Achieved Olathe East actress takes stage by storm

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- This week's Reaching 4 Excellence star really seems to have it all. She's beautiful, talented and knows how to work a crowd.

“Ever since I was young I just really loved performing and being in front of an audience,” Casey Gardner said.

The Olathe East High School actress’ story dates back more than a decade.

“I got the opportunity to sing on stage with Demi Lovato at her concert, and that was kind of the beginning of all of that. I was like, wow this is really cool, I really like to do this," she said.

She was 7 years old at the time and kind of shy, but she was the one hand-selected for a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“Everyone is screaming around me and freaking out, and I'm just like ‘oh maybe me,' like very timid and shy, and she pointed to me and was like, you. And I was like, me? Don't you mean my friend next to me? And then she just pulled me up on stage," Gardner recalled.

The rest is history. She was hooked, and knew the stage was where she belonged. She’s playing the Wicked Witch in a “Twisted” version of the “The Wizard of Oz.”

“Casey is one of a kind. Even as her director, I stop watching critically and just start watching as a fan, and those kinds of performers are very rare to find," Eddie Shafer, theater director at Olathe East High School said.

Corner to corner on a 12-foot table, you’ll find dozens and dozens of accolades all achieved by Gardner, and all won in the last 10 years. She's won so many things in fact, not everything fits on the table; we had to add more space.

She's a former gymnast, cheerleader and softball player, who was most recently crowned “Miss Debutant 2016.”

“Everything I do, I really think I give 120 percent. That's what I strive for, it's a personal goal,” she said.

In all, she’s performed in a dozen plays.

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