South Jersey legislator Dana Pasqualone in Eagles cheerleading squad

South Jersey legislator Dana Pasqualone in Eagles cheerleading squad

Washington Township Councilman Dana Pasqualone juggles three.

On Thursday night, he successfully competed with 59 others in the final round to retain his most magical position: cheering for the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.

This is the counselor’s second consecutive year on the roster.

“It felt even more exciting than doing it the first time. Being an Eagles cheerleader has been a great experience, but there was more pressure this time. Making the team again validates your work,” said Pasqualone, 28, who is also an employee of a software company along with serving as a Republican councilman in Washington Township.

Pasqualone was one of 22 returning cheerleaders on the 36-woman roster. A dozen of the cheerleaders live in New Jersey, including six new members. The full 2018-19 lineup was announced at the final night of auditions Thursday at the Perelman Theater inside the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia.

“I want to be a role model for young women and show the whole world that you don’t have to be defined by one job. Women are multifaceted and can balance various jobs. We are strong and powerful and we can do it all!,” exclaims Pasqualone, senior consulting operations analyst with Qlik, a global data software company based in Radnor, Pa.

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The six new cheerleaders from New Jersey are: Brielle Gatto from Sicklerville, Natasha Filipov from Turnersville, Victoria LaRocca from Williamstown, Alexandria McIntyre from Pitman, Hayley Simpson from Manalapan, and Melanie Spilatore from Kendall Park.

Other members of the Garden State Eagles cheerleaders are: Maurisa DeLuca, of Sicklerville; Allison Dickinson, of Hainesport; Crystalle Johnson, of Willingboro; Anna-Marie Matthews, of Grenloch; and Shardae Swoop, of Willingboro.

Being a fan is not just about glitz, athletics, dancing, beauty and performing in front of 70,000 fans at Eagles games. The team is involved in charity work and other community activities.

“Performing is only one element of this situation. Eagles cheerleader roles and responsibilities focus on fan engagement, community service and making a positive impact on today’s youth,” said Barbara Zaun, the Eagles’ director of cheer.

“The Eagles cheerleaders are ambassadors for the Eagles movement and together they take part in over 350 community events each year.”

They also take part in goodwill military trips abroad and each member of the squad instructs camps and cheerleading clinics for young people.

Zaun said Pasqualone is among several cheerleaders who also work in professional roles, including a civil litigation attorney, a pediatric intensive care nurse at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and a special education teacher. Two are Mummers, some are bilingual and one is proficient in sign language.

For the first time, auditions attracted contestants from overseas and outside the tri-state area who tried to be a part of the Super Bowl champion team.

“There shouldn’t be a stereotype of cheerleaders because we are all skilled women who have to be athletic and have the ability to dance but also be able to speak in public. We have to have the full package,” adds Pasqualone, who runs races to keep fit.

She and other cheerleaders have raised money with the team for autism research and awareness, and assisted with a drinking water project in the Dominican Republic. They will all take part in the Eagles’ Autism Challenge on May 19.

The councilwoman tried several times to make the team before 2017 and never gave up.

“My struggle to get on the team was somewhat similar to the players’ struggle to reach the Super Bowl, which was an unreal experience for me and something that makes me part of history with the Eagles.”

A 2007 graduate of Washington Township High School, Pasqualone holds an accounting degree from Rowan University which she believes is an asset in analyzing finances and finding ways to reduce costs in her role as a consultant.

Elected to a four-year term in 2016, she said her service has allowed her to become more involved in the community and help residents.

“I want to be a voice for the people and I see how my votes on the council affect our town.”

Carol Comegno: @carolcomegno; 856-486-2473; ccomegno@gannettnj.com

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