Curtain calls and 100 years celebrated - Mid-Pacific Institute

Elementary School Principal's Blog

Curtain calls and 100 years celebrated

Posted on May 8, 2008

by Dr. Edna Hussey on May 8, 2008

For the past few weeks, we’ve been watching and listening to particular grade levels or groups practicing their motions and songs for the opera, Kahalaopuna. You already know that this original opera, written by Dr. Neil McKay, will be performed May 9 and 10, 6:00pm, to celebrate MPI’s 100th year in Manoa.  It’s been somewhat a leap of faith for all the children, who’ve been practicing their numbers pretty much in isolation without fully comprehending the opera in its entirety.

Well, today the pieces all fit together to create a wondrous tapestry of song and image. What talent abounds in the school! And I was amazed by the students’ sense of space and how they were able to adjust from practicing in the dining room or on the courtyard lawn to practicing in a space three to four times the size of their practice areas. They were focused on their cues and didn’t seem to skip a beat.  This opera, from the very beginning we began on this schoolwide journey, has been integrated into classroom curriculum through the production aspects. The children read James Rumford’s book, discussed the plot and themes, researched life on the ahupua`a (food production, Hawaiian pastimes), and read the libretto.  As I compose this letter, the performance is less than 24 hours away. Based on today’s preview for the middle school and high school, I’d say you’re in for a very special treat!

Please refer to your child’s teacher’s class weblog for any specific information on the performance. I do know that all students must report to their respective classrooms by 5:00pm on Friday and Saturday, dressed in board shorts and slippers. After the performance, you must check out your child with the classroom teacher from Scudder Hall (next to Bakken Auditorium). This is a special school performance for which every student has been practicing. On behalf of the faculty, I trust that you’ll honor the work of your child by supporting his/her participation in the production. Gym doors will be opened at 5:00pm. Be sure to take home a program as a memento of the opera and the celebration of MPI’s presence in Manoa for the past one hundred years.

I’m proud to announce that a poem written by KM, a third grader in Ms. Lorenzana’s multiage 3-4 class, was selected as one of the top five winners in the third-grade level of Starbuck’s Star Poets contest.  This poetry contest is well regarded among many language-arts teachers for the high-quality selections and examples of excellence in poetry. She has been invited to read her poetry at a special public reading at the Paliku Theatre at Windward Community College.  This student’s learning process included reading a wide range of poetry and learning about the importance of each word and its power in creating strong visual images, as well as the visual impact and meaning conveyed in how a poem is lined (words that are placed on a poetic line). With the student’s permission, here’s her winning poem:

My Shoe

My shoe
All shiny
And new
Oh No
My shoe WAS
Shiny and new

Just the simple inclusion and emphasis in the word “was” effectively conveys the emotion of surprise and the quick disappointment in this fourteen-word poem. Nice job, KM!

Your child should have come home with a letter from MPI student Sascha Franzel, a junior, about collecting new aloha shirts for the troops in Afghanistan. She is single-handedly organzing this community effort, and her goal is to collect 2000 shirts! I think she's received about 1500, so I hope many of our preschool and elementary families will be able to contribute to this effort. You may drop off your donation at the elementary school by May 29, the last day of school.

No school next Friday, May 16, so that teachers can focus on end-of-year student assessments and conferences, which are May 22-23. The school office will be open on May 16. I encourage you to make an appointment to meet with any of your child’s specialists (e.g., art, music, physical education, character education) if you would like some direct feedback. The specialists would like very much to meet with you.

I am amazed, yet not, that the school year is quickly coming to a close. Over the next few days, the students will be selecting pieces for their portfolios that show their learning progress over time.  They are also writing statements of reflection and constantly referring to the criteria generated by teacher and students.  All of this —  and the opera — require self-discipline and effective time management.  They’re learning!

See you at the opera.

For our children,

Edna L. Hussey