Jasmine Garcia is looking forward to late December and early January.
The 12-year-old seventh-grader at Merced's Hoover Middle School has been invited to take part in the All-American halftime show at the Capital One Bowl football game in Orlando, Fla.
"I'm excited. I feel grateful," Jasmine said. "Not very many people get chosen for this type of experience."
Jasmine is one of about 10 California girls chosen for the Florida trip. She took part in a two-day JAMZ cheerleading camp in July at California State University, Stanislaus, in Turlock, leading to her invitation to participate in the Jan. 2 halftime show.
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Jasmine said she has been dancing since she was a little girl. Hoover's squad was the only middle school unit to get a first place at the JAMZ camp.
"I love music, especially hip-hop, and always dance at home, too," Jasmine said. She plans to go to college, maybe a dance school, but her career goal is either becoming a nurse or medical receptionist.
Hoover Principal Doug Collins said the Florida program is an exciting opportunity for Jasmine. "Hoover is excited for her and supporting her," Collins said. "Jasmine's a great kid. She's an honor roll student and I wish I had 900 of her."
The daughter of Angela Martinez of Merced, Jasmine will hold a fundraising car wash from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the La Super Michoacana at 16th and N streets. It will cost Martinez and her daughter $2,250 to attend the Florida events.
Jasmine's coach, Hoover Middle School teacher, cheerleading and softball coach Dawn Walker, said Jasmine has been on the Hoover squad for three years and is an integral part of the group.
"She's very talented and equally fabulous in class," Walker said. "It's great for our community and I think it's amazing. It's a wonderful opportunity for our community that she was chosen out of so many kids at jazz camp. She's a very talented young lady and I'm super proud of her."
As a sixth-grader, Jasmine got the trophy for most valuable cheerleader at the school's sports banquet. With the Hoover cheerleading squad, Jasmine is the base for the stunt group, the one holding the girl designated as the flyer, who does the acrobatic stunts.
The Florida visit includes five nights of hotel accommodations, meals, visits with nationally acclaimed choreographers and directors, a visit to Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando, the All American performance costume, pool and video parties.
Reporter Doane Yawger can be reached at
(209) 385-2407 or firstname.lastname@example.org.