It’s almost a right of passage for many children to visit Disney World in Orlando.
But for youngsters of modest means, seeing Mickey and Minnie in their “natural” surroundings is not in the cards. You have to earn it, and 16 Portsmouth girls ages 7-16 have done just that and will be jetting to the land of Epcot and the Magic Kingdom later this month hoping to bring some glory back to their hometown.
The youngsters are members of the Cavalier Manor Dance and Cheerleading Squads. For several years they have won regional titles but lack of funding prevented them from being able to take their talents to the national competition in Orlando. But this year, SEVACF stepped in with a grant to pay for the trip, courtesy of a very generous and athletic donor, Darryl Tapp, a Chesapeake native, Virginia Tech graduate and a star defensive end for the NFL’s New Orleans Saints.
“SEVACF was a miracle that fell into my lap,” says Chastity Garrett, who coaches the cheerleaders. Ms. Garrett, or “Coach CeCe” as she is known by her girls, has been at the helm of the Cavalier Manor squad for the last seven years, watching them grow from children into young women and achieve not just on the field but also in the classroom, where they are consistently on the Honor Roll. “These girls are literally my whole life, and to be a part of theirs has been the most humbling thing. I can’t think of a more deserving group of ladies.”