Hoku Mariano-Pinto, Kahuku Varsity Cheerleader
Photo by Edward Jackson
For Hoku Mariano-Pinto becoming a cheerleader for Kahuku
High School is a dream come true.
cheerleading squad is like many others. The girls, who range in age from 14 to
18, show their spirit by cheering loudly to the crowds in their red and white
uniforms. They run, cheer and jump, as they encourage their school’s athletic
not many students like Hoku, who has a disability, make attempts to become a symbol
for determination in this school activity.
Participating with the cheerleading team
fulfills not only a dream for Hoku, but knocks down many barriers that some may
have thought was not possible.
“Her cheering for our school’s football team has helped
energize our players to perform at their best,” says Kahuku football coach
Reggie Torres, whose team won its seventh HHSAA state championship in November.
“At our pep rallies, Hoku brings excitement and spirit. She has evolved into
being the central person for leading the cheers,” said Torres.
“Soon after she started high school she approached myself
and her dad about wanting to become a cheerleader,” said Hoku’s mother Selina
Mariano. “We thought that this was some thing that was a passing thought, but
then she kept asking us. So we spoke to school officials about her desires and
they gladly sought a way for her to try out for the squad.”
Kawai Ah Quin, head cheerleader coach, says Hoku is
treated like any other student. “Hoku had to learn our routines and the various
steps. Otherwise she would not be participating. We allowed her certain exceptions
in regards to jumps, but Hoku has done an exceptional job of learning and being
social with the members of the squad,” said Ah Quin. “I saw no reason not to
include her as part of the squad and every since she has performed supremely,”
Ah Quin added.
Last season Hoku was on the junior varsity and moved up
to the varsity team this school year.
“She shares her joy and love with all of the school,”
says her father Timothy Pinto. Lots of fans come to games to see her excitement
about cheering Kahuku to victory.”
Selina Mariano emphasized that cheerleading has helped
Hoku become a better student. “She‘s
more focused in her school work and has more confidence. But most of all she
brings a spirit of light to the community on the North Shore.”