Interview with Larissa Chelius | Submitted by Chailie Alsaffar Nomination & Photography by Lisa McNeil
The Nomination: “Chailie is kind, disciplined, friendly, and funny. Her favorite quote is "Don’t let anyone treat you like free salsa. You are guac, baby girl, guac!" She's a pleasure to be around and super busy with her academics, leadership roles, and her sport of twirling. She's currently the National Honor Society President at Founders Classical Academy and is their current Feature Twirler. Chailie has won many a local, regional, and state titles in the sport of baton twirling. She is 2017 National Intermediate Champion in X Strut ages 13-15. She also represented Lightwire Theater in the windows of Neiman Marcus for the holiday season in the lead role for Dec of 2018. She is looking at a business or meteorology major as well as representing her University or college in the sport of baton twirling.”
1. How did you first become interested in twirling? I was watching the Miss America competition on TV and I saw a baton twirler. I was fascinated by her gracefulness, and fluidity. I told my mom that I wanted to be a twirler when I grew up because I wanted to wear a sparkly costume. A few months later my mom started teaching me to twirl and the rest is history.
2. What have you learned by being the National Honor Society President at Founders Classical Academy? My National Honor Society chapter is mostly student run. I have learned to communicate clearly with my advisor and the other students to avoid confusion. I have learned to make decisions that meet the overall needs of the school. My main goal for this year is to continue to build school pride within the National Honor Society.
3. How do you manage academics and twirling? I try to focus on how I can take advantage of any free moment I have to get homework done. I have a study hall during school which helps me get ahead. I go straight to the gym after school to practice. I will occasionally have to stay up later than I should to finish all my homework, but academics always come first. The best way to maintain a healthy balance is to avoid wasting time.
4. Has twirling changed your life in any way? I was very shy and introverted before I started twirling. I could barely order my food in a restaurant because I did not like talking to strangers. I was forced to become extroverted because I traveled and met new people from all over the country. One part of twirling competitions is interview. Once I started interview training, I was not afraid to speak in public anymore. Learning to start conversations or answer questions from adults started to become easier with practice. I'm very grateful that my twirling coach guided me and pushed me to become outgoing.
5. How were you introduced to Lightwire Theater and how did performing the lead role effect you? Lightwire Theater was a gift. My mom worked for the manager and producer of Lightwire Theater. They held open auditions for the roles. I got the part based on not only my size, but I was also able to operate and hold my costumes complicated system. I really enjoyed watching young children become captivated by the magic of the story we told. I was very lucky to be given the opportunity to experience something so unique.
6. What is your plan to become a business woman or a meteorologist? I have always been fascinated with weather, especially tornadoes. I do not run into the storm closet; instead I run outside to try and catch a glimpse of the funnel forming in the sky. I want to pursue a career in broadcast meteorology. I also like business. I worked as a sales consultant at a tanning salon over the summer. I love the rush of making a sale and helping people feel good about what they are buying. My goal in the business world is to open my own business.