Lorraine Khazzi Villanueva ~ Best Cheerleader in Washington State

Lorraine Khazzi Villanueva is a proud Filipina on the Central Kitsap Varsity Cheerleading team. She is 17 and a junior at CKHS. She was named by,“The Washington All-State team”, one of the best cheerleaders in Washington.


by Olivia Falana, Reporter

Lorraine Khazzi Villanueva is a proud Filipina on the Central Kitsap Varsity Cheerleading team. She is 17 and a junior at Central Kitsap High School. She was named one of the best cheerleaders in Washington by The Washington All-State team.  Only three other girls throughout the state were named. Along with her team, they placed third at state. Though she’s gotten these rewards there have been some struggles along with the accomplishments.

One of the biggest struggles on the cheer leading team was when her grandmother passed away in early February. While this happened, Villanueva was also battling a concussion. She had to be put on an emergency flight to Alaska to be treated. On her way there she was stranded for a day because lightning had struck her plane.

Due to these situations Villanueva missed out on a big competition the following weekend. Villanueva didn’t want to let her team down, but a part of her felt that she did. She spent a long time in rehab and missed a lot of practices. Rehab didn’t help her situation, in fact it made it worse. Villanueva plays a big part on her team and sadly many competitions were missed because of her situation. It absolutely tore her knowing she was stopping her team from doing what they all love.

Though Villanueva faced these struggles she had her best friend, Isabella Reed, to help her get through the difficulty that she was facing. Reed helped Villanueva realize her worth despite her injury and the inability to cheer alongside her teammates. 

Villanueva felt that she would have never been able to get through this period in her life without the support of her best friend, Reed. She had to keep pushing and moving forward without giving up hope. One of the ways she has gotten through the struggles of life has been always giving 110%. 

“I tried my best to stay motivated and to remember why I started in the first place… In order to be the best, you don’t practice until you get it right — you practice until you can’t get it wrong.” Villanueva has been putting 110% into cheer leading for five years. 

Villanueva has been in cheer for five years with great support from her family. Her family has been financially unstable for a long time. She is a hard worker and has paid for everything she’s gotten. Including uniforms, trip expenses, and camps. Cheer is a very expensive sport and she knows if her family had the means they would have gladly helped her out.

Her mom has especially been supportive and knows how much cheer means to her. Her mom always made sure she wasn’t pushing herself beyond her limits. Her mother’s small acts of kindness and support have and continue to help Villanueva become the cheerleader she is today.

Villanueva has also used the support of her coaches and teammates. They have seen her at her worst and still supported her through everything she’s been through thick and thin. Her peers have made her laugh in tears, told her when she needed to check herself, and ensured she grew passionately as a friend and cheerleader.

Kara Baker, one of her freshman cheer coaches, has made her fall in love with conditioning. She was the first coach to push her to the edge to become the amazing cheerleader she is today. “But without her pushing me I wouldn’t have the strength and tenacity I have today”. 

She thanks Malaya Haggae, for also supporting her and being someone she can look up to. She has looked up to her since her Freshman year and is striving to emulate her kindness, humility and confidence. 

April Nidoy was a junior at the time of her arrival to the cheer leading team as a freshman. Bravely Villanueva fought through and made it on to the competition team her freshman year. Nidoy has been the most supportive upperclassmen to Villanueva through one of the hardest years of cheer leading.

She always answered all of Villanueva’s questions, and sent her videos to help her clarify the moves without breaking her down and belittling her. She has always been on Villanueva’s side and is always giving her tips and molding her into the best cheerleader she has become. 

“I don’t know if I would have kept going without her leadership. Today, she volunteers to coach our competition team and continues to make sure that I recognize that I am valued and have a lot to offer our team”, says Villanueva.

“Cheer has definitely challenged my mental health in a lot of different ways. The sport has a lot of negative connotations with body image and dysmorphia. I’ve battled ED in the past and it resurfaced through cheer which was terrible for my health. Cheer leading culture overall has a lot of body expectations and body shaming as a result”. Even though Villanueva has struggled with this mental illness her current coaches have helped her through it.

Though she has faced many battles she kept pushing and fighting through. Cheer has taught Villanueva about her own strengths and weaknesses and helped her find her confidence. It’s taught her to fake it till you make it with a smile. It has opened up doors for her future and endless possibilities.

Villanueva, at the moment, is planning to move on from cheer leading after graduation. She has gotten many opportunities to keep going and to explore different colleges but her loyalty belongs to the cougars. “I still have senior year to learn and grow, and if the right school comes to me with the right choice, it could be a possibility”! 


Lorraine Khazzi Villanueva pictured with her mom

April Nidoy pictured to the right
Isabella Reed pictured with Lorraine Khazzi Villanueva