South San Francisco High School campus

Making the Cut: South City High’s Cheerleading Program

South City High Cheer recently held tryouts for the 2023-24 school year. What does it take to make the team?
South City High's 2023-24 cheer team
Kayley Camilleri, who graduated from South City High in 2022, has returned to coach the school's cheerleading team.
“I know they needed a coach, and I really enjoyed the cheer program when I was here. . .because I love the positivity that it brings to our school, so I just wanted to come back and help anybody that wanted to try out.”
Camilleri is 19 and currently attends San Francisco State, where she majors in biology.
South City High alumna Kayley Camilleri ('22) has returned to lead the school's cheer program. South City High alumna Kayley Camilleri returns to lead the school's cheer program.
South City High alumna Kayley Camilleri ('22) has returned to lead the school's cheer program. 
Deana Guzman was also motivated to step up as an assistant coach this year after finding out about the cheer program’s coaching vacancy.
She has one daughter at El Camino High and another who graduated from South City High in the past.
She said both were involved with All-Star Cheer over the last 20 years and benefited tremendously from it. 
“All-Star is a competitive team,” said Guzman. “It's owned by private gyms, and they do lots of competitions, hardcore stunts, hardcore tumbling; it's what you see on ESPN.”
She said cheerleading has provided her daughters with a safe space to express themselves.
“My daughter [Natasha] is extremely shy, but when she gets on that stage or in front of the team and the audience, she’s a different person,” said Guzman. “She’s loud and has fun and is laughing and has her little group of friends. She feels safe and secure with her team.”
Cheerleading is a year-round sport. 
South City High cheerleaders practice their sideline chants.
Tryouts normally occur in May of the previous school year. Competitions start near December. Then regional qualifiers follow with a chance to go to nationals in February. Practices are held throughout.
Camilleri explained that the 2023-24 iteration of South City Cheer will be limited to sideline cheering, rallies, community events, and fundraisers due to the late start of this year’s season. 
“I just really wanted to make a fun environment, a welcoming environment. I know this year the majority of our team is new, and we have a lot of young freshmen and sophomores, so I really just want to have a really fun, collaborative environment. . .get their input, bring back some of our high school traditions that when I was here we had.”
She said she hopes to revive the school’s competition team, so South City High can participate in cheerleading competitions like All-Star Cheer next year.
For now, her goals are simply to create greater pride within South City High and the greater community.
“I just want to promote growth and positivity, especially confidence,” she said.