By Staff Reports

A trip to Rome, Italy was a dream come true for the history buff and Chamblee junior cheerleader Solange Jackson over the recent holiday break.

Jackson earned the trip with a fourth consecutive year being named All-American Cheerleader at the National Cheerleader Association summer camp in 2018. She was named an All-American as an eighth grader in 2015, 2016 (Disney trip) and 2017 (did not make the trip to London).

“The trip was amazing being able to see all the history of Rome and Italy,” said Jackson. “Going to places like the Coliseum, Forum, the Dome in Florence and Vatican City and learning more about them was a lot of fun.”

An all-around student-athlete who has lettered in cheerleading, swimming, and gymnastics during her three years in high school she also gets it done in the classroom as a member of the BETA Club, National Honor Society and Future Business Leaders of America.

Jackson was one of about 250 All-American cheerleaders from across the United State to make the trip to Rome and perform on New Year’s Day in the Piazza del Popolo along with bands, dancers and drum majors. The performers were part of a parade route consisting of several blocks in and out from the Piazza Del Popolo along Via Del Corso and in front of the Piazza di Spagna where they performed as well.

“It was quite the day performing during the parade,” said Jackson. “We performed several times along the route. The crowds were enthusiastic cheering us all.”

The group left on the 26th of December and returned on January 2, but in between practice and travel they got to see quite a bit of Rome and the Italian countryside.

Touring Rome the group got to spend time learning about the Coliseum, seeing where the gladiators fought and how they entered the arena to fight in front of the Roman emperor and people.

A tour of Vatican City was one of Jackson’s favorites as she learned so much more about how it is its own country within Italy.

“The entire Vatican City of several thousand people is completely walled,” said Jackson. “The Sistine Chapel was beautiful.”

A day train trip through the countryside to Florence and back was another highlight for the junior from Chamblee.

“Getting out of the city and seeing the countryside was great,” Jackson said. “It was so pretty and the Dome in Florence was also amazing.”

Other sites the group enjoyed included the Spanish Steps and the Wedding Cake (City of Rome’s Offices). They also enjoyed great pizza and pasta for team dinners with some American cuisine (hamburgers) thrown in as well. And what trip to Rome would be complete without some shopping?

The group had a party for New Year’s Eve and were amazed at how much the Italian celebration of the New Year was much like ours in the United States. The group was entertained by a DJ and danced before heading to bed at 12:15 ahead of their big performance day.

After getting back from Italy, Jackson is back into her role as a dual enrollment student at Chamblee High and Georgia State Perimeter in Dunwoody and Clarkston.

The two-time winner of the NCA Leadership Award at the cheerleader camp also spends a lot of what’s left of her spare time volunteering through the Interact Club and 100 Black Women. She helps coach tumbling at the Tucker Rec Center and spends time at the Phoenix Nursing Home helping the elderly.

And on top of it all, she has also been named a Student of Distinction by one of her teachers.

The trip to Italy seems to be a pretty good reward for a student so involved in all aspects of her education and community.

She is the daughter of Steven and Jacqueline Jackson.

Written by Marbeth Cheathem

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