“As a Captain, I have to push girls and guide them in the right direction because they are cheerleaders, they are a voice of McMahon, people look at them to represent the school.” - Zanayia Dejesus
Zanayia Dejesus (‘19) accomplished one of her cheerleading goals as being a captain. She became captain her junior year, and has been a captain for two years now. Dejesus would have never thought that she would be on the team as a Freshman, better yet become a captain.
Dejesus’s grandmother got her into cheer when she was 11 years-old. Dejesus was a cheerleader on the Pop Warner Party City team, throughout elementary school and middle school.
As a freshman, a friend had asked Dejesus to try out with her. Dejesus ended up making the team, while her friend didn’t. She started freshman and sophomore year being a alternate, when someone is hurt or can’t compete in their competition, she would fill in for them. As a junior and senior, she has had the opportunity to compete. She’s been in all positions for cheerleading stunts, including a flyer. This year she’s a triple threat, a base, a flyer, and a tumbler. She can't be a back spot because she is too short.
Cheerleaders on the team look up to Dejesus and see her as a big sister. Former Cheerleader, Summer Hall (‘20), a cheerleader from Dejesus’s first year of being captain says, “Zanayia always has a positive attitude. You can always count on her to put a smile on your face if you are having a bad day. She is a great role model and she never gives up. When she became captain, she remained humble and didn’t act like she was better than the rest of us.”
“A cheerleader is a girl who represents the school in a positive way and tries to spread the school spirit,” says Dejesus.
She makes sure she’s a leader for the team. She isn’t afraid to admit her wrongs. She takes charge when no adults aren’t around. She feels that she is very motivated and encouraging to her teammates.
When asked how Dejesus benefits and impacts the cheerleading team, Ayanna McCoy (‘20) says, “She gives great advice when we are struggling with something. She always pushes us to be better at practice, to focus, and to never give up on the mat.”
Dejesus’ biggest inspiration is her coach, Kelcie W. She has coached eight teams, including Norwalk Packers and Xtreme Cheer. Dejesus and her coach have a great relationship. Dejesus expresses and says, “Kelcie being my first official coach, I know I can go to her with anything inside and outside of cheer. She’s very motivating, understanding, and most importantly fun.”
Going forward, Dejesus does not wish to do cheerleading as a sport in college. She is looking forward to going to college and majoring in nursing. She says, “I want to live a regular life as far as an academic student and not always have something on my agenda. To be a cheerleader you have to be 110% committed.” She feels that cheerleading is fun but it’s very time consuming and it’s like a job you don’t get paid for. Cheer has helped her over all with learning how to be a leader and learning how to manage time.