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Ulani Phillips — Lovejoy High School

Student of the Month

Ulani Phillips has a sunny disposition with a sparkle in her eyes that matches her heart. 

The name Ulani means "cheerful," which perfectly fits her personality. The youngest of five, together the first letters of the siblings’ names spell J-E-S-U-S.

Their family is close, the kind of closeness that comes from being forged in the fire. When Ulani was 13, her mother was diagnosed with cancer. “Ulani sat with me and encouraged me to eat, saying, ‘Here Mom, try this!’ She was so supportive.”

Ulani understands the importance of delighting in the little things like going to Whataburger with her cheer squad after games or having special “eat all the fun cereals for dinner” nights with her mom.

“She’s the sweetest,” says her mom, “She just skips through life.”

But don’t mistake her sweetness for weakness.

Being a competitive cheerleader requires determination and dedication, strong physical and mental strength, and the ability to stay laser focused. 

“The "Cheer" series accurately describes how rigorous the sport is,” explains Ulani.

A self-proclaimed introverted extrovert, she gives her all on the field, but needs time alone to recharge afterwards. “I definitely have a social battery that needs to be recharged after performing.”

What’s next for Ulani? Every year during Spring Break, the family visits the same resort in Cozumel that they’ve frequented for years. When people ask them why they return to the same place over and over, they say it’s because they’ve made friends with the staff — they all know each other by name and keep in touch with each other throughout the year. “We’ve become like family!”

She’s also gearing up for her last year as a varsity cheerleader. “Two years ago, Lovejoy’s Cheer Team won 3rd in UIL, and this year we won 2nd, so next year we’re aiming for 1st!”

What She’s Watching: New Girl

Who She’s Following: Lily Chee

5 lessons Ulani Learned from Cheer:

  1. You’re not going anywhere if you don’t try

  2. Communicate

  3. Give it your everything

  4. Leave it on the mat

  5. You can do anything for 2 minutes and 30 seconds