn the chance to march in the London parade. These cheerleaders will also have the chance to tour London during their seven-day trip.

"This is the 25th year we've been able to bring talented cheerleaders to London, where they can showcase their skills to a very enthusiastic international audience," said Mike Fultz, Varsity International Event Coordinator.