By Sammy Park
Photo by Brian Kojima
Junior Stefanie Parish was drawn to gymnastics 14 years ago when she first saw a family friend practicing. Since then, Parish has received numerous accolades as one of California’s elite gymnasts. Although she is an accomplished gymnast, Parish is also easily recognizable as one of the faces of SPHS Pep.
Parish was immediately drawn to Pep in her freshman year due to her experience with gymnastics. Since her start on the team, she has risen from JV Pep to Varsity Yell. Varsity Yell focuses on stunts and tumbling, unlike its counterparts Flags and Song. Parish is often seen as one of the few people on pep doing elaborate stunts using her gymnastics background in the performances.
Parish’s gymnastics have taken her to compete at both state and national levels. As a 12 year old, during a state competition, Parish placed first among 100 others on vault, bars, beam, floor and all around. In the 2012 nationals, she ranked first out of 60 on floor and first place all around. During the following years, Parish has kept up her excellent performances in the gym consistently placing high in competitions.
“[Gymnastics] taught me how to work with others and that hard work is really worth it from an early age. Gymnastics is something that is hard to do alone so I learned how to really lean on my teammates when I needed them and I do the same in pep,” Parish said. “It also helped me in the more literal aspect like being already physically capable of many things that cheer required.”
Her excellence in the gym and on the cheer team have not gone unnoticed. Last year, Parish was awarded MVP and the most valued tiger award.
“Stefanie is a very determined and ambitious team member. She not only knows how to effectively lead a group, but she also pushes everyone to their full potential,” teammate Junior Rachelle Jin said.