CHICAGO — This team has spirit! Yes, they do! This team has spirit, and it’s all thanks to you! 

The Chi-Town Wildcats Cheerleaders departed for the Allstar World Championship in Orlando, Florida on Wednesday. This is their first world championship and initially, the team feared they were going to have to leave behind a few members because they didn’t have enough funds for airfare and hotel for everyone on their youngest team, the Kitty Cats, whose members range from four to eight years old.  

The Kitty Cats team competed in the first round of competition Friday afternoon and advanced to the second round. 

WGN News Now spoke with Coach Paulette Franklin on Tuesday in hopes of spreading the word to help raise funds for the team through their GoFundMe.  

In less than 24-hours, the team surpassed their goal of $5,000 and at least check had raised more than $24,000.

Kitty Cats in Orlando, Florida.


Now in Florida, the team checked in via Zoom to let us know of their latest accomplishment and send a big heartfelt thank you to everyone who donated.   

“We are so appreciative of everyone who donated,” says Coach Nicole Smith-Franklin. “Thank you, thank you, thank you! You may not be able to see who they are, but some of these girls who are on this mat are here because of you.” 

Smith-Franklin says the extra funds will go towards stunt and tumbling camps for the girls, as well as entry fees to future competition.  

Several team members chimed in during the Zoom to show their excitement of their latest accomplishment.  

Chi-Town Cheerleaders is Chicago’s longest running cheerleading program. It was founded by Franklin, who is also a CPS teacher, to build confidence in young girls.  

The gym won a National Championship title in Indianapolis in January and hopes to bring a World title when they return home competition in Orlando.

The Allstar World Championship Cheerleading competition runs through Saturday April 23, 2022.