Written by Maddy Partyka

Reaching for the stars: Chaverin celebrates her journey

Growing up, Lauren Chaverin had the goals to inspire others, overcome obstacles, and live out her dream of becoming the best cheerleader she could be.

“I remember going to the gym after school in second grade, while there was a basketball game going on and my eyes directly went to the cheerleaders on the sidelines,” said Lauren Chaverin, a current cheerleader at North Carolina State University. “I immediately asked my mom to sign me up because at that moment, I knew I wanted to be a cheerleader.”

Chaverin began dancing at the age of 2 at the YMCA of Greater Charlotte and continued until she turned 13. Her cheerleading experience began in fourth grade when she could finally join her elementary school team. She has a very petite figure, so she became a flyer for the stunts.

“I remember being a ‘girly girl’ growing up,” Chaverin said. “Dance and cheer captivated my attention while most of my friends played basketball and other sports.”

Dressing up and performing to make people smile is what she loves about cheering and dancing. The activity of cheerleading itself excites Chaverin as well as getting the chance to rile up the crowd. Learning new skills and perfecting tricks motivates her to push harder.

“I just kept trying to progress to the next skill level and then I realized if I kept doing that, I had the potential to achieve greatness,” Chaverin said. “I don’t exactly remember when I made the decision that I wanted to cheer in college, but I guess it must have always been in the back of my mind.”

Chaverin continued to cheer and dance in middle school but balancing these two activities was challenging for a young student.  

“After school, I went immediately to cheer practice, then got in the car and went straight to dance,” Chaverin said. “I would get home around 8 p.m. and do all of my homework before I went to sleep and woke up to do it all again.”

 Going into high school, Chaverin made cheer her primary focus. She concentrated on improving her technique to make the varsity cheer team as a freshman and continued to work hard to achieve the position of team captain her senior year.

“Being captain was an experience that I will never forget, it taught me how to lead and build relationships with others,” Chaverin said. “At times it was challenging because every team member had different goals of what they wanted, but I had to think about the team as a whole.”

Chaverin focused solely on her role as a member of the Charlotte Catholic High School cheerleading team. Proving her commitment, Chaverin did not participate in a separate competitive cheerleading team outside of high school.

This decision was looked down on and created controversy over her abilities and aspirations. However, Chaverin would not let this weigh down her dreams of cheering in college. She took high school cheer very seriously and cared about the prosperity of the team and her personal growth.  

Charlotte Catholic’s varsity cheer team cheers for varsity football and basketball games and competes at the North Carolina High School Athletic Association state championship for cheerleading. The team won Chaverin’s junior year and placed third her senior year.

This state championship win was very controversial around the school and whether or not the banner should be hung in the gym because people argued about whether or not cheerleading qualifies as a sport.

According to Bleacher Report, Cheerleading is not declared a sport by high school associations or the National Collegiate Athletic Association, but it should be for various reasons. Cheerleaders intensely train and practice to perfect their routines performed at games and competitions, just like other college athletes.

This dispute continues to rile up cheerleaders and their coaches because of all the hard work and dedication cheerleading requires. Cheering is not simply a hobby, cheerleaders dedicate their time and make many sacrifices to pursue this passion.

         “The whole debate over if cheerleading is a sport bothered me when I was younger, but most people’s opinions have changed as they mature,” Chaverin said.

         The recently popular Netflix show “Cheer” continues to gain attention by highlighting the athleticism cheerleading requires and change people’s opinions on this controversy.

         “At the end of the day if someone teases me about cheer not being a sport, I just remind them that I have a courtside seat to every basketball game and I’m on the field for every football game doing what I love,” Chaverin said.

         Throughout high school, Chaverin attended cheerleading clinics and camps at different colleges, when she realized that she wanted to be a college cheerleader. After attending her first NC State cheer clinic, she knew that she wanted to cheer for their team, the Wolfpack.

         “NC State felt like home when I went there, which had the biggest influence on my college decision,” Chaverin said. “All of the coaches and cheerleading team members welcomed me and spent time getting to know me.”

         Throughout all of high school, Chaverin went around school saying, “Go Pack!” This became her phrase and ended up as her senior quote featured in the yearbook. Being part of the Wolfpack became more than just a goal to Chaverin, it was her state of mind.

         “I always pictured myself cheering in red, white and black, being a part of a team that I had grown to love,” Chaverin said. “I looked up to the older girls on the team and knew that I aspired to be like them.”

         Chaverin fulfilled her dream of becoming a part of the NC State Wolfpack and cheering them on, when she was recruited to be on the team her senior year of high school. This allowed her to be part of signing day in the gym alongside other athletes committing to participate in a college sport.

         “For Lauren, making the cheer team was the result of years of practicing multiple days a week, tumbling, stunting, conditioning, competing, and facing all of the highs and lows; but the hard work, dedication and perseverance was worth it to achieve her goal to be an NC State cheerleader,” said Linda Chaverin, Lauren’s mother.

         NC State, a Division 1 school, includes perks as well as sacrifices. Being a Division 1 athlete can result in a bigger fan base, appearances on television and packed stadiums, but also requires a huge time commitment.

         NC State’s cheerleading teams do not just have one season per school year like other college teams. They train all year like other athletes but compete from around the middle of August until the beginning of April.

          NC State has multiple cheerleading teams including small coed, team performance, and game day. Chaverin has been on the gameday team both her freshman and sophomore year of college. In Chaverin’s freshman year, the team received third place at the National Cheerleading Association Collegiate Cheer Championship and unfortunately the team did not have the opportunity to compete this year due to COVID-19. 

            According to Varsity.com, America needs spirit more than anything during these uncertain times. This association strives to help communities and schools at this time by promoting harmony and engagement. This mission to promote hope and school spirit is important especially when people are not currently at school or surrounded by their loved ones.

The game day team that Chaverin is part of has similar ambitions to the Varsity organization. This team serves as the primary example of evoking school enthusiasm out of students whenever they can.

“Lauren is a talented young lady, a valued member of the NC State Cheerleading squad and a great game day cheerleader,” said Harold Trammel, NC State graduate and current head coach of the cheerleading department. “Day in and day out, Chaverin represents the Wolfpack with pride. Whether at games, appearances, practices or competition, you can tell that she genuinely loves cheering for the Wolfpack. Her smile, confidence and contagious energy grab your attention. Fans can’t help but to watch and react to her as she leads them to cheer on the Pack. She is a great role model for our young fans and just an all-around good person.”   

People may have doubted Chaverin at times, but she always perseveres and proves them wrong. She continues to grow as a person and advance in her cheerleading career, not letting any obstacles get in her way.

 “Watching Lauren in her first NC State Run Out during pregame in Carter-Finley stadium was an awesome experience,” Linda Chaverin said. “From basket tosses on the 50-yard line to stunting in front of the student sections, Lauren smiled, cheered and enjoyed every minute. Her energy was infectious, and you could tell she truly loved it. As always, Go Pack!”

Chaverin’s parents always support her aspirations. They believe in their daughter and see all of her potential. They love going to games and watching their daughter do what she does best.

Flying up in the air to be the star of the show has taught Chaverin to always be confident and brave. She aims to inspire young girls to follow their dreams without letting anything get in the way.