Shannon Cornicelli has faced challenges her whole life. She has conquered all of them.
When she was just 14 years old, she stood 4’10” and weighed just 78 pounds. She was one of the smallest gymnasts in Rhode Island. She proved to be one of the best, claiming the RI State Championships on Uneven Bars.
She earned All-State honors at Pilgrim High every year, competed at Rhode Island College and became the ECAC Bars Champion. She then coached RIC for four years.
She eventually took her traits as a competitive athlete and became an entrepreneur and successful businesswoman. Cornicelli is the founder and owner of Dream Big Gymnastics and Dream Big Athletic, a gymnastics apparel company. Both are headquartered in Cranston.
Dream Big's mission is to provide children with a positive and fun-filled atmosphere that enables them to create their own goals and then empowers them to go after their dreams. Thus building powerful, determined and confident qualities that will be embedded in their character. Dream Big offers non-competitive recreational gymnastics, competitive gymnastics teams, Ninja Warrior, birthday parties, vacation camps and much more.
For her hard work and efforts, Cornicelli has been recognized by Providence Business News as one of the top Rhode Island women in business. In 2017, Cornicelli received the RI Ambassadors Award from the RI Convention & Visitors Bureau. She was honored by the CVB for bringing business to RI and adding to the local economy for her annual Beauty and the Beast Invitational which draws athletes from all over the region.
This past year, Dream Big faced its biggest challenge to date - the coronavirus pandemic.
Like many small businesses, Cornicelli, 40, was forced to close her popular gymnastics gym several times during the pandemic. Always determined and never one to give up, she was able to persevere through hard work, creativity and determination. Cornicelli and her team have been diligent and have adhered to all the Covid- guidelines and restrictions. Dream Big is back open and able to offer a safe, positive environment for gymnasts of all levels- from beginners to advanced.
Competitive gymnasts who didn’t have a chance to compete for more than a year now have the opportunity as Cornicelli developed virtual meets to offer opportunities for more gymnast participation during this pandemic. She is now hosting virtual meets every month throughout the spring and summer. The virtual meets draw more gyms from all over the country as well as internationally and have proven to be a great success.
“This has been an exciting time,” said Cornicelli. “Our creativity has proven to bring even more joy, enthusiasm and hopefulness to our gymnasts as they are learning how to make the best of a difficult situation. We are teaching life lessons, not just gymnastics.”
Most important to Cornicelli is that the kids are back in the gym having fun with their friends.
“Dream Big is a family,” said Cornicellli. “The girls here are all friends. Their social development is equally as important as learning a new skill.”
Brooke Bailey, a gymnast at Dream Big, agrees. Bailey is happy to be back at the gym with her Dream Big “family.” Bailey doesn’t hesitate for a second when asked what she loves most about participating in gymnastics at Dream Big.
“Gymnastics has taught me to work hard and to set goals...what do I love the most? My friends...my Dream Big friends. I missed them all a lot. I am so glad to be back.”
There are still a few spots remaining for Dream Big’s April vacation camp. To learn more about any of Dream Big’s programs call 401-228-8946 or visit: www.dreambiggym.com