Kassidy Arena | KBIA

Kassidy Arena

Kassidy Arena / KBIA

All-Star Performance Institute in Columbia, Missouri trains athletes from the age of three or four all the way up to their teen years.

The athletes there, commonly known as cheerleaders, don’t fulfill the traditional idea of pom-pom-wielding boosters on the sides of sports games, rather they compete in their own sport.

Competitive cheer is a sport that requires athletes to combine gymnastics and dance abilities. The major stunts in the routines require “bases” to throw “flyers” ten or 15 feet in the air and catch them before the hit the spring-loaded floor.


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Stephanie Carlo

Stephanie Carlo followed her dream of being in the fashion world by assisting designer Gustavo Arango in Puerto Rico. While working under his wing, Carlo’s friend recommended her for a teaching position at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri. Carlo spoke briefly to the recruiter and decided to follow a new passion of hers: teaching.

Carlo packed her bags and left her entire family on the island to teach fashion design and product development, among other courses, at the all-womens college. Her weekdays consist of teaching back-to-back classes and meetings, but her work isn’t limited to Monday through Friday. On weekends, Carlo helps her students with their collections on her own time.