Ashley Baldwin is an Andover native with a lot to be proud of. She was recently selected to New England Patriots cheerleading squad for the second straight year, and she also works as a teaching assistant at Sanborn Elementary School. Patch had a chance to chat with Ashley after she was selected for the 2012 Patriots cheerleading squad.
Patch: This will be your second year as a New England Patriots cheerleader. Tell us a little bit about the audition process.
Ashley: I’m a veteran this year so going into the tryouts I had a year under my belt and I felt a lot more prepared. The audition process consists of preliminary auditions and then it gets narrowed down and then there are final auditions. If you make it passed final auditions there is a two week, what we like to call, boot camp. Then the team is chosen a few days before practices.
Patch: You have a lot of experience with gymnastics so tell us a little about how that experience helps you with cheerleading.
Ashley: Gymnastics has not only shaped me as a cheerleader but as an individual. I was a member of Northeast Gymnastics Center for 15 years and I had wonderful teammates that prepared me for being a member of another organization. Whether it be on the field or during our junior cheerleader clinics, it definitely helps. It’s a perk, it’s fun, and the class seems to like it.
Patch: What is your favorite part about being a cheerleader on game day?
Ashley: My favorite part about being a cheerleader in general would have to be just spending time with my teammates. They’re a group of not only talented, but intellectual and very hardworking women. Not only on game days, but everyday at practices and on our calendar trip it’s been really great to have such a wonderful bonding experience. And obviously cheering for the three-time Super Bowl champions isn’t too bad either! We have the best seat in the house, so you can’t really complain.
Patch: Do you have any concerns about the NFL lockout and do you think they will have it sorted out by the time the season starts?
Ashley: I support the decisions that the organization makes, and I’m really optimistic. I’m looking forward to a wonderful season. I’m not concerned, and I know that mentally we’ll be prepared and we’ll be cheering for the Patriots in September.
Patch: How do you think the Patriots will fare this season?
Ashley: I think that we’re going to be heading to Indiana this year for the fourth Super Bowl hopefully, and it will be a fantastic season as always.
Patch: Who is your favorite player on the Patriots?
Ashley: My favorite player would have to be probably Tom Brady.
Patch: Being from Andover, do you have any fond memories of Andover High School?
Ashley: I was really happy to be cheering for a very successful football and basketball organization that we have. My family is from Andover so I was really proud to wear blue and gold for four years of high school and cheering on the sidelines was really, really fun too.
Patch: Is there any single spot you like to hang out at in Andover?
Ashley: You’ll probably find me at the elementary school, because I teach here in Andover. So I like to either run cheering camps or cheer or teach. I went to the elementary school when I was younger and I think we have a great group of little kids running around and it’s fun to be a positive role model and influence in their lives. Spending time with the little kids in the community is probably my favorite thing to do.
Patch: What is your favorite aspect about being in the classroom with your students?
Ashley: Well I’m an assistant within the classroom and I love being able to just make an impact in a child’s life whether it be academically, setting a positive example, or helping sort out problems that they might have. I’m in a first grade classroom so they come in with really funny stories. I’m their biggest fan and they’re my biggest fan so it’s really nice to see them so supportive of what I do and vice versa.
Patch: You have tons of experience with community service. What was your most memorable or touching experience?
Ashley: I volunteered at the Professional Center for Child Development in Andover and I worked in their developmental day school with a little boy, and he has impacted my life in such a way that is indescribable. It just makes you appreciate everything you and being healthy and able to walk down the street by yourself. Working with kids that have disabilities is so humbling and I just enjoy every second that I have to be able to help them in any way shape or form. I would have to say that working in the day school at the Professional Center was probably one of the most humbling experiences that I’ve ever had.
Patch: What is your favorite thing to do when you are not teaching or cheerleading?
Ashley: I like to spend time with my family. I have a sister and a brother. My sister runs track at Umass Amherst so I like going and supporting her. My brother plays football and lacrosse in 8th grade in Andover so it’s really nice to be able to be involved in my family’s life. I have an English bulldog that I love to spend time with. Just spending time with family and friends any chance I get is always nice.
Ashley and her teammates will travel to Aruba on May 22 to shoot their 2012 team calendar. For everything you need to know about the Patriots cheerleaders, check out their official site.