Cheerleaders lead by example on, off field in Westlake
The youthful spirit of Stephanie Bladen and Krissy Seidel shows up in most everything they do.
The two Westlake High School students both keep up their grades, compete in sports and participate in other school and community activities - and both have been named All-American cheerleaders.
Bladen of Thousand Oaks, Seidel of Westlake Village and other members of the school's varsity cheerleading squad competed this summer at the National Cheerleaders Association competition at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
In addition to individual honors for Bladen and Seidel, the entire squad qualified for a spot in the NCA Nationals competition Dec. 28-29 in Dallas, Texas, and has been invited to cheer at Cotton Bowl on New Year's Day.
"They (NCA) pick the top five squads to compete in the NCA Nationals," said Jan Seidel, WHS Cheerleader Booster Club vice president and mother of Krissy Seidel.
"To our knowledge, this is the first time in Conejo Valley history that any cheerleading squad has been invited to participate in the competition of this caliber," she said.
Bladen plans to attend a University of California school after graduation this year but is unsure of her major. Very involved in school activities, she serves as commissioner of the Renaissance Program - a district program that rewards students for high grades - and is senior class vice president.
In addition, Bladen is a member of California Scholarship Federation and National Honor Society and runs track and field in the spring when she is not cheerleading. She also is a member of the Conejo Valley Chapter of National Charity League's Ticktocker group.
"Cheerleading is a way to boost spirit in school and to get more people involved, " Bladen said.
"In order to have this happen, I am one of the people who goes and gets spirit going," she said. "I couldn't imagine high school without cheerleading. It has been an all-round positive experience."
Krissy Seidel, who has a 4.0 grade point average going into her junior year, takes honors English and other college prep classes. She is not yet sure where she wants to go to college but knows she wants to continue cheerleading and work toward a career in physical therapy.
After five years of competitive experience in gymnastics, Seidel made the transition to cheerleading last year as a member of the WHS Junior Varsity Cheerleading squad. She moved up to the varsity squad this year.
"I'm the one who tumbles a lot," she said. "I will do anything that will better the squad. We do lots of stunts. They're neat and hard to learn. We work hard, and we're there to support Westlake High School and get the crowd involved."
In addition, Seidel works as a gymnastics coach and is involved with her church.
To help raise the funds for their trip to the national competition, the varsity cheerleading squad will hold a carwash from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 17 at the Exxon station at Thousand Oaks and Westlake Boulevards, Westlake Village, donation is $5 a car.
Other members of the WHS Varsity cheerleading squad include Jeni Alwood, senior, Westlake Village; Nicky Barbi, junior, Thousand Oaks; Jiyeon Jeon, senior, Westlake Village; Melinda Kuhn, junior, Thousand Oaks; Corrie Lyle, senior, Westlake Village; Deanna Marsango, senior, Thousand Oaks; Julie Moore, junior, Westlake Village; Melissa Reinwald, junior, Thousand Oaks; Heidi Schectman, junior Thousand Oaks; and Annmarie Yered, junior, Thousand Oaks.
Reprinted from Daily News, October 9, 1992.
Note: the car wash fundraiser was sponsored by the Car Wash Guys.