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Mary Jane Burlin, Cheerleader

Mary Jane Burlin was born in Washington, D.C. in 1955, the middle daughter of a military family. She spent her first eleven years in Northern Virginia, moving to Germany for two years beginning in 1966. Her eighth grade year (1968-69) found the family back in Alexandria, Va. while her father served in Vietnam for a year. M.J. attended John Adams Middle School. She continued in the Alexandria school system into high school, first at Francis C. Hammond High School and then in 11th grade at T.C. Williams High School after the K-6-2-2-2 plan was enacted. M.J. was a junior varsity and varsity cheerleader at Hammond and a varsity cheerleader at T.C. Williams High School. She was a member of the girls track team at Hammond during her freshman year and the girls gymnastics team at TC Williams.

Sadly having to say goodbye to her TC Williams classmates, fellow cheerleaders and teachers in late January of 1972, she moved with her family to the Pittsburgh, Pa. area. Her father had retired from a 29-year career in the Army and had taken an engineering management job there. M.J. graduated from Upper Saint Clair High School in June 1973.

The fall of 1973 found M.J. in State College, Pennsylvania at Penn State University. Her four years there were busy and happy participating in academics, sorority life, and other interests.

Upon graduation in May of 1977 with a BS in Finance, she moved to the Boston area, where her parents had relocated during her college years. M.J. worked first for a company in a group doing work for the Department of Energy and then later as a financial analyst for a consulting company in Cambridge, Ma. It was here that she met her future husband Dick Hayden to whom she was married in 1981, at which time she moved to Sudbury, Ma. Along with the role of wife she undertook the role of stepmother to Dick’s two sons, Derek and Greg. Son Brendan was born in 1983.

In 1986 M.J. retired from the paid professional world to be a stay at home mom. Her activities, along with raising their three boys, have included working with several of the youth sports organizations in town in various capacities, volunteering for local school related activities, high school Booster Board Member, Senior Safe Night volunteer coordinator, and co-captain of her women’s spring and summer softball teams. Sports continue to be a big part of her world, both as a participant and as a spectator for her son Brendan’s high school soccer and baseball teams.

The premier of Remember the Titans in Alexandria afforded M.J. a wonderful opportunity to revisit a very special time in her life and to see her fellow TC cheerleaders and friends that she had not been in contact with in 29 years.

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