Kekaha Panthers’ humble spirit lives on

There were no parades, no celebration parties, no bells and whistles, just the quiet rumble of a proud team from Kekaha, Kaua‘i that placed 2nd in the nation at last week’s 2005 Pop Warner National Cheer Championships held at Disney’s Wide World of SportsTM in Orlando, FL.

The Kekaha Panthers Junior Pee Wee Spirit Squad competed with the nation’s best cheerleaders in the Large Intermediate Division on Tuesday, December 6, 2005. It was a satisfyingly familiar situation for these young athletes who also held the title of 2004 National Champions n Junior Pee Wee Small Novice Division. Kekaha’s Cheer Coordinator, Mila Rapanot, comments, “We’re extremely honored to have the opportunity to represent Kaua`i, and although we acknowledge that this is a huge accomplishment, we also remind our girls that humility is what brought us this far, and we need to maintain that same humility throughout”.

In addition to Kekaha’s participation, Kaua`i was well represented at this prestigious Pop Warner event by the Hanapepe Colts Junior Pee Wee Large Novice (8th Place), the Lihue Patriots Junior Pee Wee Small Novice (19th Place) and the Lihue Patriots Pee Wee Small Novice (11th Place). All of the Kaua`i spirit squads were great crowd pleasers as a result of their warm smiles and genuine aloha spirit. These ladies prove to be true ambassadors for our state as they have a history of being nominated for the event’s Spirit of Sportsmanship Award.

“Coordinating this trip was a long hard road of fundraisers, solicitation, and the dedication of our family and association volunteers” says Kurt Toma, KPWA president. “Thanks to the support of our small community and local businesses, we’ve been able to witness our spirit squads shine over a history of seven years at nationals.” Pop Warner was founded in 1929, and since then has flourished. The organization Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc. (PWLS), as it is known today, is the only national youth sports organization that requires scholastic aptitude to participate.

In addition to scholastics, its programs seek to develop well-rounded young men and women. For more information on the 2005 Pop Warner Super Bowl & National Cheer and Dance Championships, please visit


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