By Leland Kim
EWA BEACH (KHNL) -- A major shakeup stuns James Campbell High School in Ewa Beach, after two coaches are fired. It leaves an athletic program in limbo, and a group of cheerleaders wondering what happened.
The coaches were let go Wednesday, after an alleged "unauthorized function" with the team. Now they're out of a job, and the cheerleaders don't have anyone to guide them.
Campbell High School's cheerleaders are some of the best in Hawaii. They made it to state finals last month. For many, cheerleading is the best part of their day.
"The fact that I have all these great people," said Caitlin Jackson, a sophomore cheerleader at Campbell. "They are basically my second family. They help me a lot."
But now, the program is in jeopardy after its two coaches were fired Wednesday. Athletic Director Sam Delos Reyes said the team did not have his approval to go to the state championship, and miss school the following day. But the coaches say they got approval from assistant athletic director Glenn Flores.
"This exact words to me were, 'Just go ahead and submit the names of everyone going,' to him and then he would submit it," said former Head Cheerleading Coach Scott Sampaio.
Sampaio did that, and even got permission forms signed by parents and teachers. But apparently he needed the athletic director's permission. So the coaches were fired.
"I was hurt. I didn't know what to say," said Sampaio. "I told him we did a lot for this program. In the two years I've been here, Campbell has made it to the championships, and prior to that they hadn't made it until five years before."
"It was really hard and all of us were crying our eyes out, and we didn't know what to do because cheerleading is basically our life," said Jackson. "We commit everything to it."
The school says all of the cheerleaders are still on the team, and the program will continue for the rest of the school year. But the cheerleaders say, it would not be the same without Sampaio.
"He's been with us through the positive and negative, and he helped us out so much and he made us a stronger team," said Jackson. "And if the administration brings in a whole other person, then it's just going to be like wasting our time and we don't believe they can help us as much as Coach Scott can."
The cheerleaders say, this has unnecessarily disrupted the team and hurt school morale.
"This kind of shows the school doesn't really support the team," said Jackson. "It's like they just don't want us or something."