Step Ahead Alumni

Alyssa Simma has participated in dance, gymnastics, and musical theatre since the age of 5.  Growing up she competed in styles of classically trained dance, as well as Pom Style, and Cheer/Dance Team Style Dance through the Jacksonville All-Stars; which helped her to realize her love of the combination in the two styles.  

Upon entering middle, and throughout high school, she furthered her cheer and dance interests by participating in Cheerleading at the Varsity level, acting and assisting dance choreography in her High School’s Musicals, and also played JV and Varsity Volleyball. 

Graduating from Jacksonville High School in 2013, she continued on to attend the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.  Throughout her Freshman to Junior year at UNCC, Alyssa was a member of the UNC Charlotte 49er’s Gold Dusters Dance team; and has now, in her final year, gone on to achieve her dream of being an NFL Cheerleader for the Carolina Panthers! 

Entering into her Senior year at UNC Charlotte, Alyssa is also entering into her first Rookie season as an NFL Cheerleader! Looking forward to an eventful year, she is planning to graduate in May of 2017, with a B.A. in Middle Grades Education.  With the hopes to continue being apart of the Carolina Panthers Organization for as long as possible, she aspires to continue her NFL Cheerleading career upon graduation, begin her career as a teacher, and even hopes to one day become a cheer and dance coach herself! 


Alyssa Simma

Alyssa Simma



Edwin Maldonado













      I am from Jacksonville North Carolina, I attended Lejeune High School, and I Cheered on Jacksonville All-Stars for two years on the Senior Coed squad. Being a member of the Jacksonville All-Star squad provided discipline and camaraderie.  Being a part of Step Ahead Gymnastics was more like a family that continues to this day.  The friends and life long skills I learned continue to help me today.  As a rising Junior at North Carolina State University I have accomplished a lot even though this is only my second year cheering. This year I am a member NC State cheer executive committee.  In 2016 I was member of the Division 1A Small Coed Championship squad and selected as a 2016 all American, scholar athlete both semesters at state.  With hard work and dedication I have made deans list every semester for the past two years.


Katie Parks, a Jacksonville, NC native, began her gymnastics training with Christy Stevens Smith at just 3 years old. At 6 years old, Katie doubled down and began taking dance classes in combination with her gymnastics classes. After a few years, Katie left gymnastics to pursue dance full-time at 10 years old. In the fall of 2008, Katie took her dance training to a new level when she began taking classes at Step Ahead Gymnastics and Dance. Here, Katie became the oldest of the seven original members of the Step Ahead Dance Company. During her time with Step Ahead Dance Company, Katie received numerous awards and recognitions for her hard work, including the titles for 2011 and 2012 Miss Senior Onstage NY, 2011 and 2012 Miss Senior Star Power Raleigh, 2012 Miss Dance at Kids Artistic Revue, and many others. Katie scored very well in competition, earning Encore Dance Competitions Senior Highest Score of the Day in 2012 with a perfect score, as well as Showstoppers Highest Scoring Senior Soloist at the Showstopper National Competition in 2012. Katie Parks was also featured in Dance Spirit Magazine in the years 2009, 2010, and 2011 as a Future Star Award recipient from the Marvonna Dance Competition, where she also received awards for Highest Score of the Day all three years.

After graduating high school, Katie Parks took her training on the road and taught acrobatics at a Florida dance studio for two years. In August of 2015, Katie began to train in dance again, this time at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and is on track to graduate in the spring of 2019. In Katies first year at UNCSA, she was cast in every performance opportunity available, which is highly unusual for a first year student. Katie performed in student choreographed works as well as intense professional pieces such as Trisha Browns 1976 SoloOlos.

Katie Parks



   Arrianna Herrera