Editor’s Note: This story was written by Jefferson Township High School student Christiana Breslin and provided for publishing on The Jefferson Chronicle with permission by Maria Clarizio, instructor of the sports and entertainment journalism course at JTHS.
Sitting in Ms. Kayla Alkon’s guidance office, I asked her a few questions about her professional cheerleading experience. She was full of light and smiles while reminiscing about her cheerleading days with the New York Jets. We talked about her experience with the Flight Crew and her transition from cheerleader to guidance counselor at Jefferson Township High School.
“Hard work is what it takes to be a pro cheerleader, but eventually you have to retire the pom poms, and hit the books.” Ms. Alkon, former Jets cheerleader, now a guidance counselor, knows first hand what it takes to study and shake her pom poms. “Multi tasking, organization, and having a planner,” Alkon explains as the key to her success.
“A big part of me was missing, and that is when I began to start auditioning.” Ms. Alkon auditioned for the Jets cheerleading team while she was in college; her many years of dance training prepared her for the Jets cheerleading team.
The auditions were crazy. Many girls come from all over to fulfill their dreams. “Three hundred other people, with ten spots available, no pressure though,” Alkon says with a hint of sarcasm.
The tryouts were full of action and long. “Four rounds of tryouts. Round one and two were dancing, round three was an interview about the Jets and the NFL, and round four was a performance. It was a two week long process,” Alkon explained. Jets tryouts were not all dancing and flipping, one had to know the game of football, and the history of the team. Ms. Alkon studied as much as she could to learn about the Jets history and football for her interview.
Multitasking is a big part of transitioning from pro cheerleading to a career. Going to classes in the morning, catching the train in the afternoon, and studying on the way to a three hour practice is how Ms. Alkon’s days went.
In order to transition, Ms. Alkon had to stop cheerleading. But she will always look back on her experience and the life lessons she learned along with the way it has impacted her life. “A once in a lifetime experience and only my teammates can understand how uniquely amazing it was” is how Ms. Alkon describes her pro cheerleading career. “It really has made me the person I am today.”