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Connecting with fans on and off the field

KelseyRae and a fan on gameday

KelseyRae Semon knew she wanted to be a cheerleader since she saw her older sister cheer at Frankford Boys Club for their football team. So Semon started when she was just 5 years old.

Now the Little Flower graduate and Bridesburg resident has made it to the pros — as an Eagles cheerleader.

When she was 11, she started cheering competitively — both locally and nationally over the years. As a result, Semon has won her share of competitions.

Semon described herself as a mix of a “girly girl” and a tomboy. She played sports like basketball and field hockey but also was into cheering and gymnastics.

At 17, she had aged out of competitive cheerleading but wasn’t ready to give it up. “I decided to go out and try out,” Semon said. “And it was a dream come true.”

The year after the Eagles won the Super Bowl, she decided to try out for the team. “It was intimidating,” Semon said. “But I find myself very determined to do things, and I know that if I work at something, I will achieve it.”

During the Aug. 12 preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lincoln Financial Field (Photo by Brian Garfinkel / Philadlephia Eagles)

Around 300 girls who wanted to be Eagles cheerleaders showed up for the open call that got Semon on the team. She learned the dance and performed it, and did some modeling for the audition.

She got the list of names who made it to the semifinals, and she was elated to learn she was on it. So she went back for the second round, learned a new dance, and gave some basic information about herself.

The next round contained an interview portion in which they asked about what kind of career she wanted to pursue and her background in dance.

“Once the final night came, and after doing all of those rounds — there was the dance and the modeling, and then the interview part, and just after that, the suspense was killing me,” Semon said. “After they said I made it, I can’t even explain it was so amazing.”

Semon has been an Eagles cheerleader for four years now and loves being a part of the energy that Eagles fans bring to each game, whether on the field or at the tailgates in the parking lot; connecting with the fans is her favorite part.

Each year, the Eagles participate in a 5k walk/bike/run to benefit autism awareness, where they split into teams and raise money year-round — something Semon takes seriously and loves taking part in.

“We come together on that day as a community, and we just tried to raise awareness for such an amazing cause,” Semon said.

KelseyRae upon graduating from Neumann University

She has also been a part of Eagles’ playground builds, where they paint murals on the walls and build playgrounds at local elementary schools.

After joining the Eagles cheerleading team, Semon studied criminal justice, psychology and American Sign Language at Neumann University and received her bachelor’s degree. She got to sing the national anthem at her graduation, a moment she described as an awesome experience.

Her goal is to become certified as an ASL interpreter and help out at places like hospitals that require those services. She recently had an experience, while volunteering, where she met a man who was both blind and hard of hearing; she could communicate with him by performing ASL in the palm of his hand.

Semon also got to use her skills in ASL when she met a hard-of-hearing man in the tailgate of an Eagles game.

“To see his reaction that I could communicate with him was so touching,” Semon said.

“To make him feel included with everybody and all of our fans that I could relate to him was, honestly, the most amazing experience ever,” she said.

Story written by Megan Milligan

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