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The Cat's Eye

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The Cat's Eye

Isabell Padilla: Performing throughout the years

Sean Quan
Isabell Padilla during the band’s annual parent preview to show their progress of the show, “In Plane Sight.”

From starting at flag, transitioning to rifle, and then sabre, Isabell Padilla is a senior in color guard and is going on her fourth year in the program. She has done this program over covid and had to learn everything through zoom. She is co-captain and has done many toss solos in a variety of shows, mostly in weapons. She has worked very hard these few years and it has been an amazing experience for her.

“I’ve done guard all four years and when I started, it was like a whole new world,” said Padilla. “It was suggested to me by a friend, however, when I started and went to my first rehearsal, it was very apparent that there was a culture of excellence built.”

During Zoom, they would learn and practice a lot of dance and basics on flag. The coaches would monitor and give corrections to them, as they would build up endurance and would constantly improve themselves every day.

“It was all carves and drop spins if it wasn’t dance,” said Padilla. “For many of us we danced in our rooms but space was limited.”

During the last two weeks of school, they got to meet and practice in person. They were given more thorough corrections and got a better understanding of how color guard really works. Then, Padilla wanted to learn something different.

“Eventually, I got tired of doing the same exercises and I asked a returning member if there was any different exercises or even tosses,” said Padilla. “She taught me all my basic tosses on flag and near the end of the year and before she graduated, she let me touch rifle.”

Isabell Padilla perfoming the show, “The Secret Garden.” (Sean Quan)

Going into her sophomore year, she was able to go back to school full time and could finally march. She was able to get a first hand experience on what it is like to march during fall for the first time. She was part of the marching band show titled, “The Secret Garden.”

“I was so ecstatic to start the season because during Covid I felt like I would never be able to have a proper season,” said Padilla. “When Secret Garden came it was an unforgettable show to not only have as my first show but in general to be a part of.”

This was also an opportunity for freshmen to experience guard for the first time. Then freshman, now junior, Isabella Cucinella is a color guard member and a good friend of Padilla. Over the years they have watched Padilla improve and her hard work ethics.

“I look up to Isabell so, so much as a color guard captain and as a friend,” said Cucinella, “They have taught me so many skills in color guard and they have helped me improve my technique as well.”

Winter was around the corner and the color guard was about to start their winter shows. That year, they had decided to divide the team into two groups based on skill level, varsity or junior varsity. Padilla was selected to be on varsity and had performed in the show, “Up Where The Smoke Is.”

“For the winter production, “Up Where the Smoke Is,” a show themed after the Mary Poppins chimney sweeps, I made both a main on flag and sabre,” said Padilla, “Tho I was never officially on rifle my sophomore year for winter, one instructor told me I could be a rifle fill in.”

Padilla performing a sabre feature for the show, “Up Where The Smoke Is.” (Charles Frey )

Going into her junior year, Padilla decided she wanted to be a part of leadership. This meant that she would have the responsibilities of a captain and would need to teach and lead the team, as well as making sure everyone is content and happy. She was ecstatic and up for that challenge.

“My sophomore year going into my junior year, I had decided to apply for a leadership position/apply for captain,” said Padilla, “I had a high passion for color guard and wanted to share it throughout the program in which I unfortunately did not get the position.”

This news was rough for her, but she had decided to work even harder this year and vowed to have an amazing season that year. She watched many past performances and practiced very hard over the summer. When band camp had started, she couldn’t wait for the season to start.

“When it was time for band camp I felt pretty confident and couldn’t wait for the season to start. One skill that I for sure had throughout my junior year was strong catches” said Padilla, “During band camp, when we did one of our first rifle blocks I remember the first time we did tosses in the MPR and my catch was so strong it was one of the very few you could hear.”

When production had started for the show titled, “Nomad,” she would practice and use all the equipment in the show. She would retain the skills of high and solid tosses and would continue to have strong catches for each one. The sound still visible and even some eyes glued to her performance.

“When I was told to toss on my own, I remember catching and seeing all the eyes on me,” said Padilla, “During the season when I would toss sabre, I would catch it so strong that I would actually bruise my hand through my padded gloves.”

Winter season came and with the decision for it to be a single team everyone had to achieve around the same level of skill. This winter show was titled, “Lost,” and provided a good opportunity for everyone to acquire new talents and skills.

“Winter season was also fun,” said Padilla, “Though we were one team, I wouldn’t have done it with any other group of individuals.”

Not only was winter season fun, she had gotten offered a position to march over the 2023 season for a world class drum corps called, “Pacific Crest Drum and Bugle Corps.” However due to issues she could not march and instead focused on making her next and last year the most memorable.

“During winter, I got offered one day at practice a position at Pacific Crest in which I accepted, however, would not pursue for the 2023 season as I didn’t have the finances,” said Padilla, “I was really upset, however, I decided to make my senior year my best year.”

She applied for captain and was selected to be the co-captain of the color guard. Given the responsibility to assist the other captain to lead, it was an amazing opportunity for her. She would start her first year in the leadership position and would perform the show, “In Plane Sight.”

“I was so ecstatic and couldn’t wait to lead the 2023-2024 team,” said Padilla, “Though it would be difficult at times I would’ve done it again. “In Plane Sight,” was such an amazing show with so many amazing individuals that I wouldn’t have done any other show for my senior year.”

Padilla performing the swing flag feature for the fall show, “In Plane Sight.” (Veronica Perea)

With winter season slowly creeping in for color guard, Padilla recalls all her solo tosses for the season. She has had many during fall in practically every single category of equipment that color guard could own. From tossing a six on rifle, to a cross toss on saber, and even finishing off a movement with a swing flag solo, these feats are a sign of hard work and dedication to the organization.

“Solos are always scary, but nothing makes you feel more alive than having a couple hundred cheer for you nailing it,” said Padilla.

One of the main color guard coaches, Thalia Ortega, has taught Padilla throughout her time in the program. Ortega recalls her time teaching Padilla and how much she has improved since covid to present day. She talked about Padilla and her qualities that helped her grow as a color guard performer and how much she has contributed to the program.

“She’s always been eager to learn something new, which is a great quality to have in general, which will help her for other life experiences,” said Ortega, “I am truly grateful to have had the privilege to teach such an amazing student for these past 4 years and she will genuinely be missed by me and the program. I thank her so much for her exceptional hard work, excellence, dedication, and most of all, her passion, she reminds me of me a bit.”

If you would like to help Padilla in her goal to march after high school, you can check out their go fund me at

“It’s always been my dream to march DCI since I heard about it, I was given an opportunity to march last year but did not have the funds for it,” said Padilla, “This year I really want to march at least once more after high school and anything counts.”


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About the Contributor
Myla Portillo
Myla Portillo, Staff Reporter

Myla Portillo is a Junior at RCHS, and this is her first year in Journalism.She works as a staff reporter for The Cat’s Eye.Her favorite thing about Journalism is improving her skills in writing and researching stories.In her free time she loves to draw and watch performances.


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