Alumni Cheerleaders, is excited to catch up with member, Angelica Smith (former St. Louis Rams Cheerleader).   Please read about her interesting background and what this talented young lady is doing now.  Check out her AWESOME dance shots too!

"Being born to "hippie" parents, my early years were quite unique.  I lived in 42 different cities by the age of 8, slept on a mat on the floor until the age of 10, and didn't go to school until the age of 14.  But those experiences helped to mold me into the individual I am today, and into someone who believes that anything is possible, especially if you believe in yourself and are willing to work hard for it.  When I say I didn't go to school, I wasn't home schooled; I literally did not go to school.  At age 11, I could barely read, so at 14 when I choose to attend high school it was overwhelming to say the least.  But it was also exciting!  For the first time, I realized the wide range of opportunities that were available (to anyone, from any walk of life) and my natural instinct was to explore all of them!  Of course, I had challanges ahead of me, but with the help of caring teachers, a supportive family, and wonderful friends I was able to overcome them.  I went from trying to figure out the fundamentals of a traditional school environment to the dean's list within one year.  After tackling freshman year, I decided I was up for another challenge, trying out for the high school cheerleading squad.  I remember giving my self a pep talk just before tryouts, I told myself to do my best and enjoy the experience, no matter what the outcome.  Afterall, I was the new girl (with purple hair and thrift store clothes), so I didn't really expect to make the sqaud.  To my surprise, I did!  I cheered for three years in high school, serving as captain my senior year.  Cheering those three years taught me so many things, including what it means to be dedicated, the importance of living a healthy lifestyle, and the power of teamwork.  Lessons that aid me to this day.  

My hard work in high school paid off with a full ride to Webster University, from which I graduated magna cum laude with honors degrees in theorectical mathematics and secondary education.  I also transitioned from cheerleader to dancer while in college, auditioning for a local contemporary ballet company my sophomore year.  I performed as a principal dancer in the company for six years, performing soloist roles in the Nutcracker and annual concerts, as well as assisting with choreography for the company and junior companies.  After six years, I decided I wanted to explore dance in a new way--a way that would allow me to give back to the community.  This lead me to audition for the St. Louis Rams Cheerleaders.  I prepared by giving myself the same speech I had given myself in high school--do the best you can and enjoy the experience.  The speech paid off, because I made the squad after my first audition.  I cheered for the St. Louis Rams from 2006-2010, and I am continually thankful for the opportunities and memories.  During the four years I cheered for the Rams I worked with over 40 different charitable organizations, traveled to South Korea and the Middle East to support our troops, and made friendships that I will always treasure.  In 2010, I hung up my cheerleading poms with the hope of broadening my dance experience even further.  I auditioned and was accepted by Ashleyliane Dance Company for their 2010-2011 season.  I chose Ashleyliane Dance Company because, much like cheering for the NFL, there was a spirit of community involvment.  Their mission and purpose is to bring the community together through dance, which I find beautiful and inspiriting. 

In addition to cheering and dancing, I'm also passionate about my career as an insurance professional.  I've worked in the insurance industry since graduating college ten years ago, and love the work that I do.  I've held positions as a personal and commercial lines adjuster, a claims team manager, and currently work as a Training Specialist in the sales department for AAA.  Another huge part of my life revolves around teaching.  I'm in my eigth year as a dance instructor at St. Louis Ballet School, where I work with dancers of all ages and levels.  It brings me great joy to not only share the beauty of dance with my students, but also help them discover their inner confidence through the art of dance.

From my humble beginnings to where I am now, I have a lot to be thankful for.  I have a loving family, incredible friends, and the world's most amazing boyfriend.  Life is good...and I look forward to all that lies ahead!" 

Cheers,

Angelica

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