Haiku, Volleyball and more - Mid-Pacific Institute

Elementary School Principal's Blog

Haiku, Volleyball and more

Posted on April 17, 2008

by Dr. Edna Hussey on April 17, 2008

Waves crash on the shore
Wind washes all the colors
Gently on the shore.
                  -- Trisha Hirano, 5th grade

Congratulations to Trisha for her winning haiku, which was also illustrated in stunning watercolors. From 2,004 haiku entries in the 10th World Children Haiku Contest 2008 sponsored by Japan Airlines, Trisha’s piece was selected as one of 50 outstanding finalists.  The judges were two scholars from the University of Hawaii and two executives from Japan Airlines. Trisha will receive a certificate, a book, a small gift, and the honor of being one of the outstanding finalists. Congratulations also to Mrs. Hoddick, fifth grade language arts teacher, and Tracey Stewart, UH-Manoa student art teacher, who is being mentored by Ms. Brooks, grades 1-5 art teacher.

The MPI Boys’ Varsity Volleyball Team (8-3) joined us at our assembly in the dining room this morning to introduce themselves and talk briefly about volleyball. They asked the preschool and elementary students to attend the big game versus Kamehameha on Friday, April 25, 6:00pm, in the MPI gym.  We hope that you and your family will join us at the volleyball game to cheer our team. (There is no admission fee for MPI students. Tickets are available at the box office outside the gym.)  The volleyball team will be having lunch and recess with the students on Tuesday, April 22.  When Coach Bill Villa, MPI’s athletic director, asked the children how many would like to play volleyball in middle school or high school, nearly the entire student body eagerly raised their hands.  Looks like we have a school filled with future athletes!

Fifth graders on the Opera Leadership Team led the information session that followed the volleyball team.  Please note that all of the opera work is being managed by the students with teacher guidance. To summarize: a database is being updated to include all donors’ names (e.g., donations of foam core, costume yardage, lumber); the program committee will be interviewing the opera principals (lead vocalists) for information to be included in the program brochure as well as writing a synopsis of the opera and Hawaiian terms; volunteer parents will be coming in for the second work day to paint sets and sew costumes; and the props committee has begun making fish and will begin building Hawaiian sleds. The set and costume designs are based on the student sketches.

You may recall several weeks ago an art contest Ms. Koshi organized to find artistic designs for various opera components, such as a program brochure cover, banner, backdrop, tickets, and flyers. The winners, mostly from kindergarten through second grade, were announced at the assembly: BW, MH, MW, SD, KS-T, DJN, DE, and KJ.  Special honors to BK, whose decorated chocolate cake easily won as the most delicious and most unique entry (Ms. Koshi did say any medium!).

Students in all the multiage third and fourth grades participated in an inquiry related to the celebration of our 100th year in Manoa.  Their eight-week inquiry of the ahupua`a of Manoa culminated in a two-day exploration from the uka (mountains) of Manoa to the wai (ocean). With strong support from parent John Clark who helped chart the course, the students visited Manoa Chinese Cemetery, Koganji Temple, the lo'i at the UH Hawaiian Studies site (to understand the cultivation of kalo or taro), and Waikiki Beach, and took an invigorating catamaran ride.  Then all the multiage third- and fourth-grade families gathered in Scudder Hall for a Hawaiian dinner of kalua pig, lomi salmon, poi, poke, and other delicacies. The students explained some photo slides of their adventures at the assembly.

We have a faculty with many hidden talents, which we try to highlight at the assemblies.  This morning, Mrs. Roth re-lived a previous career (before teaching) as Giggles the Clown by performing a few magic tricks. Ask your child which trick was the best. I personally liked the one where she pulled paper from my ear. Hilarious.

The exit from the assembly was a show in itself. As the students left, they sang the theme song from Kahalaopuna, the opera, with bright, clear, animated voices. It’s just less than four weeks before the performances on May 9-10 in the gym. To clarify: all students are expected to perform both nights (6:00pm) since it is a regular production. However, parents are not expected to attend both performances. Please remember to call 441-3806 for free tickets. This is a special performance celebrating our 100th year in Manoa, and it is open to the general public.   

Later this morning in the dining room, students from preschool through second grade attended a puppet show of original pieces written by Ms. Coco Weil’s eighth-grade class. The vignettes’ central themes focused on friendship, sharing, honesty, and reconciliation.The eighth graders’ cleverly designed sock puppets became convincing characters. In no time at all, our preschoolers and others were interacting gleefully by calling out responses or joining in the singing. This eighth-grade theater class prepares students for more complex levels of theater production they will experience in high school.  

If you’ve been following my weekly Thursday letters on the website, you may recall reading Chapter One about the preschool petition for “0 (zero) fake grass” by the play structure.  Chapter Two entails more negotiation. I met with the 4-member committee earlier this week to discuss possible alternative sites.  After showing them the landscape architect’s designs (to which they attended with impressive focus and seriousness), we walked together to the play structure.  These four-year-olds pointed out two possible locations where they have unearthed the most bugs and “crystals.”  The areas seemed feasible, until the next day when I met with the contractor, who explained that these two areas are most prone to flooding when it rains. The primary reason for covering the open dirt areas with artificial grass is to decrease the runoff onto Maile Way during heavy rains or flooding. Left unchecked, the play area will erode and eventually leave less play area around the play structure.

So I will be meeting with the children again to negotiate yet another area, which, I’m confident, will earn their approval.  See next week’s Thursday letter for Chapter Three of “Zero Fake Grass, Please.”  Never underestimate the importance of playing in the dirt.

For our children,

Edna L. Hussey