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Cheerleaders Excel at Molokai High

Photo by Rick Schonely

By Rick Schonely, Sports Reporter

Everyone needs someone to cheer them on, especially when life is challenging, and hope is at a minimum. Knowing that to be true, Melinda Yamashita and Louise Manley, coaches of the Molokai High School Cheer and Dance Squad, seek to instill a philosophy of cheer that they trust will have lasting impact long after the senior game is done and the pompoms are all put away.

Though the squad focuses on fall sports, they practice year around and normally make appearances at home volleyball games in the spring. Like all other sports, their year was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As members of this squad, each must learn of and practice the code of ethics associated with C-H-E-E-R,” said Manley.

She and Yamashita use the following acronym with their student athletes:

C- Commitment— “Whatever my hands find to do, I will do it with all my might!”
H- Humility— “If I want to lead, I must first learn to serve!”
E- Excellent Spirit— “A spirit of excellence is not only preferred; it will be rewarded!”
E- Encouragement— “A tongue has no bones, yet it is strong enough to break hearts or build lives! I will use my words to encourage and cheer others on!”
R- Radiance— “If I live in love and light, I will not go unseen. I will seek to ignite the world with every flame of my being! This little light of mine…I’m gonna let it shine!”

Manley helped to start the cheerleading team a few years back and takes pride in the program.

“Having such a mindset, the talented student athletes of the MHS cheer squads dedicated countless hours to the perfecting of cheers and halftime dance routines,” she said. “Whether on the football field, the basketball court, the volleyball bleachers, or the spirit assembly floor the following girls could be found cheering/dancing to rally spirit and foster school morale.”

The members of the 2019 Football squad included Trisha-Lynn Keanini, Shayland Dudoit, Kaui Bentley-Smith, Wailana Dudoit, Moani Pedro, Torae Puaa, Emmalie Duvauchelle, Olakaonalani Hoopii-Gutierres, Saydee Kaahanui, Shekinah Orlando, Hunny Puaoi-Linkee, Odetta Rapanot, and Sage Yamashita, as well as the additional 2019-2020 Basketball squad members which included Skyler Harden, Jayslyn Rillon, Chloe Puaa Naehu, and Dejah Kay Sotell-Mello.

Both Yamashita and Manley are proud of their team’s accomplishments and Manley wanted to thank them for the hard work and dedication.

“Each athlete contributed in her unique way, adding to the overall success of both squads this year,” said Manley. “A very special thanks goes out to our two senior captains, Trisha-Lynn and Shayland, as these two outstanding young women have proven themselves faithful and formidable in performance and leadership over the last three years on both the football and basketball squads, consecutively. Congratulations to all our seniors on a job well done!”

Molokai High Athletic Director Lee DeRouin is happy to have the cheerleading squad as part of Molokai Athletics.

“The cheerleading program has been a great addition to the athletic program and the coaches and athletes work really hard each week on their dance routines,” he said. “It’s awesome the energy they bring to The Barn and the football field every time they perform!”

The coaches want to extend an invitation to all high school athletes that may be interested in this dynamic sport of cheer/dance for the upcoming year. If you are willing to not only represent your class, your school, and your community with excellence but cheer others on to pursue their best, then MHS Cheer and Dance Squad may prove to be the perfect place for you to thrive. The MHS Cheer and Dance program seeks to produce students of character, desiring each to develop physically, academically, and socially within a safe and exciting environment. So, those with spirit, it is time to hear it: “M-O-L-O-K-A-I, let’s hear it for Molokai!”

Coach Manley is looking forward to another year with her cheerleaders next year and wants to inspire them with this quote: “It has been said that ‘a good cheerleader is not measured by the height of her jumps but by the span of her spirit.’”

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