Cheerleading takes student to London

Brannagan Mukaisu, reporter

“Practice till you bleed, don’t chase after success, prepare for it”

and “go hard or go home,” said Tenemane Malufau-Howell (12), a cheerleader at McKinley High School. Over the winter break, Malufau-Howell went to London to cheer for and represent Hawaii as well as the United States of America. She was the only one from Hawaii to go.

Not only does she cheer for MHS, she is also a cheerleader for the Universal Cheerleaders Association, and the Na Hoku All Stars. Through UCA, Malufau-Howell was chosen to go to London to participate in the New Year’s Day London Parade.

The opportunity to go to London arose when she attended a UCA Camp last summer with the entire MHS cheerleading squad. During the camp, they learned many different team-building activities and cheer skills.

At the end of the camp, “we had to go through a test,” said Malufau-Howell. She said they were tested on a “jump sequence, dance, also cheer, and whoever got the most points got to go to London.”

Malufau-Howell started cheerleading when she was 14 years old and was part of the MHS cheer squad for her Junior Varsity year (9th and 10th grade). In her junior year, she joined the Na Hoku All Stars team, which is an outside competitive cheerleading league, where she competed in the Las Vegas Jamz Nationals. In her senior year, she returned to cheer for MHS and got this chance to go to London.

“I missed cheering with friends, rallies, and MHS games,” she said.

Malufau-Howell has been cheerleading for a total of four years, but within the last year she has cheered for three different teams, Na Hoku All Stars in February, MHS Cheer Squad in May, and UCA in December.

She said in London she “had an amazing time, just to see all the historic sites, and learn more about the culture or the food.”

She left Hawaii with UCA on December 26 and returned from London on January 3, having to fly for 32 hours, a 16 hour flight each way. To pass the time she spent her time reading, sleeping and watching “Burlesque.”

In order to prepare for the parade, Malufau-Howell said, “what Varsity does, is it’s this huge company, and the coaches do not have time to teach 300 girls and boys, because there were maybe about 900 cheerleaders all together and on top of that, there’s family and friends all in the hotel, so it’s like this big “Bring It On” movie in real life, so what they do is they sent out our uniforms, pompoms, a DVD that we had to learn a month and a half prior to when we left, we learned it, and then once we get up there we are expected to know it, we have one rehearsal date and then we go straight into the parade.”

Varsity and UCA are two companies that go hand in hand, Varsity makes the uniforms for UCA. At the parade, they cheered for two hours.

In the parade there were not only cheerleaders, but “all different types of acts going on… all at once,”

The parade was televised as well as shown online at

During her eight day stay in London, she stayed at the Guoman Tower and visited the Millennium Dome which has more than 600 stairs, visited cathedrals, plays, and went on a cruise.

“We went to the London Eye which is this big Ferris wheel that takes a good 40 minutes to go around just once,” said Malufau-Howell.

“The money exchange was very new to me. The value of the dollar is super low. 60 American dollars is equivalent to 34 pounds,” she said.

Another experience was the food. “The cuisine that I also tasted was the local fish and chips, and the chips were actually pretty big. They weren’t the size of actual fries in America. It was the size of my middle finger. It was the smallest chip I’ve seen in London,” she said.

“London had a lot of baked foods, more baked food in their fast food restaurants,” she said.

“I was pretty surprised because a lot of the restaurants they do not fry it, they bake it, so the burgers they bake it, and the fries they bake it. The gelato was more authentic up there because they made it from scratch.” Malufau-Howell said, “The people are very straightforward so they don’t say, ‘Excuse me I’m sorry’ in the tube aka subway. The people were really nice when you talked to them and they had very thick accents.”

What she found to be funny was everyone in London told her she had an accent. The languages and cultures she encountered in London consisted of French, English, Irish, Slovakian and Russian. For a future in cheerleading, Malufau-Howell said,

Through her cheerleading journey, Malufau-Howell says the best part of being a cheerleader is “being a role model for some of the younger children and getting into shape because cheerleading is a pretty hard sport.”

Her advice is to always “stay positive, take chances, challenge and focus on yourself. Put heart and soul into your dreams (110%)…. Representing your school is the best thing you could do as a cheerleader.”

Find out more out Universal Cheerleaders Association at