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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

NE student cheers Cowboys when not in classroom

NE+student+cheers+Cowboys+when+not+in+classroom
NE student Amelia Bren Smith is a member of the Dallas Cowboy cheerleading squad and plans to pursue a degree in communications from the University of Texas at Arlington in the fall. Photos by Georgia Phillips/The Collegian
NE student Amelia Bren Smith is a member of the Dallas Cowboy cheerleading squad and plans to pursue a degree in communications from the University of Texas at Arlington in the fall. Photos by Georgia Phillips/The Collegian

By Elaine Bonilla/se news editor

Amelia Bren Smith is a typical college student who attends NE Campus when she’s not busy being a sweetheart, or rather one of America’s Sweethearts.

America’s Sweethearts is what the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders are called, and Smith has been one of 39 cheerleaders on the squad for the 2012 season.

The Louisiana native moved in 2009 to East Texas, where she attended Kilgore College. Smith auditioned for the famous Rangerette dance team at the college and became part of the 70th line.

After her two years at Kilgore, she moved to Dallas to audition for the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders along with 500-600 other women.

“I gave everything I had and moved to Dallas unknowing the outcome and auditioned,” Smith said. “I am completing my second year as a DCC as of now, and I will be auditioning in May for the opportunity to cheer a third season as one of America’s Sweethearts.”

Smith’s mom, Debbie Smith, said her daughter has been dancing since she was 5 years old, and she first started talking about trying out for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders when she was in the eighth grade.

“She has always loved the DCC,” Amelia Smith’s aunt Sheri Kyle said. “She wanted to go and spread her wings in Dallas.”

The tryouts consisted of three rounds. The first was a freestyle round where the girls showed off their moves. The second round involved learning a jazz and kick routine, and the third round was a solo dance routine, panel interview and a jazz and kick routine.

“If you make it through all of this, you are invited into training camp, which lasts all summer with the possibility of being cut any night of the week,” Smith said. “It’s basically a time to learn the ins and outs of being a cheerleader and to become familiar with the 50-plus dance routines we learn for the year as well as the rules involved with the organization.”

Alexandra Gandara, a rookie alongside Smith, said the process was intimidating and takes a special young woman to show up at auditions.

“It’s scary to put yourself out there,” she said. “Showing up is half the battle.”

Game day is a long process that starts out arriving at Valley Ranch practice facility about four or five hours before kickoff.

“We travel as a team to Cowboys Stadium where we rehearse as if we were performing at the actual game. This means we go through each of our quarter dances,” she said. “We run pregame show, and we practice our entrances and exits.”

The practice takes almost two hours before they head back to the locker room and start getting ready, which takes about another two hours because of taking pictures and having fun, Smith said.

Football is just a small part of being America’s Sweethearts.

The majority of the time is spent making charity appearances. The appearances are on a volunteer basis, so it’s usually a small group at a time.

“We have worked with Make a Wish Foundation, Salvation Army, veterans hospitals of Dallas and Fort Worth,” she said. “We make appearances at local hospitals in the DFW as well as assisted-living facilities and elementary, middle and high schools.”

Smith said it can be difficult balancing school and the cheerleading squad, but cheerleaders are required to either attend school or have a career.

“I would consider myself a very focused person,” Smith said. “I take it one day at a time and do my best to accomplish each of my goals in my schooling and my cheerleading career.”

Smith said the charity events are the most rewarding part of being a cheerleader.

“Giving back to our community is the least we can do,” she said.

Gandara said Smith is kind and caring. She was the rookie who always volunteered most for community service.

Debbie Smith said her daughter likes her charity events.

“Being on the field is flamboyant and flashy, but the other moments are really what count,” Debbie Smith said.

Traveling around the country is also something the squad gets to do.

The cheerleaders recently came back from a swimsuit calendar photo shoot in Mexico.

“It’s definitely lots of fun to be there working and having fun with 38 of my best friends,” she said.

Smith has had the chance to march in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Kyle said.

Smith said being on the squad has helped her grow tremendously as a dancer and an individual.

“I have learned discipline, time management, life skills, and I have become more comfortable within myself and gained confidence in areas that I lacked it in,” She said. “I am very grateful for my experiences as a cheerleader because it’s shaped me into the person I am today.”

Smith plans to pursue a communications degree at the University of Texas at Arlington in the fall.

“She’s just your average, sweet, down-to-earth girl,” Kyle said.

“She’s still our Amelia even after she puts on her uniform.”

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