NORAINI Harun from the Pirates of SMK Cochrane totally deserved to win the MARIGOLD HL Low Fat Milk Teacher of the Year award at Cheer 2013.

From forming a cheerleading team to forking out her own money to send her cheerleaders to competitions, Noraini, 33, has been more than a teacher to her students.

“She is like a mother to us, making sure that we receive immediate treatment if any of us are injured, sewing rhinestones on our uniforms and preparing breakfast for us when we have to leave early for competitions,” said team captain Low Chee Seng, 19.

After the Pirates’ performance, her eyes welled with tears of joy as she spoke proudly about her cheerleaders.

“They are my family. I want them to learn about life, that if you really want something, you can do it,” she said.

Noraini was the backbone of the team. She stood up for them when the school objected to the idea of having a cheerleading team. She even postponed her marriage for six years and delayed buying a car.

Noraini has touched the hearts of many students, most of whom are not well off and some even from broken families.

“When everyone else gave up on them, she did not,” pointed out Shiveh Sivalingam Moorthy, 35, the Pirates co-teacher advisor who nominated Noraini for the award.


It all started six years ago. Noraini encouraged a few passionate students to pursue their dream of competing in Cheer, promising to help them along the way.

The Pirates did not receive any support from the school and Noraini paid for the team’s registration fee and uniforms herself.

She has been doing this every year since 2008, and has taken care of the necessary fees to allow the cheerleaders to compete (she recovers the costs if the team wins).

And despite all their financial woes, the team has had new uniforms annually.

To this, Noraini simply said: “I want them to look good.”

Cheer 2013 is the last time the Pirates will compete as themselves. Noraini has been promoted and will move to another school.

“The whole team will be leaving with her because no one is willing take over and put in the effort like Noraini had,” said Shiveh.

Hers are certainly big shoes to fill.

“All my former cheerleaders have gone on to university,” said Noraini proudly. “And they come back every year to support their juniors.”

On whether she will form another cheerleading team in her new school, SMK Seri Permaisuri,
Noraini said she would as long as the students have the interest.

When it was announced that she had won the award, Noraini humbly said: “I finished what I started.”

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