Demi Olivieri has only been cheerleading for a couple of years, but has since become a cheer-lebrity in the Lake Wylie cheerleading community.
After cheerleading for high school, Demi and friend Kendra Evelsizer, a junior at Clover High School, tried out for Cheer Extreme, which competes at the highest level.
Cheer Extreme is in Kernersville, N.C., which made for a long drive to and from practice, said Demi, daughter of Pamela and Dean Olivieri of Lake Wylie. Sometimes I wouldnt get home until after midnight from competitions and would do my schoolwork in the car or during the school day. But it was a great experience.
The co-ed squad with which Demi competed left a legacy of wins. When they competed in Columbus, Ohio, the squad was the first in the world to be awarded a full-paid bid to compete in the national competition. Then they won the national competition, as well. Finally competing in the co-ed category in the top bracket against squads from all over the world, they brought home the bronze. This was a huge accomplishment considering the worlds competition held at Disney World brought together 11,000 cheerleaders from 28 countries.
The whole year was crazy, Demi said. It was a lot of go, go, go. But it was definitely exciting.
While traveling for competitions, Demi created a following of young cheerleaders and has embraced them, said her mother Pamela Olivieri via email. During a large competition in Myrtle Beach with all ages and levels, Demi made sure she spent time with her young fans, including members of Cheer Tumbling Academy in Lake Wylie.
While competing at the Worlds Competition, her cheer community was watching it stream over the Internet. As a token of gratitude for their support, Demi brought them all souvenirs from the competition.
Demi is hoping to help with a summer camp for young cheerleaders through the CTA and will leave for college in the fall. She may be taking a year off from cheering to concentrate on her college work, but her cheering is certainly not over.
Wendy Dimitri of Lake Wylie is a freelancer writer. Email column ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org with Neighbors in the subject line.