Humans of South Hills: Cheering with a passion


Photo Credit: Valeria Huete

Valeria Huete poses for a photo at senior night on March 23, 2023.

She picked up her pom poms and put on her dainty big bow. Her high ponytail and glittery eyeshadow are ready to go! Many may not know it, but for the last 4 years, Valeria Huete has been on the sidelines for Friday night lights. What’s entertaining for many is a passion and a life for Valeria Huete.

Huete began her journey in cheer at 8 years old when she started taking cheer lessons at her mom’s best friend’s gym. As she grew older, she dedicated more time to cheer.

“My mom’s best friend owned a cheer gym… and I was always there. Until finally, I started my first class, and I just really like it. So I’ve just been doing it since,” Huete said.

Huete shared that she used to be in competitive cheer outside of school, but left to focus on high school cheer instead. She expressed how she missed competitive cheer, especially the traveling aspects of it.

“Honestly I really love it…I still miss it now because I feel like you travel more than high school.”

While in high school, Huete and the South Hills cheer team had the opportunity to compete at the CIF state finals in 2022. A competition that they highly valued.

“We all valued it… because [last year] was our first year competing. And we won that [CIF] competition.”

Huete believes the physical challenges of the sport are not the only challenges faced by cheerleaders and shared one of her personal struggles.

“For a while, I was struggling on my standing tuck because I just had the biggest mental block on it. I had it really solid for a year, but then I lost it and I just could not do it. I wouldn’t land it.”

Huete helps to demonstrate that while cheer isn’t always a physical sport, it can also come with some potential mental challenges. She shared more about the role that mentality plays in cheer.

“It’s just very mental…I feel like anyone can flip themselves. But the only thing that stops you is getting in your head.”

Huete expressed that if she’s ever felt down or went through hardships having a good cheer practice helped bring her up.

“[If] I’m going through something or I’m just not in a good mood. Having a good practice changes that…I’ll be in a good mood after,” Huete said.