…for such a time as this

Stories about the adventure that is Peace Corps Tonga

Sports Days and Cheerleading

In Ha’apai, the 4 secondary schools train for a massive track and field competition each year. First, each school has “inter-house sports” where they compete against themselves to find the best of the best to send to the island wide competition. Monday and Tuesday of this week, St. Joseph’s sent its finest to compete at Ha’apai High. The sports committee at my school has been preparing for the competition for weeks. The students practice each night until 6 or 7 (and then don’t turn their homework in!) We hire outside coaches to come in and help them.

Monday morning, the festivities began at 9am (Tongan time, 10:00am American time). Each school had tents set up for their students. Parents and members of the community came to watch. There were tons of events, long jump, high jump, javelin, discus, hurdles and many long and short distance runs (the names of which escape me). The students cheer for their schools, yelling chants and cheers as well as singing their school songs. I was asked to be an official. I told them I wasn’t comfortable being a time keeper (having never done that before), they asked me to take pictures. Yes, I can do that! So for the two days I was allowed on the field to take pictures of the events. I had fun cheering my students on!
Sports days were suppose to be Monday-Wednesday, but due to Cyclone Tomas (which is supposed to be coming today), they crammed all of the events into Monday and Tuesday. I got home around 8pm last night.

The highlight of the competition for me was the cheer competition. Yes, you heard me right. Last week, I saw a piece of paper describing the requirements of the “hand washing” cheer. I asked if I could be involved and boom, I am a cheer coach! I wrote a cheer, had it translated into Tongan and we were in business. On Friday, I taught the students the words to the cheer with some help from the deputy principal. Then Saturday, 7 girls came to my house in the morning and I taught them movements to the cheer! We practiced everyday until yesterday when we performed. They did great! We even won 2nd place! $100 pa’anga! I was so proud of them and greatly enjoyed coaching them. Some of them have asked if we can continue cheering…we will see!

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4 Comments»

  Margaret wrote @

How perfect for you Jules!!! It’s such a treat to be able to get a glimpse into your life. I had you on my mind all day, so your update came at just the right time. Love you!

  juleigh wrote @

Thanks Margaret! I am glad you are enjoying the reading! Please send me an update on LA! I like your pics on FB! Miss you!

  Charissa wrote @

What cheer moves did you use?! I can just see it in my head!

  juleigh wrote @

High V’s, low V’s, T’s…this is so much fun! I am going to write to Varsity I think and ask them for some pom poms, how fun would that be!?! I will get some pics next time…I am bummed that I didn’t get them.


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