Councilwoman’s got spirit for Eagles, her hometown and more

Washington Township native Dana Pasqualone serves on council, volunteers with Habitat for Humanity, and was on the sidelines when the Philadelphia Eagles won their first Super Bowl

Dana Pasqualone and Philadelphia Eagles mascot Swoop, have fun on the sidelines during an Eagles game. (Special to The Sun)

While the title of “Most interesting man in the world” is held by actor Jonathan Goldsmith, who portrayed the man in Dos Equis commercials from 2006 to 2016, the title of “Most interesting woman in the world” is still up for grabs. Washington Township’s Dana Pasqualone should send her resumé and cover letter.

Pasqualone is a homegrown product of Washington Township. She graduated from Washington Township High School in 2007, where she was involved in student council. From there, she attended Rowan University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and graduated cum laude in 2011. During her tenure at Rowan, she was a junior and senior class senator. After graduation, Pasqualone began her career as a public accountant before becoming a global senior consulting analyst, which allowed her to travel to 10 countries for work.

When she’s not at work, Pasqualone sits on the board of directors for Habitat for Humanity of Gloucester County, serves as a mentor in accounting for students at Rowan University and has been a councilwoman in Washington Township for two and a half years.

Between all of these things she still finds time for one more activity – standing on the sidelines during Philadelphia Eagles games rooting on the home team as an Eagles cheerleader. The upcoming season will be her third as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles organization.

Pasqualone’s fandom began much like everyone else’s, by watching games with her father. The South Philadelphia native made sure midnight green ran in her blood. While having that base is important, it was a different avenue that led her to take the next step.

“I did a large amount of community service, college level to now. I’m very involved in the community, it’s important to me,” she said. “It puts the community in a better position. Whether it’s walks for cancer or festivals empowering women, I’ve always been very passionate about giving back to others and the community at large. Although I danced here and there, it’s the community service that drew me in.”

The audition process is a long one. According to Pasqualone, it begins in January and ends in April. On the first day, several cuts are made to bring the number of potential cheerleaders down to 200. Those contestants are then brought to semi-finals where they perform a dance, are judged on public speaking and have a sit-down interview. From there, the number of hopefuls is cut down to approximately 50, who are invited to a live audition open to the public. From there, 36 individuals will earn the title of Philadelphia Eagles cheerleader.

Pasqualone is not a perfect three-for-three on auditions. Actually, she said she failed a few times before finally being honored as an Eagles cheerleader. Her first season after overcoming the adversity of rejection year after year was the Eagles’ Super Bowl-winning season. Like every other Eagles fan, it was an experience unlike any other to see the Eagles win their first Super Bowl.

“I felt like all the adversity with the injuries they had through the season, to get to the Super Bowl, they could have called it quits but they kept going,” she recalled. “It was emotional for me because it reminded me of my journey to become part of the Eagles organization. The trials and tribulations, the journey I had to get to it. They kept pushing forward to ultimately achieve their goal.”

The average fan sees cheerleaders at some public events and appearances as well as on the sideline of every game. There’s a lot more that goes on behind the scenes. The cheerleaders practice twice a week for four to five hours and have to be at the stadium six to eight hours before kickoff.

“It’s doable, it takes a lot to balance that,” Pasqualone added.

Despite seeing her hometown team achieve the ultimate goal in February of 2018, Pasqualone hasn’t changed her mindset at all. She’s not in it for the glory or to have her name etched in history books as a member of the first-ever Super Bowl champion  Philadelphia Eagles team – she’d rather be known for making a difference, be it through charities and fundraisers or in the community.

For example, last month the Eagles hosted their second annual Eagles Autism Challenge where 100 percent of funds go toward autism research. The cheerleaders had their own team that raised approximately $28,000 for the cause. This event is Pasqualone’s favorite. She served as the team captain and noted that in addition to 100 percent participation from the team, they surpassed their goal of raising $25,000.

On the other hand, Pasqualone makes her presence felt as on the political spectrum. It is her understanding that she is the only cheerleader in the NFL who is involved in politics.

“I always say, ‘If you’re frustrated or annoyed with things the only way to fix it is make a change.’ Part of making that change is getting involved,” she said.

Pasqualone was 27 years old when she was elected to Washington Township Council. While younger than other candidates, she believes her background in managing finances and budgeting gave her a leg up in the election.

“I proved that I’m involved in the community prior to running in the election. I was genuine, I was doing it for the right reason,” she added.

With roughly a year and a half left on her term as a councilwoman, a future in politics is uncertain. Pasqualone said she hasn’t ruled out running for a second term on council or possibly running for Senate or Assembly, depending on what opportunities are available at the time.

While a career in politics is far from the norm for cheerleaders, Pasqualone said the others on her team have great careers and are equally ambitious.

“If they’re not in their career they’re going to school full-time. They’re the complete package.” she said. “It’s important for the public to know we’re well-rounded. We have to work hard outside our practices and games. We have lives outside of that.”

At the end of the day, it all loops back to making a positive impact. In Pasqualone’s eyes, that is the most important thing that is shown through her involvement with Habitat for Humanity, her role as a councilwoman and her involvement with Rowan University as a mentor. She uses her platforms to her advantage to change lives for the better. Whether that is something as small as making an Eagles fan’s day by showing up to an event with a smile on her face, something larger like generating more than $28,000 for autism research or being part of an administration that hasn’t raised taxes in three years.

“I’m grateful for everything I have in my life and the opportunity to do so,” Pasqualone said of her drive to be the best she can be. “I just feel like as a human being it’s our duty to help other people, help the community and always try to help others in need. It’s been my passion to help others.”