Isabelle Velasquez: Foothill’s Cheerleading Captain

Senior reflects on the factors in her life that influenced her love for cheer and how much it has meant to her.

Yareli Perez Ortiz, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Isabelle Velasquez, otherwise known as Izzy, is a senior at Foothill High. Velasquez has been cheerleading for the past three years. She tried out her freshman year and joined the squad her sophomore year. Because she did not have any cheer experience before trying out, she was shocked when she made the team. Although she’s done other sports, Velasquez’s love for cheer is like no other. 

After many years of dedication and hard work, she is now the captain of the 2020-2021 cheer squad, but to her it’s not just a high school pastime—it’s a family. 

“I did volleyball as well, but there was never really a sports family relationship there,” Velasquez says. “Cheer is the only support system I’ve really had.”

As cheer captain, Velasquez has added  another responsibility to her plate, as far as cheer goes. To her, the biggest of them all is “having to know all the moves and words to the cheers,” she adds,  and “having to teach it as well.”

Velasquez is a teammate, but she is also a friend to all. Her teammates describe her as hardworking, outgoing and overall a good friend. 

“Having a relationship with your squad is key in a team relationship, considering the amount of trust that is needed,” Velasquez says.

Velasquez’s teammate and friend,

2020-2021 FHS cheer team.

Ariel Saephan, a junior, says she’s best qualified for cheer captain. “She’s super passionate about cheer and she’d motivate the team and be willing to help after practice with cheers,” Saephan says. “She’s not one to give up on cheer at all.”

Another teammate and friend, Lashaylnn Willis, says Velasquez was one of their best options. “You can tell it’s something she really enjoys. She wants us all to be great, and she’s the captain that’s gonna make sure we’re all on top of our business.”

Like all other sports at Foothill High, cheerleading has not returned to its regular scheduled season. For Velasquez it means she doesn’t get to experience her last season as a cheerleader. 

“I’ll never get my senior year back and I should have been able to make memories with my team, especially as captain,” Velasquez says.

Covid-19 might  have put a stop to her cheer season, but it could never stop her love for cheer. 

Velasquez’s love for football and the cheerleaders have played a huge role in her pursuit for cheerleading. Her biggest influence in the cheer community are all-star college cheerleaders from all over the world. Their two-and-a-half minute performances of tumbling, dancing and stunting have always been her favorite. Stunting refers to building pyramids, or high-flying basket tosses.

“I always watch videos of them stunting and I love to stunt,” Velasquez says. 

Unfortunately for the Velasquez,  college cheer is not an option.  Tumbling is the sport or skill of executing gymnastic-like movements, but for Velasquez it is a skill stopping her from living out one of her goals. 

“I’ve always wanted to do college cheer, but one of the requirements is you need to know how to tumble and I don’t,” she says. “That’s really the only thing holding me back or else I would.”

Velasquez plans on attending American River College  once she graduates. 

“I’d definitely consider joining [cheer] if I got the opportunity, but I don’t think ARC has a team,” she says. 

Although she can’t pursue cheerleading in higher education, that does not stop her from being optimistic. 

“Cheer gave me memories I will forever cherish, it gave me something to fall in love with.” Velasquez says. “I’ve always been a leader type, but cheer definitely taught me what it means to be a team.”