Bringing MPI together on Kite Day - Mid-Pacific Institute

Elementary School Principal's Blog

Bringing MPI together on Kite Day

Posted on May 1, 2008

by Dr. Edna Hussey on May 1, 2008

Let’s go fly a kite, up to the highest height,
Let’s go fly a kite and send it soaring,
Up through the atmosphere, up where the air is clear. . .

(If you’re recalling the words and melody to this song, you’ve watched too many re-runs of Mary Poppins.)

But fly a kite is exactly what each child did— all 251 of them from preschool through fifth grade. Every student fashioned a kite from plastic bags or paper and skewers, drew a personalized design, added lengths of tail, attached string, and presto — a kite! Pam Jenkins, our K-5 physical education teacher, provided students with some kite-flying strategies, such as running with their backs to the wind to give their kites “lift” or tugging on the line to catch the wind. At the assembly this morning, she explained the history of MPI’s Kite Day, which began in 1910 as one of the favorite pastimes of the Chinese boys who attended Mills Institute. The activity was quickly adopted as a way to build school spirit and community. Playful competition emerged — the highest-flying kite, the smallest, the largest, and the most beautiful design. And what a perfect site for kite flying where the Manoa winds frequent the campus.  For reasons unknown, Kite Day ceased around 1934 — until May 1, 2008.

If it weren’t the magic of seeing 251 preschoolers and elementary students navigating their homemade kites through the air (and it certainly was a sight to behold!), it would have been the wonder of seeing the entire school — preschool through twelfth grade — gathered altogether on the football field to celebrate the revival of Kite Day in MPI’s history. Even though each school took their turn commanding the field to avoid running into each other, it truly looked, sounded, and felt like one school where the youngest and the oldest students delighted in the great fun of kite flying. For those faculty members who have been with the elementary school for several years, it was rewarding to see their former students now in middle school or high school, racing by with kite in tow.  We saw many unique designs, such as a butterfly, a dragon, a bat, an airplane, a dragonfly, and a snake, and were thrilled by several high-flyers, even one as high as 300 feet!  Even though we returned to the elementary campus, many children were still flying their kites through recess and after school. This is most certainly a schoolwide activity that deserves annual celebration!

The fifth graders returned safe and sound from their Aloha Camp at Koke`e, Kaua`i (the YWCA Camp Sloggett) this past Monday through Wednesday. The students hiked, played, swam, sat around the campfire, ate, and reflected together on their passage from elementary school into middle school. Under a canopy of brilliant stars, the students gazed at constellations and shooting stars. They learned about the Koke`e ahupua`a (watershed) and the importance of caring for the land. More importantly, they acknowledged their individual talents and strengths that put together characterize this unique fifth grade class.  

The Multiage 1-2 students and their parents gathered this evening for a community potluck, followed by Family Science Night, a Bishop Museum education program, in the dining room. What a marvelous night of investigation and wonder!  Students explored twelve different areas of inquiry such as the human body (e.g., vision, the lungs, the heart), nutrition, space stations, topography, and archaeology. While the evening was a fun learning experience for the children, their parents seemed to equally enjoy the camaraderie and learning with their children.  Parents commented on wanting to return to school as a child if learning was this much fun! 

Please spend some time going to this link for a recent posting of the `Ohana meeting notes. The parent group met last Wednesday. There are nominations for new officers. Download them here.

We are just five school days away from the opera performances (Kahalaopuna, Princess of Manoa) on May 9 and 10. Many of you have already called in your request for tickets. I strongly encourage you to call the reservation line, 441-3806, to secure free tickets and seats in the gym. I’ve been watching the class practices — you are in for a spectacular treat next week.  We will be sending home a form next Monday for all children enrolled in the afterschool program who may need to stay until the performance and will need a light dinner.

The MPI School of the Arts is producing Wind of a Thousand Tales, a re-telling of legends, tales, and myths from around the world using life-size puppets. The production is appropriate for children in first grade and older.  Performances are this weekend and next weekend (but don’t forget about our opera performance next Friday and Saturday night at 6:00pm).  Call 973-5066 for ticket information (there is a ticket charge).

I was a Mary Poppins fan, so I do know several other melodies from that film…. Oh, let’s go fly a kite!

For our children,

Edna L. Hussey