Molokai Farmers Cheerleaders
By Kaia Yamashita and Tamara Yamazaki- Gray, MHS WIN Writers
Molokai High School’s Cheer and Dance Team started up in 2015 and since then has continued to thrive. For several years the team has cheered at every football and basketball game held on island. Cheer Coach Louise Manley and Dance Coach Melinda Yamashita make it all possible. Throughout the season, cheerleaders gain many skills, as well as a sense of self and a sense of belonging. You can always count on seeing our Molokai cheerleaders on the sidelines of games, with the utmost support and pride for our island.
Practices are held Monday through Friday from 2:30-4:30 p.m. We work on countless cheers, jumps, and of course our halftime dance. This football season we have 10 cheerleaders, nine girls and one boy.
Cheerleading “gives students a creative outlet to express themselves and foster school spirit,” said Coach Yamashita.
It is a chance to improve our creative capabilities as well as our physical health. We have gained many skills throughout the season such as teamwork, leadership, communication, confidence, and commitment. All of which will prove to be beneficial throughout our lives, especially in our choices of professions.
Being a cheerleader requires far more courage than you might imagine. Aside from cheering we also perform our halftime show choreographed by Coach Yamashita. She explained that “performing builds a deep sense of confidence that extends into all areas of life.”
Performing in front of an audience is not an easy thing to do, especially when the crowd is your community, filled with family, friends, and peers.
“Cheerleaders have to face their fears and overcome [them] while leading others to do likewise,” said Coach Manley. The cheerleaders find it in themselves to push past their comfort zone and pull off outstanding performances.
Behind the scenes of the sparkly pom poms and big bows, the girls build trust within one another as well as with the coaches. Our team becomes like a second family. Knowing we have people to go to that will back us up when things get hard makes practice feel like an escape from all of our problems.
“I find great pleasure in not only promoting cheer as a sport but also in helping to facilitate personal growth in each cheerleader, as well as growth of school spirit and team morale,” explained Coach Manley.
With such an outgoing role in the school and community comes the possibility of criticism. This is where our sense of self is built. To decipher who we are and what we think of ourselves is what matters the most and is the only way to truly grow.
Here at Molokai High School, we as cheerleaders will always strive to keep up the school spirit. Through cheerleading we have learned and gained so much. We will continue aiming to inspire athletes as well as the community with our uplifting spirits.