High schools

Cheerleader coach gets surprise proposal at halftime of Van Horn football game

Updated: 2013-10-01T00:03:55Z

By KATHLEEN GIER

Special to The Star

Crystal Escobar showed up at Van Horn’s football game on Friday night prepared for a halftime ceremony recognizing her Van Horn cheer team’s success at the state meet.

Little did she know, it was all a big cover for her boyfriend’s elaborate proposal for marriage.

Her boyfriend, Trevor Julo, from Lee’s Summit, thought up the idea and contacted the principal and athletic director at Van Horn who both agreed to help him out.

“This is one of those things that I want to be perfect,” Julo said before the event. “You have to leave it in other people’s hands and have faith that they are going to do the right thing at the right time and everything falls into place.”

Lucky for him, everything did, despite one delay.

The cheerleaders performed their usual halftime routine before Van Horn Principal Patrick Layden led Escobar onto the field and presented her with a bouquet of flowers and the stadium announcer discussed the accomplishments of the squad.

She stood next to Layden holding the bouquet for several minutes as the announcer waited for the signal.

Finally, “Never Stop” by Safety Suit, played over the stadium speakers and she turned around to see her squad holding up signs that read, “Will you marry me?” in the place of their usual V.H.H.S. initials. Julo walked in from the left side of the field and dropped to one knee in front of her.

She said Yes and embraced him amid a chorus of applause and then became the centerpiece of a celebratory mob that was her excited cheerleading team.

“I’m a pretty critical person, but I wouldn’t change anything about that proposal,” said Escobar, who is from Independence. “It was absolutely perfect and absolutely me.”

Julo even gathered the couple’s families who hid behind the bleachers and greeted them after the proposal for hugs and pictures.

It had been just eight short months since a double date at 810 Zone brought them together, but Julo knew it was the right time.

“It’s almost like fate that we met each other randomly, but now I can’t imagine not knowing her or being with her,” Julo said.

Though it was merely a decoy in the events of the evening, the progress of the cheerleading quad under Escobar has been worthy of notice. For the first time in years, the Falcons qualified for the state meet and finished seventh out of 11 in their class last season.

“We had a good cheerleading program before she came, but she’s really turned it around,” Layden said. “The kids really have a real strong sense of teamwork, and it’s her that caused it.”

Escobar said she was thrilled to spend her special night with her team and fellow teachers.

“It seems kind of weird, but it really fits for us, because my life really changed when I got this job here and the cheerleaders are like my family,” Escobar said. “I’m here all the time, this is like where I live so it makes sense to do it here with everyone I love. Being in front of everybody was kind of nerve-racking, but it was still good.”

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