|The Acension Eagles|
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What's on this page?About the Ascension Eagles who are supported by the Trust
The Trust has been very pleased to offer financial support to this local organisation for girls. The Cheerleaders began in November 1996 as an outreach of Ascension Church Centre, Custom House, Newham. Rev. Jonathan Brice and his wife Shara, initially started the program as a way to keep youth off the streets and engaged in an activity which promotes fitness and social interaction.
Over the past decade, the Cheerleaders have been recognized as one of the UK's most successful youth programs, as well as Britain's best all-round cheer program. They aim to transform and inspire young people to reach their full potential, while providing the highest level of training, coaching and community development work. They seek to make a difference in the lives of young people so they can make a difference to others in their community and in the world.
Ascension Eagles Olympic Legacy
Newham’s Ascension Eagles Cheerleaders (AEC) were chosen to provide performers for the London 2012 Games, not just because of their unprecedented British Championship titles, but also because of their ability to deliver as a valued community partner.
Since 1996, Ascension Eagles have consistently shown they are among Britain’s best when it comes to raising aspirations, encouraging community participation and leaving a lasting legacy. Their Olympic involvement actually began seven years ago, when AEC served as a strategic partner in securing London’s 2012 bid. In addition to winning the “People’s Choice Award” in their 2005 London New Year’s Day “Back the Bid” campaign, AEC also featured as young community ambassadors on the IOC tour in February 2005. While a large group of Ascension Eagles entertained IOC delegates at ExCeL London, another group of AEC performed at the Olympic Park in Atlanta, home of the 1996 Games. In the lead up to the Bejing Olympics, Ascension Eagles were selected to appear at the culmination of the Olympic torch relay at the O2. When the Olympic Stadium opened in the Spring of 2012, Ascension Eagles were among the first to perform there. Ascension Eagles founder Shara Brice MBE, and AEC founding member Mel Brown were both selected as Olympic Torch Future Flames. Being selected to provide performers for the 2012 Basketball and Volleyball events was a natural progression in AEC’s Olympic involvement.
AEC Director Angela Green said, “Legacies aren’t just wishful thinking. They are the result of determined doing. Ascension Eagles are so much more than a cheerleading team; our program provides catalyst opportunities to help people achieve their full potential. We opened London’s first cheer gym in 2010 so that we could extend our outreach, and enable even more to succeed. Operating our Talent Central cheer gym from Gallions Reach Shopping Park means that our weekly outreach grew from 100 to 1000 per week. When we were selected to coordinate the 2012 performances, we invited cheerleaders from other programs to audition for this once in a lifetime opportunity. In April we submitted accreditation information for more than 200 amazing cheerleaders to LOCOG. In late June, LOCOG decided that the daily Olympic performance shifts would increase from six hours to 12-hour rotations, which meant that our minors could not participate. We were gutted for them, as they had worked so hard to prepare. We were grateful to Sir Robin Wales for providing tickets to the dress rehearsal of the Opening Ceremony for the young ones who had trained hard, but who were unable to take part.”
Now that the Olympics are over, Ascension Eagles are committed to extending opportunities to people of all ages, from their Talent Central headquarters. “Of all the cheer gyms in the world,” Director Angela said, “we know we have the best location at Gallions Reach Shopping Park. There is plenty of free parking and 24-hour security. Parents can shop while their kids train in our 6000 square feet facility, which has an Air Tumble Track, a full competition spring floor, mirrored walls, and extra matted areas to stunt, tumble and dance. We are proud to be a center of excellence, and we look forward to engaging a new generation of people who want to shape the legacy with us, particularly in the run-up to our film, which is due for release in 2014.”
The film is another example of the AEC legacy: Ascension Eagles inspirational story is being made into a feel-good family film for worldwide release by Big Talk Productions, the creators of Attack the Block, Paul, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and Hot Fuzz.
“We have achieved so much over the past 16 years,” said Angela, who has lived in Newham her whole life. “But each year, we have the opportunity to start again, giving more young people a chance to join the Ascension Eagles family. Without a doubt, we know the best is yet to come.”
For more information about joining Ascension Eagles, or attending classes at Talent Central, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Boys and girls are welcome. No previous experience is necessary.
Ascension Eagles win European Gold
After winning overall Grand Champions at the ICC British Open and the FutureCheer National Championships earlier in the year, the Ascension Eagles were ready to test their skills in a wider arena. With 17 nations competing, the ICU (International Cheer Union) Open provided an ideal opportunity for the Eagles to conquer new territory.
AEC Coach Angela Brown said, “ I knew from the moment they lifted their chins and walked forward as one powerful force that they were ready to take their place in the European history books. They delivered an amazing performance full of the excitement and energy – which is their signature style. They showed great class throughout the whole competition, during others' performances and to the other teams at awards. I am so proud to be associated with such awesome people. What will stick with me is not the actual performance - although it was perfect - it's their individual faces, as they let those watching catch a glimpse of the fun and passion they share as a team!”
Team member Tovonya Raybe said, “After our performance we were surrounded by cheerleaders from 17 different countries, complimenting us and wanting photos. We were overwhelmed by the crowd's response to our performance, but were delighted that our best had been so well received. Our division was not announced til the end. We clapped and cheered for teams as they had their winning moment. Then they announced the 'Elite Level 5 European Champs . . . Ascension Eagles Senior Coed 5!' We were elated! When we discovered that not only had we won our division, but top overall Senior Champions, we were so pleased. We want to always keep pushing ourselves to be the best we can be. If there is another level to achieve, we want to be there and do it. Eagles are made to keep rising higher and higher.”
Ascension Eagles Senior Coed 5 will represent Great Britain at the Cheerleading World Championships in Orlando, Florida, in April 2010. In addition to being ranked in the world's top one percent, AEC athletes have also gained their IASF coaching qualifications and work with over 2600 aspiring cheerleaders annually through their London Cheerleading Academy outreach. For more information, visit www.ascensioneagles.com
Ascension Eagles complete another successful season
Ascension Eagles rounded off their 2008-09 season by competing at FutureCheer's largest ever National Championship at the Brighton Centre on July 4th-5th 2009. The Ascension Eagles Mascot and Junior Coed teams both retained their National titles and the two youngest teams – Youth Coed and Cheer Extreme – were both placed second in their divisions. And the Senior All Girls team also won second place
Ascension Eagles Senior Coed retained their National title, and were also named overall British Grand Champions, with the highest overall score at the event. Reigning champions since 1998, AEC Senior Coed hold the world record for the team with the longest consecutive retention of a national title.
In addition to winning Grand Champs, AEC Senior Coed also won the prestigious bid to the 2010 Cheerleading World Championships. Team member Patrick Asante, 21, said, “Every single one of the teams have stepped up their game and FutureCheer has become a real competition where everyone strives to beat their previous personal best. We are all competing to level standards within our immediate division, as well as with all those out of our divisions for overall Champs. All of our strongest competitors delivered excellent performances. The standard of British cheerleading just keeps improving -- winning Grand Champs has never been so sweet!”
Ascension Eagles Senior Coed team will travel to Paris in September to compete at the ICU Pre-Olympic event. Cheerleading will be introduced as an Olympic sport in 2016. AEC Senior Coed also hopes to accept the bid to represent England at the Cheerleading World Championships in Orlando in April 2010.
Eagles win ICC British Open Grand Champions
At the ICC British Open at Nottingham Arena on 21/22 March the Eagles Senior Coed team won not only their division but they emerged as the overall British Open Grand Champions. This victory was particularly sought after, as AEC are not able to afford to travel and compete at Worlds this year, and the teams that are replacing them were also competing at the British Open. The team was made up of seventeen boys and thirteen girl and this marked the first time in an Eagles the number of males exceeded the number of females.
AEC Director Shara Brice said, “As I watched Ascension compete, I was moved to tears as they delivered a flawless routine, that was by far the best this country has produced. Knowing how hard they have worked, and all they have overcome, I felt frustrated that it was money – not talent – that keeps them from competing at the World Championships. They are truly Britain's best, and they deserve to be on that World stage. However, speaking afterwards with their wisdom and maturity, these teenagers reminded me that while they are sacrificing now, and are investing in other things, they know they are doing the right thing. We have talked a lot about avoiding debt, and the instability of the economy, and they have weighed the costs of going to Worlds, against the backdrop of where we live and how much that type of investment could mean to people other than themselves. They are absolutely right, and I am so proud of them, but that does not mean it is easy to turn down a Worlds bid. I was humbled and reminded that these young people are true Champions.”
Opportunity for local young people to perform in Olympic venue
Cheer and dance teams are invited to Showcase their skills and win awards at ExCeL London on Saturday, 14th March, Noon-5pm.
Ascension Eagles' London Cheerleading Academy (LCA) in partnership with Newham’s Sports Development team, are hosting this ExCeL Cheer and Dance Showcase opportunity for the Docklands cheer community, so that hundreds of young cheerleaders can train and perform in a professional Olympic venue.
In preparation for this cheer-fest, sessions are being held weekly in more than 20 Newham venues, including many primary and secondary schools. In most of the squads, participants can attend weekly sessions for free, and after eight weeks make their performance debut at the ExCeL Showcase.
Ascension Eagles founder Shara Brice said, “Cheerleading is one of the fastest growing sports in the UK. Emerging cheer teams need a goal to work towards, and this Showcase gives them an incredible and affordable opportunity, right on their doorstep. The response has been so great, that 40 teams have already signed up, and we expect these numbers to keep increasing!”
For the Showcase, each squad needs to prepare a performance piece, approximately 90 seconds long, incorporating tumbling, jumps, stunts, dance and cheer. Music should be on CD. Squads will be evaluated on their performance skills, and awarded Bronze, Silver or Gold distinction. The top scoring team in each division will win a trophy. Each squad must be accompanied by a teacher, coach, or designated adult. Pre-booking is essential (email@example.com)
Ascension Eagles celebrate election at US Embassy in London
The Eagles were honoured to be invited to the US Embassy London for the 4th November Election night celebrations.
Selected for their achievements as Britain's Best Cheerleaders, and best Coed team outside of North America, the Eagles performed on the Embassy steps and greeted the 3000 guests as they arrived.
Inside the Embassy, screens projected the results as they came in, and every major media channel was closely watched. Burger King and Subway catered for the guests, while bands played in the downstairs rooms.
The photographs and interviews with the Eagles were broadcast around the globe by BBC, CNN, CBS and Fox. The Eagles were delighted to receive reports from friends and family across the world that their photos and interviews were being aired for over 24 hours, as part of the worldwide response to the news that Obama had won the election.
"It is an exciting time in world history, and it is a privilege to be part of it," said 17 year old Ascension Eagle Lorraine Ofori.
Andrew Lloyd Webber stopped to watch the Eagles performance, and stayed to chat with them afterwards.
The Eagles at the Lord Mayor's Show
The Eagles Cheerleaders made their sixth appearance at the Lord Mayor's Show on Saturday, 8th November.
The Royals Business Park sponsored the entry which included the British Champion Ascension Eagles and Richard House, London's first children's hospice providing free speciality care to life-limited children.
AEC member Tilly Davis, aged 12, said, “We are proud to be in the Lord Mayor's Show with Richard House; they are our next door neighbour, just down the road from Ascension Church. Lots of people I know, including my Mum, volunteer to support the important work of Richard House.”
Of the 100 Ascension Eagles who performed, half of them were making their first appearance in the Lord Mayor's Show. Somya Raina, aged 10, said, “I joined the Eagles in September, so this was my first show. Even though it rained and we got really wet, it was fun to perform with the AEC family and to make so many people smile. I didn't want it to end!”
Pageantmaster Dominic Reid OBE said, “There's nothing on earth quite like the Lord Mayor's Show; it's a tradition that goes back centuries. This year, more than 6,000 participants passed along the three-mile route.”
The Lord Mayor's Show dates back to 1215, and is the longest running pageant in the world. In 1937, the Lord Mayor's Show became the world's first ever outdoor event to be broadcast on TV, and the BBC has continued to cover it ever since.
AEC member Tovonya Raybe was interviewed by the BBC along the route this year. Tovonya said, “We are so grateful that Development Securities opens new doors of opportunity to our young people, and helps us to achieve things that others only dream about. Being part of the Lord Mayor's Show is something we will always remember; doing it with our AEC family, entertaining thousands and having fun performing in the rain just made the day even more memorable.”
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