By Pete Banda
Even before she was hired, Monika Longoria had a vision for the cheer team at Idea Brownville College Prep. There was just one problem – Idea Brownville didn’t have a cheer team. “That was definitely one of the things I talked about wanting to do when I first interviewed with Idea,” recalled Longoria. ‘So after my first year of teaching, they were able to give me the green light to start the cheer team and we’ve been going at it for the last three years.”
It would appear three years of working under Longoria, who was an All-American cheerleader herself during her days at SBHS, and assistant coach Yliana Guzman has paid off for the young teenage girls. A total of four of Longoria’s crew earned All-American honors this year with three making the trip to Orlando, Florida to perform at halftime of the Citrus Bowl in front of 65,000 screaming fans.
Eighth grader Ivana Guzman, seventh grader Alma Hinojosa and sixth grader Cecila Dotson
“I think it was a really great experience for all of us,” said Longoria. “Not only did they get to perform on a national stage, we were able to raise enough money to go to Disney and Orlando Studios… some of the girls had already been, but it was my first time in Orlando so I might have been more excited than them,” added the 25-year-old Longoria.
So, after the long break, the first week of January was time for Longoria to get back to her day job as a sixth grade English teacher at her Brownsville campus. There are currently no more scheduled national competitions for her Sapphire Dance team, but Longoria has already done a masterful job establishing the cheer team at her school as one of the more distinguished crews in the Valley.