'Sharks, sharks, let's get loud' is the chant of the DHS cheer team

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

Sporting blue T-shirts with DHS in bold print on the front and a white ribbon in their hair, the Destin High cheer team gave the crowd gathered at the unveiling of the mako shark mascot last week a taste of things to come. 

The DHS cheer team is the first team at the new high school set to open in August. 

“Sharks, sharks, let’s get loud,” was just one of the three chants the girls did for their first unofficial performance. 

Selections for the cheer team is ongoing. 

The new Destin High School cheer team poses for a photo in front of the school's mako shark statue during a brief ceremony at the campus. The LoCicero family donated the shark replica to the school.

But the ones who were at the unveiling last week for the massive mako mascot were excited and ready to go. 

“It’s such a special opportunity for them,” said Destin High cheer coach Sierra Stevens. 

Stevens reeled off three or four things this group of cheerleaders will get to do that no one else will. 

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“They get to set the traditions. They get to come up with motions to the school band songs. They get to create the traditions here at Destin High School and leave a legacy for all the cheerleaders that will ever be here,” Stevens said. “It’s going to be a heavy responsibility but an awesome opportunity." 

Stevens said she had tryouts May 13-14 and has selected 10 cheerleaders thus far. 

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As a matter of fact, Stevens was approached by a girl at the shark unveiling who wanted to try out. 

She also has a girl on the team who will be moving to the area from Indiana. She tried out via video. 

“She’s ready to go and I’ve mailed her her shirt,” Stevens said. 

Members of the Destin High cheer team are, top row from left: coach Sierra Stevens, Alexia Rieger, Jasmin Aare, Juliana Iovieno, Megan Vaccaro and Ashlyn Stevens. Front row from left: Briar Ramswell, Kamryn Rieger, Alaina Granier and Ella Harris. Not pictured, Lexy Ventimiglia.

The cheer team is made up of ninth-, 10th- and 11th-graders. 

For Juliana Iovieno, who will be an 11th-grader, trying out for cheer was just the natural thing to do. 

“I’ve lived in Destin all my life and I like cheering,” Iovieno said, noting she was on the cheer team at Destin Middle. 

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And since she decided to come to Destin High, it was just natural for her to try out, Iovieno said. 

Alaina Granier, also an incoming 11th-grader, said her reasons for trying out were simple as well. 

“This my home town and I love Destin,” said Granier, who has never cheered before. 

The girls got together last Monday, May 24, for practice and then gave a little preview to the crowd gathered Tuesday for the unveiling of the shark. 

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“You guys were fantastic and to put it together in that short of a time. … That’s an awesome accomplishment,” Capt. Mike Parker told the girls Tuesday afternoon. 

Stevens said the uniforms they have picked out “look amazing … and they go perfectly with the colors of our mako there.” 

Stevens is still filling slots on the team. 

“We’re not taking people necessarily because of experience or tumbling abilities. I’m going to make sure they have what they need,” she said. 

Members of the Destin High cheer team were present at the unveiling of the mako shark at the new school.

The Shark cheer team will “definitely be competitive in the future,” Stevens said. 

But for now, “I’m super excited for that opportunity,” she added. “They are going to be working really, really hard.” 

Members of cheer thus far are Alexia Rieger, Jasmin Aare, Juliana Iovieno, Megan Vaccaro, Ashlyn Stevens, Briar Ramswell, Kamryn Reiger, Alaina Granier, Ella Harris and Lexy Ventimiglia.