John Glenn High School Hosts America’s Got Talent Watch Party

BAY CITY — Tuesday night was a party night for John Glenn High School. The school’s college pom pom hosted a watch party for his appearance on the NBC variety show, “America’s Got Talent.”

Fans gathered at the high school about half an hour before the show to mingle. Inside, a red carpet photo op was set up, complete with embossed star plaques with the girls’ names. The smell of popcorn permeated the air as concessions were provided. Gift baskets, flowers and trophies were brought for the team and coaches. The young women were dressed in new clothes.

A handful of family members wore cutouts or wore shirts with the girls’ faces when they performed dressed as Pitbulls at a recent kicking competition; this performance attracted attention on social media and is the reason for their arrival on AGT.

One person wearing the jersey was Bay City’s Nicole Burgeson. She called the experience of seeing her daughter, Maren Burgeson, surreal. She also thanked cheerleader coach Shelby Putnam for her hard work and dedication.

“They win a lot of state championships, but this is different,” Nicole said. “It’s really special to see them excel in this area. I’m just glad they got some recognition.

Bay City’s Matt Huziar came out to support his son’s girlfriend, who is on the cheerleading squad. He had seen the team’s previous routines at sports games, but had waited eagerly for weeks to see their AGT performance.

“It’s huge for the girls,” Huziar said. “They worked very hard. They practiced a lot. They are pretty awesome.

The audience made their way to the high school auditorium where an NBC live stream was playing. Renee Mrozinski, principal of Christa McAuliffe Middle School in Bay City, was among those present. She knew all the girls when they were in middle school and was very proud of their achievement.

“I didn’t expect this to happen to a Bay City team,” Mrozinski said. “We are so happy for the girls that they got to experience this.”

Shortly before 8 p.m., Putnam took the stage to thank the Bangor Township Schools administrative team, parents and friends for their support.

“These women are amazing, and it’s so deserved for them,” Putnam said. “I’m so grateful. Thank you for raising such great women.

Spectators waited in the darkened auditorium for just over an hour, awaiting the college bobblehead’s performance. Three of the judges – Heidi Klum, Sofia Vergara and Simon Cowell – evaluated singers, dancers and even a professional circus performer. About halfway through the two-hour broadcast, Howie Mandel returned to his judge’s seat; he had been absent due to illness.

Fittingly, the next act after Mandel’s return was John Glenn High School Varsity Pompon, dressed as Mandel. The school auditorium cheered loudly as the 13 girls, dressed in bald caps, round glasses, black suits and white shirts, took to the AGT stage.

The pom pom team danced to Pitbull’s “Fireball” as the judges danced in their seats. When the team received four “yeses” from the judges, John Glenn High School erupted in cheers and cheers.

Outside the auditorium, well-wishers gathered to congratulate the girls. Madisyn Galan met her family, including Jeanne Wittkopp, Tera Howard and Shawn Galan, all from Bay City. They were able to travel to California to watch the taping, but were still thrilled to see the episode air.

“It was great to be in the theater with an explosive crowd,” Shawn said. “To see the edited version on TV, we were able to see every angle.”

“There are no words,” Howard said. “It’s just amazing. We are proud of them all. They have worked so hard and it is well deserved.

“It was weird seeing each other from the stage,” Madisyn said. “But I didn’t really remember when. It was as if I was watching a dream.

Putnam was thrilled to see so many people at the watch party, saying it reiterated what a phenomenal support system the community is and was just as excited as the team to see them appear on AGT.

“Having everyone here and feeling that energy, it took me right back to the day they (the team) were on stage,” Putnam said. “It was an amazing experience. It’s having our community behind us.

Although the varsity pom has received approval from all four judges, the team will have to wait to see if they make it to the next round of competition.

Joseph K. Bennett