Viera’s Barber gets appointment to Air Force Academy, chance to compete in gymnastics at collegiate level


Viera High senior Cameron Barber fulfilled a long-time dream when she accepted an appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy where she will compete in gymnastics.

VIERA VOICE photo courtesy of Angela Barber

It was a long journey filled with lots of hard work both in the classroom and the gym.

But for Viera High senior Cameron Barber, well, the results were oh so sweet.

On National Signing Day last month, Barber not only realized her dream of being able to compete in gymnastics at the collegiate level, she also accepted an appointment to the United States Air Force Academy.

“It was an incredible day,” Barber said. “I’d been looking forward to it for so long. I’ve wanted to be a college athlete for the longest time. I’ve been doing gymnastics for 12 years and it was always a dream of mine to be competing in college.

“It was just special, officially being able to write it down that you had made it. It was an amazing experience.”

Athletic director Chris Gallagher said Barber is the first Viera High student to receive a gymnastics scholarship.

While the school has had other students attend the Air Force Academy, principal Mike Alba said Barber will be the first Hawk to go there as an athlete.

And after going through a rigorous selection process, she also will be carrying on a family tradition.

Her father, Dan Barber, retired in 2008 as a Chief Master Sergeant after 28 years in the Air Force. Her brother, Nathan McConahay, is an active duty Technical Sergeant and her sister, Courtney McConahay, is a Staff Sergeant in the Air National Guard.

Barber will be the first officer in the family.

Although she was looking at the possibility of attending a civilian university, Barber said the chance to go to the Air Force Academy ultimately seemed the best path.

“I’ve been a military brat my whole life so it’s kind of like second nature to me,” she said. “It just seemed like the perfect fit and all the opportunities it has to offer are just amazing. You can’t pass it up.”

After beginning her gymnastics career in Illinois, Barber moved to Florida in the eighth grade, where she began working at Harbor City Gymnastics with coaches Mark and Anne Weber.

In 2014, she took first place in the all-around competition at the Level 9, Region 8 Championship. That qualified her for the Eastern National Championship, where she finished second in the all-around and placed first on the uneven bars, making her the first gymnast from Harbor City to win a national title.

“We couldn’t be more proud of one, athletically, what she’s endured for all of these years with her sights set on being a Division I gymnast and, two, taking a path that was more difficult than just going to any university,” Dan Barber said. “She’s going to realize her dream.””