Emily Wei at the Front of the Formation


Courtesy of Emily Wei

Emily Competes with cheer at United Spirit Association Nationals in February 2020. “Watching the competitive cheer programs are really fun,” Emily Wei’s mom, Jennifer Wei, said. “They’re just really exciting. They’re kind of like ice skating, you know, it’s like they do all this practice, and then it’s like two minutes – they perform their routine.”

For the last couple of years, the cheer team has placed at USA Nationals and CIF. Apart from competitions, pep rallies and sidelines, varsity cheer captain and senior Emily Wei has always shone through with her leadership and athletic ability. 

Wei started off her cheer journey when she was intrigued by her cousin’s experience at Northwood High, causing her to join the new cheer program at Portola High her freshman year. 

“I was very lucky since we were in a new school, they were like accepting more people,” Wei said. “My high school experience was growing up on the team, so I became a part of that support group. Cheer is kind of like a support group. We always make sure anyone embarking on their journey of cheer for the next four years feels welcome.”

Winning the Top Dog award for JV cheer and receiving a “Cheerleader’s Choice” award from her teammates at a team banquet, Wei has become someone who her teammates have a strong bond with. 

“When I first met Emily, she was soft-spoken, and you probably know that about her if you know her, but she is just a great captain, a great friend, a great athlete,” varsity cheer coach Allison Mackey said. “She has grown to be such a strong stunter, but she’s also grown to be more outspoken. As far as athletic ability and her growth, she has gotten physically very strong.”

Wei found her preference heightened toward competitive cheerleading as she progressed through high school. In order to further her passions, she and the other captains came together to find competitions in divisions that would allow them to compete while following social distancing protocols. 

“There were no games, and there was no cheer camp and all these other things that they didn’t get to do,” Emily Wei’s mom, Jennifer Wei, said. “I feel like she really stepped up and just took every opening that they could to engage the girls and to bring them together whenever they could and participate. So I think like anything else, that aspect of not being able to get together for groups has been missed for sure.”

Ever since COVID-19 created a halt in physical team bonding, Wei has still found a way to create a loving and trusting environment for her team. 

“She comes every single day to practice on time. She’s always ready to go, she’s always ready to help, which I think really shows off her character,” Mackey said. “That’s why she’s a captain. She doesn’t have to have this outspoken voice to be a leader. She leads by example day in and day out.”