Yell leaders make debut with chants, cheers

Valerie Kramer and Pauline Nguyen

As the Monarchs kicked off the season against the Bishop Amat Lancers on Aug. 17, several students decked out in red and Hawaiian-themed spirit gear climbed atop wooden boxes typically used by cheerleaders. Standing over the student section, the squad of students – the new yell leaders – led the crowd to sing along to iconic songs playing on the speakers, from Drake’s “In My Feelings” to NSYNC’s “Bye Bye Bye.”

These yell leaders are the most recent addition to the athletic community. The ASB-sponsored group, made up of 11 spirited students, made their debut at Freshman Orientation early in the fall semester and have since been seen at multiple football games and the Fall Sports Rally. The leaders have the responsibility of getting the MD student section active and excited at sports events.

This year’s yell leaders are five juniors – Kylie Eggers, Natasha Hill, Cindy Ho, Tatiana Marocco, and Victoria Romero – and six seniors – Arman Kayhan-Mahd, Brooks Massey, Maisie McPherson, Joey Nicolai, Hannah Waldron, and Nick Barq.

“I wanted to become a yell leader because I’m already a really outgoing person, and I thought it would be really fun,” junior Victoria Romero said.

So far, many have said that this year’s student section is considerably louder and more engaged than previous years. 

“I thought [this] first game was one of the best games,” school president Patrick Murphy said. “I’ve been at Mater Dei for 29 years [and] it reminded me more of the championship game at Angel Stadium against Long Beach Poly years ago.”

According to Activities Director Diana Neustadt, the yell leaders’ efforts help support student athletes.

“…a lot of times when you’re playing, that excitement really can motivate you,” Neustadt said. “So it is important that the kids are there, that they stay, and that they’re engaged. It’s great when we have students there, but when they leave during the third and fourth quarters, it’s hard for a team to keep that momentum up.” 

Senior Taylor Morales thinks that the yell leaders “help unite the student section.”

“It’s a lot easier to follow yells and cheers that are called by people that have a microphone rather than just having students yell within the student section,” Morales said. “The incorporation of music by the yell leaders also brings the student energy up. Now the student section is like its own team.”

The yell leader position was originally an idea brought about by administration, who reached out to Neustadt in order to start looking for candidates.

“The idea came as kind of a challenge from me to the students to come up with some good ideas … [to] try and build our … student section into what you guys want it to be,” Murphy said.

Neustadt said about 20 students applied for the position.

“Mrs. Neustadt wanted us to try out during the junior and sophomore orientation, so she had us teach the classes chants,” senior yell leader Arman Kayhan-Mahd said. “Whoever [was] the most loud made the team.”

Neustadt hopes that the yell leader position will continue to grow this year and in the future. This year she hopes that the leaders will begin cheering at the boys basketball and volleyball games. Neustadt said that she has already had several students approach her about how they can become a future yell leader.

“I think it’s terrific,” Murphy said. “I think the kids enjoy seeing their friends out there supporting them … if they’re there, enthusiastic, involved, having fun and spirited … it just makes the atmosphere so much better.”