DCC Alumni Spotlight – Tonia Jones
Tonia Jones is a native Texan. She is from Houston, Texas and attended the University of North Texas. When she was attending college, she was also a member of the school’s dance team. Her college director, Jennifer Jones, was a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader alumna and is someone who inspired her to try out for the team. Tonia’s Aunt was also a Derrick Doll Cheerleader (former Houston Oilers) and she watched her dance in the NFL. As a young girl, she watched the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders movie from the 70s and that was the moment she knew she wanted to be a DCC.
Tonia was a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader from 1995-1996. She was fortunate enough to cheer when the Cowboys went to the Super Bowl XXX in 1997 and won against the Pittsburgh Steelers! She also cheered with Shelly Bramhall, who currently works for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.
When Tonia and I were talking, I asked her what was the biggest thing she has learned from her time being a DCC. She responded with so many amazing answers! She told me she learned about perseverance, adjusting to situations, teamwork on and off the field, and encouraging others. She also expressed that being a DCC is more than just dancing and cheering. It’s about being a well-rounded and well-spoken individual and a leader. I also asked Tonia what appearance made the most impact on her when she was on the team. She told me after they won the Super Bowl, the Cheerleaders and football players went on a Children’s Hospital visit. Tonia and a football player walked into a young boy’s room and his face lit up. Just their presence in his room made his whole day. She said the best part, aside from seeing the joy on his face, was that this 10-year-old boy asked her for a kiss on the cheek!
One thing that Tonia and I bonded over was our My Cause My Boots. When Tonia was cheering, they didn’t have My Cause My Boots, so I asked her what she would have chosen if they did. She said she would have chosen Alzheimer’s Disease as her cause. Her grandma passed away from Alzheimer’s back in November 2019, and her great grandmas passed away from the disease back when she was in college. This is such a hard disease to watch, as a loved one deteriorates, and sad that it affects so many individuals. This was especially meaningful to me since I also have chosen Alzheimer’s Disease as my cause.
Lastly, we talked about the lasting friendships she made and advice she had to give current and future DCC’s. She said that this organization is special. She is still friends with the girls from her squad, and the bonds she made are so strong and unique. As for advice for me and those wanting to tryout, she said keep persevering. Be confident in yourself, do everything in your power to be the best you. Whether you make the team or not, what you have learned throughout the audition process and/or being on the team will help carry you throughout your life. Remember to always lead with truth, honesty and kindness.