Chizo Iberosi, 17, right, a senior at Washington Preparatory High School… (Al Seib, Los Angeles Times )
Those who knew Angela Gettis, the 16-year-old Washington Preparatory cheerleader who collapsed during a football game Friday and later died, said cheering was not just an extracurricular activity for her. It was her life.
"There is nothing in the world she enjoyed more," Principal Todd Ullah said in a statement Monday, the first day of class after her death.
Classmates said Angela brought that same vitality to the hallways of the South L.A. high school. She was vibrant, funny and always one of the brightest students in class.
She was popular, her classmates say, someone you wanted to be around.
On a number of Facebook pages set up over the weekend, friends offered their memories: Hanging out with her at lunch. A retreat at Lake Arrowhead. The smile always on her face. The spirit she had as a cheerleader.
Angela was following her passion Friday when something went terribly wrong. During the Washington Prep game against Fremont High, Angela was in the middle of a simple cheer — kicking her leg and waving her pompoms — when she collapsed.
In the 10 minutes before paramedics arrived, Los Angeles Unified employees attended to her, with one Fremont staff member giving her CPR.
"It was heroic," L.A. Unified Supt. John Deasy said of their efforts.
Angela was taken to a nearby hospital, where she died. School officials said that she had died of cardiac arrest and that her family told them she had a preexisting medical condition.
Grief counselors were made available to students and staff Monday, officials said.
As students returned to the campus, they remembered Angela not just for her personality but for her promise.
"She was always on top of her game," said Wahsan Flores, a 17-year-old senior. "She wasn't a slacker."
Chizo Iberosi, a friend, mentioned that she seemed to have it all.
"She was always happy. Everyone liked her," she said before starting to laugh. "And she always went to class. She never ditched!"
Before walking into the school, Chizo added: "We thought she'd do something special."