New pep rally format brings new tradition?


Photo by Tre Cravalho

Everyone demonstrates the new blocking cheer–“paku”–to be used at volleyball. Students learned this and other Hawaiian language cheers at the homecoming pep rally, Sept. 18, in Ka’ulaheanuiokamoku gym.

Kamehameha Maui’s first attempt at a traditional pep rally during Homecoming Week was met with mixed reactions.

(See “Voices” at the bottom of this story.)

In place of the traditional class competitions, all activities were designed to unify the students to get excited about the homecoming carnival and game.

(See our previous coverage about the change to the format by clicking here.)

Whether the format will be continued is still up for discussion. Senior Kiana Kanoa, publicity chair for the Associated Students of Kamehameha Schools Maui, said that nothing had been decided by the time student government met yesterday afternoon.

The ASKSM officers and student activities coordinator, Ms. Naomi Ashman, will be checking with staff and students in the near future to get input on the rally and the rest of the homecoming week festivities.

The rally, held Friday, Sept. 18, at Kaʻulaheanuiokamoku gymnasium, began when the bleachers filled up with a flood of white-shirted teenagers as the KSM high school band played cheerful tunes that pumped the students up and set the atmosphere.

Both students in the stands and the musicians were excited that the band was there.

“The band was more than effective…it was infectious!” band member Mariana Kaniho said.

Hawaiian language students helped get students motivated to cheer for their sports teams by demonstrating four new cheers in Hawaiian for students to perform at sporting events. They had the chance to try them almost immediately at the volleyball game Friday night, which was heavily attended and filled with cheers, including the new ones.

The cheerleaders also led the student body through two older cheers, running through them a few times so that students could get the hand motions down to use in the stands during the homecoming game. Afterwards, the cheerleaders performed a new dance routine that had the audience cheering and shouting their approval.

The brand new junior cheer squad, made up of about thirty middle school (this information has been updated) elementary school students, also performed and led the high school through a round of the fight song, “I Mua Kamehameha.” Senior Hannah Patrick debuted the new team, which she formed and trained for her senior project.

“The baby cheerleaders stole the show. They were extremely cute,” Mrs. Ashman said.

Captains of each fall sport–football, volleyball, cross country, bowling, and air-riflery– took to the microphones to encourage students to attend their games and cheer them on.

This was the first time that all captains were called upon to speak, and most had little to say, with the notable exception of sophomore Lily Gavagan, who spoke well about upcoming cross country meets, telling students where and when they could go to support the team.

“I wish the students were more enthusiastic, especially the athletes, because the whole pep rally is really about them, and they should be more happy to be there,” Mrs. Ashman said.

The biggest change was the addition of a new Warriors mascot– a student dressed as Kamehameha himself. He pranced around the court of the gymnasium to rile up the students. He performed his own versions of the cheers and successfully got students to stand up while the cheerleaders were performing.

In the future, ASKSM emcees Kanoa and Kauilani Lonzaga said, students can bring the mascot out by stomping and clapping rhythmically.

To close out the event, all classes unified on the court to sing the alma mater, and students left the pep rally to more jazzy music from the band, while some lingered for a bit to enjoy the performance.

“With all the music, we couldn’t help but dance, and I [found] this pep rally to be very successful,” freshman Noah Auhoon said.



Here are some reactions to the pep rally that we captured in Survey Monkey:

“I think that the homecoming pep rally felt really different. For my first three years of high school, we had class cheer and we would all get super hyped up about the pep rally in general. We all had face paint and our different colors represented in different ways. But this year, we all looked the same, no one really went all out like we usually do. And I can’t say that I liked it better this way. Honestly, the only thing I liked about this year’s homecoming were the dress-up days. This is not to discredit our student government because I know they struggled with the limitations put on them this year… But I just wasn’t as excited as I usually am.” — Mahie Kama, senior

“Putting in that super murf mascot was a smart idea because it made everyone smile and brought an uprise the spirit level of the school- definitely a given for a smile.” — Mekena Carroll, freshman

“The pep rally was great fun and very exciting. It’s cool that the students were having a lot of fun with the mascot, cheerleaders, band, and even the elementary cheerleaders. But it could have been a little longer, maybe have the bands play a few more songs, and the cheerleaders do some other routines.” — Maverick Akana, freshman

“I loved the pep rally! It was a great way to boost school spirit, which is currently the highest I’ve seen it in the 4 years I’ve been in high school, and even the 13 years I’ve attended this school.” — Keola Paredes, senior

“I really liked that we finally had a prep rally going on at our school. I know that in the past we did not really have any. I think it is a good way to bring our school together. If the school keeps this up, it would create more school spirit and support for all of the sports/teams. A couple ways to make it better though is to have livelier speakers and more activities/games.” — Ofahelotu Koka, senior

“It would be more fun if it was longer, but overall it was cool. Hannah’s Keiki Warriors made it even better!” — Shaylee Yamashita, junior

“I think that it was a good way to get everybodyʻs spirit going for the football game and for other sporting events.” — Victoria Ngalu, freshman

“The Keiki Warriors and our mascot, Riley, made our whole pep rally. There wasn’t much pep from the school, emcees, or the athletes. It wasn’t really a pep rally.” — Makamae Aquino, sophomore

“I think the new homecoming rally was good. It may not have been quite as electrified as previous rallies, due to the lack of competition, but it was still fun. I also liked not having the song practices for homecoming. Perhaps if there was still some remaining element(s) of competition, such as boys’ cheer and battle of the bands, but not the same level of competition as previous years, so we can still stay unified as a school.” — Tim Osterhus, junior

“I thought it was really fun and interesting. I liked all the new cheers we learned, the warrior mascot, and the performance by the little cheerleaders. I think it would have been better if there was more time to do fun things. It felt really short, since we only had 45 minutes.” — Kalia Kalauokaaea-Kahele

“I like that our high school got to come to together to get pumped for the homecoming game but at the same time the pep rally could’ve been more fun. Maybe like adding a couple games would’ve made it a bit better.” — Leimana Puu, senior

“I liked the mascot but there wasn’t enough going on. It didn’t really get me excited for anything. Maybe we could make it an all school assembly so the entire gym would be filled or we could even have it during night time and invite our families and the public and have different activities and events.” — Kulana-Alika Wilhelm, senior

“To me, I think that the new homecoming pep rally was good because it made us have more spirit for the homecoming game. The thing that i liked the most about the pep rally is that we all worked together in learning all the different cheers and i liked seeing every student in high school participating in the cheers that we learned. To make this pep rally better, i think we should actually make it more intense so that we can get even more pumped up for the game because if we are just learning cheers the whole time, it gets kind of boring after awhile. Even though it did not pump us good enough for the game, we still tried our best to show spirit at our homecoming game. IMUA!” — Karlee Chong Kee, sophomore

“I thought it was okay for our first homecoming pep rally since I’ve been here, but I absolutely loved the little cheerleaders. They really brought the rowdiness out of our high schoolers. I really got a kick out of the new mascot. IMUA warriors!” — Saje Kanemitsu, sophomore

“I think it was so fun and the activities that we did were very interesting. It felt as if we were all more united during the rally.” — Hanalei Alapai, junior

“The pep rally was a great way to end homecoming week and I really enjoyed learning the new cheers along with seeing the Keiki Warriors Cheerleaders. So cute! I wish the fall sports teams could have gotten more involved.” — Quinn Shiraishi

“Our new mascot was awesome!!!” — Kona Dancil, senior

“I liked seeing everyone hold hands and sing our alma mater that was my favorite part of the whole thing.” — Tyson Haupu, sophomore

“I absolutely loved it. I liked that the sports got recognized because we’ve never had that before. To make it better, I would’ve let the athletes wear their uniforms like a true pep rally.” — Rebeka Revell, senior

“I like the band and the little cheerleaders. It’s could’ve been better by having special guests.” — Micah Sagabaen, senior

“I like that we recognized all the fall sports. Also it was pretty neat that we actually had a mascot. But I would like to go further into detail about all of the fall sports, like what all the athletes like about it, and not just advertise when the next game/ meet is.” — Lily Gavagan, sophomore

“I loved our mascot! I also loved Hannah’s senior project. The keiki cheerleaders were awesome!” — Kandace Ota, senior

“I liked the new mascot, but he needs a tan.” — Mr. Kealii Mossman, high school teacher

“I liked the unity of it but think the students need to get into it more. Everyone seemed quite docile.” — Kumu Kapulani, Kumu Moʻolelo Hawaiʻi

“I think that the pep rally was fun. I liked our new mascot and the cheerleaders <3 I think it is good like it is with our cheerleaders.” — Kaisyn Lee, senior

“I loved how the elementary school cheer team was incorporated! Such a great idea and I know those students were so excited to be a part of the HS pep rally!” — Waianuhea Dooge, K-12 Outreach Counselor