Leader of the Pack

Leslie Vela Celebrates 40 Years as the Standleader Sponsor


Augusto Moreno-Morales

Some of the 2022-2023 Standleaders smile for a photo


Since their very first debut, Standleaders have spent the past 40 years painting banners, cheering on the football team and inciting school spirit all around.

Standleader sponsor Leslie Vela can attest that she’s been there to see it all.

The original sponsor since 1982, Vela is still leading the Standleaders, and said she has no plans of stopping anytime soon.

“I do love being the sponsor,” Vela said. “Sometimes I wonder if I should hand it off, but then I wonder what I’d do with all that free time. So I just look forward to sharing the love of the group with my co-sponsors and the kids.”

Vela has been the Standleader sponsor for 40 of the 51 years she has been teaching, and according to her, she is still enjoying it.

“Loving sports helps, but seeing a love for Klein High School grow in the Standleaders is what has kept me in the position,” Vela said.

Standleaders consist of senior boys and girls who have a great loyalty and love for Klein High School, according to their website. They also need to have a love for sports, as they are constantly cheering on the school athletic teams. 

“It takes a lot of energy to be a standleader,” standleader and senior Elena Siekas said. “[We] do a lot of the sign paintings for football and hype up the student sections at volleyball and football games.”

There’s more to Vela than just her sponsorship of the Standleaders, however.

“I like how personable Ms. Vela is,” Siekas said. “I can always have a conversation with her and she can always make us laugh.”

Every year the standleader group changes, as is expected with a new group of students each year, but one thing stays the same and that’s the commitment and love to their school. This is what Vela finds to be the most rewarding part of her role as the standleader sponsor. 

“I’m honored to have helped foster the Bearkat spirit over the years,” Vela said. “The initial enthusiasm may have ebbed and flowed over time, but it is still apparent within this group for sure.”