Graduating during Covid-19: A Quilt of Cheer Memories
Recent MemoryStitch Customer Tammy DiBabbo had saved up her daughter Alexandra's cheer apparel for many years, and wanted to give her daughter a gift of her cheerleading memories for high school graduation.
From the time she was four years old, Alexandra was fascinated by cheerleading. "On the sidelines of her brother's football practices and games, she would watch the cheerleaders, trying to mimic their every move," said DiBabbo.
At age seven, Alexandra was able to join a cheer team herself. At age 11, she started competitive cheerleading, which involved practice, games, and competitions 5-6 days a week. According to her mom, "It was exhausting, but she was so passionate and dedicated, it was worth every moment!"
By the time her daughter was 13, DiBaddo had heard of t-shirt quilts, and known that she would one day want to make a t-shirt quilt out of all of her daughter's "cheer gear" for her high school graduation. She started storing all of her old and outgrown cheerleading apparel for her graduating year.
Earlier this year, in February, DiBabbo went with her daughter to Washinton DC for a cheerleading competition. Not only did Alexandra and her team win first place and winning jackets, they won a bid to Cheerleading World's, which is held in Orlando, Florida.
"This honor is something my daughter had strived for since she first stepped on a competitor cheer mat. As a senior, this year was her final opportunity to earn a bid and perform on the largest cheerleading competition stage in the world," said DiBabbo. In her last year of cheerleading, Alexandra had succeeded her goal set seven years ago.
With the rise of the pandemic in mid-March, cheerleading practices were canceled, and one-by-one cheer competitions were being canceled as well. By mid-April, Cheerleading World's had been cancelled too.
"My daughter held it together pretty good during quarantine, up until that moment. For her, there was no longer an opportunity to compete on that World’s mat, and she was crushed. No one could have predicted all that happened during her senior year of high school. But in all that she missed out on, not performing on that World’s mat, has been by far the most devastating for her to work through," said DiBabbo.
DiBabbo's MemoryStitch quilt encompasses items from Alexandra's first year of cheering, up until the the jacket she won in February, when she won the bid to the World's.
"I know this quilt can’t give her back what she’s lost out on this year, but it’s my hope that when she looks at her quilt, she sees all the amazing accomplishments, from her many years of hard work, and cherishes each of those memories," said DiBabbo.
Photos provided by Tammy DiBabbo
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