Grandparents Day - Mid-Pacific Institute

Elementary School Principal's Blog

Grandparents Day

Posted on March 2, 2007

by Scott Yoshinaga on March 2, 2007

The highlight of this week is undoubtedly the Grandparents’ Day celebration this past Wednesday. Almost 500 guests — grandparents, family members and friends — joined us in students’ classrooms for lunch and presentations. Students read pieces of writing they had written, explained their inquiry projects, conducted interviews, and played games.

The high-energy program, which followed in the gym, was a sharing of our integrated music and physical education curriculum. P.E. specialist Pam Jenkins and music specialist Diane Koshi took turns commenting on the students’ presentations, which included students’ own GarageBand compositions to accompany their partnered and individual jump rope routines, dance (the polka and Virginia Reel!), demonstrations of body balance, and use of rhythm sticks. It was readily apparent how the students’ ability to integrate complex skills requiring the coordination of movement, body control, listening, and spatial awareness increases as they get older. The preschoolers shared Japanese songs related to counting and movement. The MPI Choir sang two impressive selections.

But I just have to say that the finale brought home the reason again why I just love what I do. All students from kindergarten through fifth grade took their places on the gym floor, standing proud and tall in their respective class lines, and sang the traditional Shaker hymn, Simple Gifts, one of our chapel songs. Their voices were crisp, bright, and strong. Then they quickly turned the gym into a festive, hand-clapping atmosphere as each of the classes danced the Virginia Reel, the younger classes using simple steps and the older students really kicking it up several notches with more complex swings and foot movement. What a rousing ending!

We’re grateful to Pam Jenkins and Diane Koshi for the commendable job they do inspiring our students’ learning. Many, many thanks to the `Ohana, particularly Nicole Chung and parent volunteers from Multiage 3-4, who assisted with the name tags, the grandparents’ lunch, and clean-up.

Students were in for a special treat on Tuesday afternoon. Quinn Kelsey, a former Pac-Five football player, UH Lab alumnus, and former voice student of Diane Koshi, visited with several classes in the dining room to talk about opera and his avocation as a baritone. As he demonstrated operatic singing, the children were mesmerized by his commanding stage presence. Several students in grades 3-5 also saw him perform again in the role of Consul Sharpless in the Hawaii Opera Theater production of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly at the NBC Concert Hall this past Wednesday night. In fact, we also saw music teacher Diane Koshi perform as one of the geisha in the opera production.

The Middle School is preparing for their production, Once on This Island, March 9-11. Five of our multiage 3-4 students have been balancing rehearsals and homework responsibilities to get ready for the production over the past month. We’re proud Shayna C., Maia S., Lauren T., Ke`ala O., and Taylor K. for their commitment. Students in grades 3-5 will be attending the performance on March 9. We’re looking forward to it!

There will be a Scholastic book fair, March 13-15, at the computer lab in Kawaiaha`o, coordinated by the school librarians. Teachers have been invited to take their students to preview the items for sale and complete a wish list, which will be brought home. Your child’s teacher will take students to the book fair to purchase the books. Students may pay cash or pay with a check made payable to MPI.

As I write today’s letter, Ms. Holzman’s and Mrs. Fukumoto’s multiage third and fourth grade students are on their Big Island tour, which complements their year-long study of Hawaii. Next week, the remaining multiage 3-4 classes, led by Tiffany Byrne and Leah Lorenzana, will be taking their students on the same tour.

Lost & found: a black sweater was left in the gym on Grandparents’ Day.

Hoping for a sunny weekend ahead!

For our children,

Edna L. Hussey