Current Patriots cheerleaders check out the Cheers Through the Years exhibit.
Foxborough, Mass. -- More than 60 Patriots cheerleader alumni, 16 current Patriots cheerleaders, and 10 youth cheerleaders from the South Attleboro White Hawks were on hand for the unveiling of Cheers Through the Years, the new Patriots Cheerleader exhibit, at The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon on July 8.
The special unveiling event included speeches by the Executive Director of the Hall at Patriot Place Bryan Morry, Cheerleader Director Tracy Sormanti, and Curator of the Hall at Patriot Place Brent Hensel in addition to a viewing of the Hall's signature film Patriots Way.
Following the speaking program, attendees toured the new exhibit, which tells the story of what it takes to be a Patriots Cheerleader, looks back on the history of the squad and examines some of the cheerleaders' unique contributions to the community.
"I think this was a great night not only to lend some additional enthusiasm to the exhibit and to the Hall itself, but a great way to bring faces of the Patriots cheerleading squad old and new back together and to bring some extra spirit to the organization," Sormanti said.
Alumni cheerleaders ranged from those who had just left the squad after last season to those who had been on the squad in the 1970s.
"It brings back so many memories," said Bonnie Gardner Drumm, a Patriots cheerleader from 1980 to 1985. "It's just so nice that they've recognized cheerleading as a sport and all the things that come with cheerleading-all the public relations, all the teamwork, all the physical exercise that goes with it. I feel great for all the years of cheerleaders that are here."
The exhibit features life-size cheerleader images, team and individual photos, video from auditions and swimsuit calendar shoots, uniforms from different eras and other artifacts.
"My favorite part of the exhibit is looking at the uniforms through the years and how much they've changed, how small they've gotten," said Sandra Smyly, a cheerleader from 2007 to 2009. "It's just cool to see the different ways that everyone sparkled on the sidelines."
In addition to seeing uniforms dating back to the beginning of Patriots cheerleading, those in attendance were introduced to the new Patriots cheerleading uniforms. The new uniforms featured Patriots colors, 630 brilliant crystals, the Patriots logo, and a star similar to the one seen in the Patriots logo.
For those new to the squad, the event was a unique opportunity to see what it means to be a Patriots cheerleader.
"It's really amazing to know that you are a part of something so big and to meet so many people who were once in my shoes is really such an honor," said Stephanie Petronelli, a first year cheerleader. "They all have such great memories about something I'm experiencing now."
Morry credited Hensel and Chris Meiman, the operations manager for The Hall, with putting together the exhibit and creating a great environment for the event.
"I think anytime we can bring back and unite people who were part of the organization in this venue, it's a great thing," Morry said. "To have all these cheerleaders back and to have all this excitement in the room is always a positive."
The exhibit will run through the end of September. Visit www.thehallatpatriotplace.com or call 508-698-4800 for tickets.