Eagles cheerleader Alicia Marie Parks was selected to represent her team at the prestigious game in Arizona
By Chris Sholly
Lebanon Daily News
If you watched the NFL Pro Bowl on Jan. 25, you probably saw a local woman among the cheerleaders.
Philadelphia Eagles cheerleader Alicia Marie Parks of Palmyra was selected to represent her team at the prestigious game in Glendale, Ariz. — considered the highest accolade for a NFL cheerleader.
Parks, the daughter of Janet and Robert Parks, started dancing lessons when she was 3 years old and continued dancing through college. She began cheerleading in elementary school and continued through middle school in Palmyra.
However, when she started high school at Lancaster Catholic, she focused on her dancing. Parks said it was her dance teacher — a former Eagles cheerleader — who sparked her interest in trying out for the Eagles team.
“She would always talk about how she had this incredible experience. She met all these cool women, and she got to dance after college,” Parks recalled.
After college, Parks moved to Philadelphia and decided to try out for a cheerleading position on the Eagles team.
“I thought, I love football; I love to dance, and it will at least get me back into shape even if I don’t make it,” she said.
Parks had some stiff competition when she tried out in 2012. About 500 people auditioned for one of eight spots on the squad. She said she had no expectations going into the competition except “the love of dance.”
“This was one of my very first auditions, and sometimes it’s hard to stand out when you’re standing there with 500 other very talented and beautiful women,” she said. “You just have to learn to be yourself, and it’ll shine through.”
She was at home with her parents when she heard the news that she had been selected.
“We started jumping up and down when we heard,” she recalled. “It was such an exciting moment, and to be able to experience it with my family as well.”
To go to the Pro Bowl this year, Parks, 26, said she had to go through a formal application process in which such things as leadership abilities and accolades received are considered by the selection panel.
The experience was an exciting one, she said.
Parks said she had the opportunity to meet cheerleaders from 25 other NFL teams. But the experience exceeded her expectations.
“It was a little overwhelming, a little bit terrifying, but overall exciting,” Parks said of the experience. “We got to do so much in the community. We hosted mini cheer clinics for the local cheerleaders and also for special needs children. It was such a fantastic experience just to meet all the other very talented and accomplished women, but also to make an impact on the community around me.”
All around, Parks is an accomplished woman. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2011 with a bachelor of science degree in education and also graduated magna cum laude from Villanova University with a master’s in history. Parks has been inducted into several honor societies, most notably Phi Alpha Theta and Rho Gamma. As a graduate student, she received a scholarship from Villanova University to work as a graduate recruitment adviser and teaching assistant.
She was named the Wells Fargo Education Manager for the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. In this role, she is the lead educator for its new program “HEAD for the future,” which promotes document-based learning in K-12 classrooms. She was recently published in the journal “Pennsylvania Legacies” and hosts presentations at various schools and educational conferences both regionally and nationally.
Parks said she loves her job and hopes to continue both her job and cheerleading.
“It’s the best part-time job I could ask for,” she said of the cheerleading. “And I still get to dance. It makes you a happier person if you get to do something you really love.”
Parks is also active in the community, promoting breast cancer awareness. She recently appeared on NFL AM’s segment “Behind the Pom Poms” on NFL Network, where she discussed preventive health care.
A fan favorite, Parks is featured in the Eagles Cheerleaders Eco-Friendly Swimsuit Calendar and Calendar App and has appeared at numerous high profile events including the NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall.
A Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleader
WHEN: SATURDAY, MARCH 21, 2015
WHERE: LINCOLN FINANCIAL FIELD INSIDE THE SCA CLUB
ADDRESS: 1 LINCOLN FINANCIAL FIELD WAY, PHILADELPHIA, PA 19145
(INTERSECTION OF PATTISON AVENUE AND DARIEN STREET)
PARKING: THERE IS NO FEE FOR PARKING. TURN ONTO DARIEN STREET
AND MAKE A RIGHT INTO THE PARKING LOT. PARK IN THE “L” LOT.
(THERE WILL BE SIGNAGE DIRECTING YOU TO THIS PARKING LOT)
TIME: REGISTRATION BEGINS AT 10:00 AM. JUDGING STARTS AT 12:30 PM. All contestants should arrive by 10:30 AM.
REQUIREMENTS: YOU MUST BE 18 YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER AND A HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATE. 2015 HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES ARE NOT ELIGIBLE.
REGISTRATION FEE: $25.00. Please note: The Open Call registration fee is waived for contestants that attended the optional Mock Audition, Beauty and Fitness Workshop or Dance Prep Class.
TO PRE-REGISTER: Click here
*There is a $7.50 Ticketmaster processing fee for Online Registration
CONTESTANTS CAN ALSO REGISTER UPON ARRIVAL AT THE OPEN CALL AUDITION
TO PRE-REGISTER BY REGULAR MAIL: PLEASE SEND YOUR NAME, ADDRESS, TELEPHONE NUMBER AND EMAIL ADDRESS AND YOUR CHECK OR MONEY ORDER MADE PAYABLE TO THE PHILADELPHIA EAGLES FOR $25.00 TO:
Attn: Cheerleader Open Call Auditions
One NovaCare Way
Philadelphia, PA 19145
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens when I arrive at the Open Call Audition?
Upon arrival, contestants will check in at the registration desk, sign a waiver, and receive a contestant number. Contestants will then learn a short dance routine. Contestants that learned the routine at the workshop or dance prep class can use this time to rehearse. There will be time for all contestants to rehearse prior to being judged.
What will I be asked to do during the Audition?
There are two parts to the Open Call Audition: Modeling and Dance. Contestants will walk in a set pattern to their places and then walk individually in front of the judges. This will be considered the modeling portion of the competition and will give the panel of judges the opportunity to score on physical fitness, confidence, and beauty. The contestants will then perform the dance routine twice in small groups. The judges will be scoring on dance ability including execution/technique, retention of choreography, and showmanship. There will be two elimination rounds during the Open Call Audition.
What are the judging criteria?
During the Open Call Audition, contestants will be judged on dance ability including retention of choreography and execution/technique, physical fitness, beauty, confidence, and showmanship.
What should I wear?
Contestants should wear a sports bra, lycra shorts and sneakers or dance sneakers for the audition. We suggest wearing nude hosiery with your outfit and wearing a warm-up over the outfit while registering and waiting to perform. Contestants should wear their hair down and have their make-up done. Any body jewelry should be removed and tattoos should be covered.
When does the Open Call Audition conclude?
Contestants should come prepared to stay the day. The audition is expected to conclude around 4 pm. Contestants remaining after the second elimination round will be invited back the following week to continue with the audition process. Can I bring a family or friends? The Open Call Auditions are closed to the public. Only contestants will be granted access into the SCA Club.
What should I bring with me?
You should bring bottled water and snacks with you. There will also be water stations available and a concession stand open for your convenience. We suggest bringing hair and make-up products for touch-ups and a small handheld mirror. Do not bring valuables with you. There will not be a place to store valuables.
[Complete Audition Information]
By Paula Wolf
The six players from the Philadelphia Eagles will not be the only ones representing the franchise at this year’s Pro Bowl in Arizona.
Joining them will be Lancaster Catholic High School graduate Alicia Marie Parks, one of the team’s 39 cheerleaders.
“It was such a humbling experience” to be chosen, said Parks, 25, who’s in her third year on the squad.
The announcement was made during the Eagles’ home game versus Dallas last month.
“I was just floored” to hear the news, said Parks, who was able to share it with her family.
A press release from the Eagles called Parks “a talented performer and fan favorite.”
Barbara Zaun, who directs the Birds cheerleaders, said in the release that Parks “is well-respected by her teammates and will be an outstanding representative … at the Pro Bowl. She is very deserving of this wonderful honor.”
A 2007 alumna of Lancaster Catholic, Parks described cheerleading for the Eagles as “a part-time job but a full-time commitment.”
She is a 2011 magna cum laude graduate of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a bachelor’s degree in education and also received a master’s in history from Villanova University.
Parks works in Philadelphia at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania as lead educator for “HEAD for the future,” a program that promotes document-based learning in the K-12 classroom.
She said she’ll arrive in Arizona days before the Jan. 25 Pro Bowl, and faces a packed itinerary.
“We’re going to be busy as soon as we get there,” Parks said.
She was also sent the Pro Bowl choreography in advance, and “we have to learn 10 dances” ahead of time, she said.
Once they get there, the cheerleaders — one from each NFL team — will rehearse every day; do morning shows with Arizona media; and hold a cheerleading camp for special-needs children, Parks said.
“We do that with the Eagles,” she said of the camp, and it’s something Parks really enjoys.
At the Pro Bowl, which airs at 8 p.m. on ESPN, the cheerleaders will perform at halftime and throughout the game.
A presence in the community
“I’ve always been a huge Eagles fan,” said Parks, who moved to Philadelphia from North Carolina after receiving her undergraduate degree.
Her parents, Bob and Janet Parks, live in Palmyra, and she has extended family from Philadelphia.
She said her mom and dad, who will be joining her at the Pro Bowl, are big supporters. “They’ll always been there for everything I’ve done.”
Parks said she decided to try out for the Eagles’ cheerleading squad because she wanted to get back to dancing.
While at Lancaster Catholic, she performed in musicals and had other dance experience.
The Birds cheerleaders “are mostly a dance team,” she said.
So Parks went to the yearly auditions, where she was among 500 or so women.
Only eight new cheerleaders were chosen — and she was one of them.
“I was overjoyed,” Park said, and a little bit shocked, too.
Now a squad veteran, she said she’s established a bond with her fellow cheerleaders. “I love getting to hang out with them every week.”
So what’s involved in being an Eagles cheerleader? A lot more than performing during home games, it turns out.
Park said the women “do a ton of events to promote NFL PLAY 60,” a campaign to encourage kids to get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity a day.
They also push breast cancer awareness, a cause close to her heart because it’s affected members of her family, she said.
The cheerleaders show up at schools, businesses and charities, and participate in salute-to-veterans events, Parks said.
“We are everywhere,” she said — even planting trees.
She said she likes to encourage girls especially to follow their dreams.
“It’s a lot of fun to make public appearances,” Parks said, particularly with children.
[Alicia at PhiladelphiaEagles.com]
For probably the last time this season, reader Mike shares a few photos with us:
[Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleaders]
By Tim Hawk
South Jersey Times
Standing in the north end tunnel waiting to walk onto Lincoln Financial Field for the first time, Philadelphia Eagles rookie cheerleader Pilar Martin, from Washington Township, was more excited than scared.
“A dream come true,” the 19-year-old La Salle University sophomore said. “One of the happiest moments of my life.”
But to be one of the 39 women ready to face 70,000 screaming fans on a sunny September day, it began with an audition process that stretched from March into May.
Six days after the final auditions, on Mother’s Day, many of the cheerleaders gathered for the first day of the trading card photo session at Lincoln Financial Field.
“Putting on the uniform for the first time, I was shaking,“ said rookie Alycia Guzman, a 21-year-old Rowan University junior from Deptford.
For the 14 rookies, that day was the beginning of a new way of life, juggling the responsibilities of family, school or a career, and cheerleading.
“You really have to be dedicated to the team to be on the squad,” said Alicia Marie Parks, a third-year veteran from Philadelphia.
That perseverance began in June, with 3-hour practices twice a week that continue through the end of the season. For some squad members, learning a new dance a week required additional work outside of scheduled practices.
You can’t help but smile when you are standing there and everyone is cheering.
“What we learn Tuesday and Wednesday, I’m usually practicing throughout the week,” said Deonna Baquero.
The second-year veteran from Marlton added that she had less formal dance training than many of the other women on the squad.
“There really were no off days for me,” said Guzman, who practiced wherever and whenever she could because she wanted to be perfect on the field. “We want to be the best for our fans.”
But being a cheerleader is much more than practice and performing during Philadelphia Eagles’ games. They make approximately 350 appearances a year that include community, charitable and civil appearances, as well as fan engagement activities and corporate events.
“It’s a part-time job with full-time responsibilities,” said Parks.
Gameday begins with a quick on-field practice several hours before kickoff. After a second, longer practice in the service level of the stadium, many cheerleaders visit season ticket holders and sign calendars. They also make their way through a few of the crowded tailgating lots, having their picture taken with fans every few minutes.
Just before taking the field, choreographer Suzy Zucker fires up the squad with a quick cheer. Moments later, they burst out of the tunnel to perform their pre-game dance routine.
“It’s a little nerve-wracking, but it’s really exciting too,” said Martin. “Being out there is incredible.”
One common reward shared among the cheerleaders is how being a part of the squad has helped them develop both personally and professionally.
“Being a cheerleader has forced me to have a confidence I never had before,” said Parks, who works for the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, creating educational programs for students and teachers.
During the last home game of the season, with her family standing on the sidelines in awe at being so close to the players and the action, Parks remembered that she has the best seat in house. Her family had been brought down onto the field for the announcement that she was selected to represent the Philadelphia Eagles cheerleaders at the 2015 Pro Bowl in Arizona, and she realized that she had been taking all those things for granted.
“You can’t help but smile when you are standing there and everyone is cheering,” Parks said. “It’s just this beautiful moment.”
Thanks to the indefatigable Reader Mike for these photos of the Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleaders .
Continue reading Eagles Cheerleaders Around Town
Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleader – Marissa
Thanks to reader Mike for this photo of the Eagles Cheerleaders from last week’s Pep Rally Party.
Earlier this week, the NFL announced the list nominees for their 2014 Salute To Service Award. Among the nominees were the Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleaders. Fans can vote for the squad by clicking here and tweeting their support.
The Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleaders travel regularly to active warzones to visit US military stationed in the Middle East, most recently to Iraq. While many goodwill military tours focus on larger installations, the Eagles Cheerleaders have volunteered to visit the most remote bases to boost the morale of troops serving consecutive tours of duty and where visits are extremely rare. The travel to these remote locations is considered more dangerous. For example, an attack had occurred in very close proximity to Camp Ramadi just two days prior to their arrival, yet the Eagles Cheerleaders have never let that deter them from volunteering. During their most recent visit to Kuwait, a sandstorm grounded their travel and extended their stay, which the cheerleaders embraced as an opportunity to spend the holidays visiting hospitalized servicemen and women and bringing a feeling of ‘home’ to members of the military at a time when they were missing their loved ones the most.
The Eagles Cheerleaders were proud to honor former teammate 1st Lt. Rachel Washburn as a Hometown Hero during an Eagles home game, which generated nationwide awareness for the accomplishments of women in the Armed Services. Rachel was an Eagles Cheerleader from 2007-2010 and now serves as a highly decorated Army Intelligence Officer, Platoon Leader, and one of the first female members of the Army’s Cultural Support Team, having served two tours in Afghanistan. Her intriguing story, brought to the forefront by honoring her as the Eagles Hometown Hero, sparked national appreciation for the bravery and sacrifices of women in combat.
In 2014, the Eagles Cheerleaders have been involved in volumes of programs and initiatives, a few which include: Volunteering during the USS Somerset commissioning in honor of the heroes of Flight 93 on 9-11; welcoming home World War II Veterans honored in Washington D.C. on the historic 70th Anniversary of D-Day; assisting in fundraising efforts for Wounded Warriors including the Walk for the Wounded and Wounded Warriors Amputee Football Team, visiting regional bases such as Joint Base McGuire-Lakehurst-Dix. After meeting Retired US Army Staff Sergeant Travis Mills in February, one of only five quadruple amputees to survive combat in the Middle East, the cheerleaders became even more involved with specific veterans fundraising and awareness including volunteering with the National Veterans Wheelchair games, VFW posts, and Veterans Medical Centers.
[Eagles Cheerleaders Salute Photo Gallery]