Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Like Living a Dream; Roar Cheerleader Says It's No Song, Dance

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Like Living a Dream; Roar Cheerleader Says It's No Song, Dance

Article excerpt

Byline: Mary Maraghy, County Line staff writer

Melissa George entered her Fleming Island living room recently wearing her Roar of the Jacksonville Jaguars cheerleading uniform -- black spandex briefs, a midriff-baring top and knee-high go-go boots.

The 23-year-old joined her mother, Terry George who was leafing through her decades-old high school yearbook. They laughed at photos of Terry George as a cheerleader, wearing an oversized lettered sweater, a calf-length skirt and saddle shoes.

"Look at us holding those pennants. Isn't that a riot?" 60-year-old Terry George said. "In those days, cheerleading was doing a split or a cartwheel and saying 'Rah rah.' Today, you have to be a professional dancer, an acrobat and a public relations person."

Melissa George nodded in agreement but said her last four years as a member of the Roar has been like living a dream.

"It's made for a lot of good stories and memories," she said. "It's been awesome."

George said she has loved the opportunities to perform, meet people and travel. She has visited Bahrain, Egypt and Kuwait to perform for military troops. Plus she has been considered for national television shows, including a reality series planned for ESPN about NFL cheerleaders.

George, who graduated from Clay High School in 1998 and the University of North Florida in 2002, is one of four Clay County women who are Roar members this year, according to Robin Valetutto, the Roar's manager and head choreographer.

"All the girls that have come from that area are very talented, articulate, ambitious women," Valetutto said. "We're hiring ambassadors. They have to speak really well and have a great appearance."

In addition to dancing, the girls are called on to speak to many groups including corporate, youth or elderly.

In addition to George, Roar members from Clay County are Whitney New of Orange Park, Tiffany Bowen of Green Cove Springs and Samantha MacPherson, also of Green Cove, who was chosen as the Roar's Pro Bowl cheerleader last year, equivalent to winning the most valuable player award, Valetutto said.

Being a Roar cheerleader isn't easy. …

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