Star-Bulletin Features

Monday, October 8, 2001


Remember 9-11-01

Students cheered on the Pearl City Chargers at the
Homecoming game on Sept. 22 against the
Radford Rams.

Spirit prevails
over despair

In the sad aftermath of the
Sept. 11 attacks, the Chargers
pull off a colorful homecoming


By Amanda Shober, Laurie Au and Sarah Mires

2001 had many firsts for Pearl City High School.

Art While most will soon try to forget a huge loss to the Radford Rams in the homecoming football game, the overall homecoming had a huge impact on the students and the surrounding community.

For the first time, Homecoming Spirit Week lasted two weeks, the original football game against the Kaiser Cougars was canceled, the community parade changed venue, and a different homecoming game was played against the Radford Rams.

The Sept. 11 attacks prompted public schools in Hawaii to halt all co-curricular activities. The Chargers were devastated, as the stoppage fell in the middle of their homecoming activities. But the Chargers picked themselves up and showed the entire Pearl City community what spirit and determination can do.

Spirit Week

What started out as a week to celebrate the 2001 "Bring It On!" Football Homecoming during Sept. 10-14 came to a standstill after the attacks. Normally upbeat activities turned somber.

"People didn't have spirit because of the incident in New York, and they didn't feel like doing anything," junior Aya Watanabe said.

An assembly kicked off the week Monday. On Tuesday, many people, unaware of the tragedy earlier that day, came to school in the retro outfits and radical designs appropriate for Flashback Day. However, Principal Gerald Suyama called off lunch activities out of respect.

With no official word on the postponement of activities, Wednesday's dress-up of Look-alike Day and the lunch activity of Twister went on as scheduled. That day, schools Superintendent Paul LeMahieu canceled all co-curricular activities indefinitely.

The players wore American flags on their helmets
in honor of those who perished in the Sept. 11
terrorist attacks.

"I think people were spirited at first, but after the tragedy it didn't feel like it was a time to be happy," said cheerleader Keri Ichikawa.

After the weekend, the new homecoming game against Radford was announced, and the pep rally assembly was rescheduled for Friday. As President Bush and so many others would suggest to America, Pearl City was to "start rebuilding and moving on with our lives in a normal fashion."

On Friday, Sept. 21, Pearl City Pride Day found many students and teachers wearing purple and white or class shirts to show their spirit. Kutmaster Spaz energized the crowd at the pep rally with give-aways from Pepsi and Sassy magazine. All it would take were some encouraging words to get the students pumped up again and exhibit that never-give-up determination.

Community parade

A tradition since 1974, the annual homecoming parade featuring the award-winning Charger band snaked three miles downhill from Pearl City High through residential streets to Waimano Home Road, ending at Pacheco Park.

Leading off Saturday's parade, the marching band energized the members and the audience with rousing renditions of "Kohala March" and "Hawaiian War Chant."

Promenading after the band, the king and queen, seniors William Vaana and Claudette Tupino, were beaming to the crowd in white attire.

The freshmen proudly displayed their float, the mouse Jerry from "Tom and Jerry," emphasizing the homecoming theme of "Bring It On." The freshman escort and attendant were Christopher Alesna and Jenna Chan.

Sophomores followed with escort and attendant Michael Fujimori and Steffany Quillopo. Marching with their float from "The Jetsons," the sophomores stood out in their orange-and-blue class shirts.

Behind the sophomores came the junior class with their banner, "Mario." The junior escort and attendant, Joel Akimoto and Christina Patino, rode along in their designated green Mustang convertible.

Finishing the parade was the class of 2002. The seniors had the largest number of marchers accompanying their float, which incorporated the theme "We Came, We Saw, We Will Conquer." The senior escort and attendant were Radley Balde and Dara Ching.

Each class collected funds from the crowd for the American Disaster Relief Fund and passed out candy and balloons to the children. The school family thanks the generous friends, family and the community for supporting this event and putting up with the traffic congestion.

A senior, Jarisse Corcoran, summed up the feeling of the parade: "The proudest thing is to walk down Waimano Home with everyone waiting in their cars, honking their horns, just waiting in traffic. You realize then how proud you are to be a Pearl City Charger."

The game

The football game was held later Saturday. Senior captain Devin Sakuma expressed great disappointment over the rescheduling but put things in perspective. "I'm a bit disappointed, but it ain't too bad, 'cause the situation in New York is much more important than the homecoming game."

To honor the fallen Americans, a moment of silence was shared. The support of the alumni and fans was obvious with many flags, big and small. Also prominent were the class colors of red, blue, gray and orange at Bino Neves Stadium.

Senior varsity players wanted so much to win, which would have been an authoritative clincher for all of the efforts that helped Pearl City rise above the difficulties. But even with their fighting spirit, the Chargers were outmatched by the Rams and lost 35-0.

Still, the Chargers held their heads high with Pearl City pride, knowing their spirit never faltered and their efforts were not in vain.

The recovery

Like the entire country, Pearl City mourns the deaths of Americans. As history has shown, America rebounds and rises stronger and more united than before.

"Bring It On!" was the theme of Homecoming 2001, and that's exactly what the Chargers did. It took great effort to put all the arrangements back together to still have homecoming and not just have it canceled.

It was a huge undertaking involving the entire school, faculty, alumni and the community. The Chargers overcame the hardships and helped the community move forward. Home is where the heart is.


About this page

Each week, Hawaii's teenage reporters and photographers will tell us about their high school. This week's school is Pearl City High.

Newspaper: The Messenger

Editors: Laurie Au and Amanda Shober

Faculty adviser: Brian Kawauchi

Setting: A 52-acre campus nestled in the Koolau mountains overlooking Pearl Harbor. The school services Pearl City, Momilani, Manana, Palisades and Waiau surrounding areas.

Founded: 1971

Number of students: 1,990

Number of faculty: 147

Address: 2100 Hookiekie St.,
Pearl City, HI 96782

Principal: Gerald Suyama

School Colors: Purple and white

Mascot: Home of the Chargers

Alma mater:

Pearl City High School,
Alma Mater Dear,
We are proud, loyal and true
To our name we hold up high.
From the Koolau Range we come forth,
Ready to accept the right,
For we are strong, honest and true to thee,
Pearl City High.

Next week: Baldwin High

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