Giving birth to an opera production -- a learning process! - Mid-Pacific Institute

Elementary School Principal's Blog

Giving birth to an opera production -- a learning process!

Posted on March 13, 2008

by Dr. Edna Hussey on March 13, 2008

We gathered together at today’s monthly assembly to share for the first time the students’ work on various committees to produce the opera Kahalaopuna, Princess of Manoa, commemorating MPI’s 100th year in Manoa. Spokespersons from classes doing set design, costume/wig/makeup, props, development, publicity/tickets, and program provided status reports of their progress. Two classrooms are working together on various aspects of the production. What became clearer at today’s assembly was the fact that the opera is indeed a schoolwide collaboration, which entails the thinking and creativity of many students. The “first thoughts” of our production process are posted in the dining room. The Leadership Team, organized by the fifth graders, will be composed of two representatives from each committee who’ll report on their respective committees. The meetings will be every Friday in April.  We’ll try to provide updates via the classroom weblogs on our production process. And then, to the amazement of every teacher and parent who attended the assembly, the students sang the “setting” number, which in an opera provides a summary of the plot, main characters, and problem to be resolved. We’re even more excited about the opera and can see it slowly taking shape.
Ms. Koshi shared with the students at the assembly a few of the student pieces entered in the design contest. The winning designs will be used on various items, such as a commemorative t-shirt, posters, program cover, tickets, etc. As I was leaving school this evening, a team of four judges was just beginning to review the artwork and have the most difficult task of selecting a few pieces from a field of at least 80. One of the entries was a chocolate cake decorated with an opera design (the cake was delicious!).  

Parents were invited to the screening/meeting this morning of Kahalaopuna. Ms. Koshi, artistic director for the opera, answered their questions about parent involvement. We know there are many of you who are willing to volunteer expertise and manpower, but we ask that you allow the creative genius of our students to develop the ideas first before they come to you for assistance. We want this production to be truly student-centered and student-powered so that they can benefit fully from this learning experience. Don’t worry — they’ll contact you!

“The bus is here! The bus is here!”  After a two-month wait, our MPI school bus returned spanking new with a fresh coat of bright orange-yellow paint and shiny black trim work. ‘Twas considerably more than just a paint job requiring extensive rust work and replacement of window molding. We’re just waiting for bus signage. Honk your horn for parent James Berger who arranged for the work with W & S auto body shop. The faculty is delighted to see the bus back at home and have begun scheduling excursions again.

The buzz in school was all about the pizza lunch today and tomorrow’s Ho`olaule`a. Many thanks to the generosity of MPI Board Chair James Kometani, Pizza Hut Hawaii, and Sodexho for the lunch and Easter treat. Students and the faculty enjoyed the pizza, fruit, carrot sticks, and beverage.

At this point, your child’s classroom teacher would have already informed you of any logistics about Ho`olaule`a, e.g., pickup, supervision, scrip, etc. Your child should have taken his/her backpack and any other belongings home. Please make sure your child wears the uniform MPI t-shirt or a Ho`olaule`a t-shirt and appropriate footwear (we suggest athletic shoes).  If your child is leaving school earlier than the usual dismissal time, make sure you have contacted your child’s teacher directly or the school office.

Bring your entire family to this community event, which closes at 7:00pm. Note: The gym will have games and activities appropriate for preschool through middle-school-aged children. We are looking forward to sunny weather and a safe, fun time for all at the 2008 MPI Ho`olaule`a.

When I met with the `Ohana on Wednesday night, several parents requested that I reconsider the uniform policy explained in last week’s Thursday letter.  Here it is: Students should wear the uniform MPI t-shirt daily. However, during this school year only until the end of May, students may wear on any day of the week the 1908 t-shirt commemorating our 100th year in Manoa.  On Fridays only, students may wear an MPI-related t-shirt such as any Ho’olaule`a t-shirt or Big Island t-shirt.

It has been an exciting week of learning. I attended the space inquiry presentations by the kindergartners, a delightful performance in the form of a play. The fifth graders presented their Ancestor projects (an investigation of immigration to the U.S), which included a poster display of generations, and in particular, one student’s family dating back to the 1600s in colonial America. The fifth graders are also nearing completion of their totem structure project, an extension of their study of Native Americans.

During the two-week spring break, the elementary office will be open daily, 7:00am-3:30pm, except Good Friday. Students return to school on March 31.

I hope you enjoy some family time with your children, whether on trips off-island or right here at home. Just ahead is St. Patrick’s Day, and of course, Easter Sunday next week. I have meetings, reports, and some books lined up to read (fiction). Looking forward to a few days off as well. And when we all return on March 31, it’ll be a roller coaster ride to the end of this wonderful school year!


For our children,

Edna L. Hussey