More than three cheers are in order for a Putnam County student who has realized her longtime dream this spring.
Hurricane High School senior Tylee Oldham is scheduled to sign her letter of intent this week to become a member of the University of Kentucky Class of 2023 this fall.
Oldham has been accepted at the Lexington school not only as a student but also as a member of the UK Wildcats Cheerleading Team.
“It’s definitely one of the best chances I’ve gotten in my life and definitely one of the best moments,” she said last week during a telephone interview between her HHS classes. “I’ve been dreaming of this since I was in fifth grade. When it became a reality — it’s probably one of the best moments of my life so far.
“It’s a great opportunity, in general,” Oldham said. “Their cheerleading program is the best in the nation, and I’ll be able to do that to better myself as a student and as an athlete. It’s amazing.
“I can say I’ve accomplished my dream.”
According to Putnam County Schools, Oldham began her cheerleading career in Hurricane and has won 21 national titles along with cheering on a world-level team for the past four years.
Oldham plans to sign her letter of intent Friday, May 17, at Hurricane High School.
Oldham is also a competitive star in the classroom. She has earned more than a quarter-million dollars in academic scholarships. She intends to study Materials Engineering at UK. “I want to design materials for prostethics,” she said.
Oldham has also served as a CAMC hospital volunteer, spending hundreds of hours working in registration, lab and patient support, as well as coordinating stuffed animal and care package drives. For these efforts, she was named a Distinguished Finalist for the 2019 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring youth volunteers from around the nation.
“It’s always an honor to see one of our students be as successful in the classroom as she has been,” HHS Principal P.E. McClanahan said last week. “She’s going to cheer on one of the highest stages in the nation, and she’s challenged herself academically with AP dual classes. She’s been exceptional in the classroom. She’s been a great student at Hurricane High School, and we want to wish her the very best and we’re very proud of her.”
“She’s an amazing young lady,” her mother, Dr. Karen Oldham, said, adding some foreshadowing of her recent achievement.
“She went to Conner Street Elementary after we moved to Hurricane,” her mother recounted. “Ironically, the UK cheerleaders came to her fifth grade class and did her school talent show.”
Thus inspired, Tylee has been training with the UK team since she was 9 years old.
Her mother said Tylee has also maintained straight “A”s throughout her academic career, which has led to the aforementioned slew of scholarships still rolling in before high school graduation on May 31. The lengthy scholarship list ranges from sources such as the University of Kentucky Engineering School and the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation to organizations such as Wendy’s, Burger King and Coca-Cola.
During her HHS career, Tylee has earned 55 college hours and scored a prestigious 5 on her AP Calculus exam, her mother said.
Karen Oldham said she belives Tylee’s involvement with the CAMC Medical Explorers Program spurred her daughter’s academic interests in math and scientific fields.
“She’s always had a passion for math and science; that’s what led her to look into UK. It has a strong engineering school. She shadowed and participated in engineering programs at UK and the University of Tennessee,” her mother said. “She also had an acceptance from Harvard, but she was interested in UK.”
Tylee has also been a member of the Redskins’ Rocket Club and Engineering Club. She was the state winner in the Beta Math competition and has advanced to national title consideration. Tylee has been president and is still an active member of the Society of Women Engineers. She won an award in a statewide “I Am Thankful” essay contest and was named a Wendy’s Regional Student Athlete of the Week, among her many other accolades.
A member of the Catholic Church of the Ascension in Hurricane, Tylee finds time for favorite hobbies such as travel (including the beach). “She loves to read,” her mother noted. “Big, thick novels — not tiny ones.”
She has also studied and practiced karate, piano, and dance at Dancing Unlimited.
Along with her volunteer efforts, the 18-year-old works part time at City Life and Workforce WV. She is model and Teen Board member with Barbie’s Formals in Milton.
She lives in Hurricane with her mom, dad Earl and brother C.J., who graduated with honors from Hurricane High in 2013 and studied Nuclear Engineering at the University of Tennessee.
“We’re really proud of both of our kids,” Karen Oldham said. “We’re very blessed.”