Rooted in values — a legacy gift to MPI - Mid-Pacific Institute

Elementary School Principal's Blog

Rooted in values — a legacy gift to MPI

Posted on May 23, 2008

by Dr. Edna Hussey on May 23, 2008

Pueo. Nene. A baseball. A laptop computer. The Hawaiian flag. Books. A cross.  These are some of the symbols representing ideas that the Fifth Graders value — their heritage as a people of Hawai`i, learning/education, faith, family, and community, to name a few.  And they will leave a special remembrance of themselves in a unique sculpture, inspired by the concept of a totem pole, which they learned about while studying Native American Indians.  The project was also undertaken to commemorate MPI’s 100th year in Manoa.  Their semester-long inquiry project, guided by Chaminade University student-teacher Tracy Stewart under the mentorship of our art teacher Jill Books, integrated reading, writing, science, mathematics, and Hawaiian history.  Through a collaborative process requiring negotiation and reflection, the students worked side by side to create a four-foot-tall sculpture currently housed just inside the glass doors facing the central courtyard. In the center of the “totem pole” is a potted tree representing life that is rooted in values.

(There are actually several large pieces of art on our campus that were created by previous fifth grade classes who were the “seniors” of the elementary school — the hanging pieces of stained glass displayed in the windows at the front of Wilcox [the Epiphany conference room and principal’s office] and the ceramic layout of the former Epiphany School campus encased in plexiglass outside the tech lab.)

This past Monday, the entire school gathered in the dining room for the final chapel of the school year with Chaplain Koyama and the “unveiling” of the totem project.  Prior to the unveiling, several Fifth Graders explained their project to the students, everyone from preschool through multiage 3-4. After the last chapel song, the students recessed past the school office and down the art-gallery hallway to the sculpture.  It was amazing to see the respectful manner in which the children walked around the sculpture, many quietly, looking at the different symbols, appreciating the artistic beauty created by the Fifth Graders.  When it was time for the Fifth Graders to view their sculpture, all of the students gently touched the pieces they molded with their own hands and fingers in an unrehearsed moment of genuine poetry. 

We appreciate this legacy gift from the Fifth Grade class, which we intend will remain on the elementary school campus for the next 100 years. Their unique and thought-provoking sculpture is a testament to the power of collaboration and the strength of community.

There is a festive air during the two full days of parent-student-teacher conferences on campus. It is gratifying to see parents and their children sitting down together to review progress portfolios and to hear the conversation with the teachers that highlight the students' strengths.  The conference is a time to celebrate each child’s achievements and growth during the year. Parents, you have a priceless document of your child’s learning each year.  We hope that you and your child will review the portfolios at other times during the summer (many of you have your child’s portfolios from previous years) when all of you can compare various pieces from year to year.  You should be receiving copies of your child’s performance continua, including continua from the specialists, and the conference summary during the first week in June. 

Congratulations to the CSAL girls’ basketball team for an undefeated season! The team is composed this year of mostly sixth grade students, though we are so proud of the three elementary students who also played on the team (AS, EK, and SS). They played six other school teams in two cycles of season games. 

Kudos to the students of Ms. Ruby Sager’s piano classes.  Their piano recital was this past Saturday morning in the dining room.  I was impressed to see so many of our elementary children poised and confident at the keyboard.  Reminded me so much of my own piano recitals!

We have just three days remaining in school year 2007-2008.  May 28th is Pueo Fly Up Day, beginning at 8:30am, when each class meets a teacher and visits a classroom for the upcoming school year.  Then at 10:00am, the entire school gathers for the annual Fifth Grade Leavetaking Ceremony in the dining room.  The parents of the Fifth Graders attend this special event.  All students (from preschool through fourth grade) are required to wear their MPI uniform green collar shirts on May 28.  You have already received information about Field Day on May 29, the last day of school.  Although it is a regular day of school with the after-school program, you may pick up your child anytime after the field-day activities, which will end around 11:30am.  You must still enter the school through the main office, sign in, and get a lanyard.  The `Ohana will be providing a pizza lunch, fruits, and beverages for the entire school, so you may want to pick up your child after lunch and recess (12:30pm), if you intend to do an early pick-up. 

Heads up:  From May 30 through June 13, there will be construction work on the sidewalks and main entry at the elementary school.  Parking will be limited, and entry to the school will be through the fire lane closest to the stairway leading to the lower autoline area.  Entry into Wilcox will be through the glass doors facing the courtyard lawn.  Please pardon the inconvenience.

It’s T-Shirt Swap next Tuesday through Thursday, May 27-29. It works like this: bring one, take one. If you have any MPI uniform t-shirts that your child has outgrown, bring them to school and place them in the clothing bin outside the main entrance to the school in exchange for any available t-shirts.  The swap operates on the honor system.

The Kahalaopuna DVDs will probably not be available until the start of the next school year.  We will make certain that you receive your order as soon as they are ready.

Check the lost-and-found bin for any of your child’s missing clothing.  Unclaimed items will be donated to charity after May 30.

Looking forward to this three-day weekend.  On Saturday afternoon, MPI graduates the Class of 2008 at a beautiful outdoor ceremony on campus. Let’s take some time on May 26 (Memorial Day observed) to remember the men and women in the U.S. military who have served their country courageously.  They are our heroes.

For our children,

Edna L. Hussey