Posted on May 29, 2016
Quiet. 4:00pm Friday. Teachers have packed up files and books and cleared the room for summer school, which begins June 6. Itʻs hard to imagine under this blanket of quiet that just yesterday the campus was a magnet for students screaming and racing around in water play activities on the baseball field, their feet splattered with mud and bits of grass, then having pizza and fruit on the courtyard, enjoying wonderful moments of play and friendly chatter. At noon, I stood by the front gate to hug children and parents, wishing them a happy summer. Seems like the campus is taking a much-needed reprieve after an incredibly busy year. And what a year it has been, marked by inquiry projects, presentations of learning, musical performances, portfolio preparations, parent-teacher-student conferences, and just the daily cycle of learning across the content areas. A year of abundant blessings.
And so I begin with the blessing of our 41 fifth graders. We celebrated the completion of their elementary years at the annual Leavetaking ceremony this past Wednesday morning. A simple ceremony filled with symbolism -- their commitment speeches about gifts they have received (e.g., humor, faith, joy, reverence) and will continue to share with their family and community; lei- giving to parents, a cultural expression of aloha and gratitude; passing on lit candles symbolic of spirit to the fourth graders; and singing that was expressive of their happiness.
They proceeded to the elementary campus for another blessing ceremony, that of the fifth gradersʻ self-portrait tiles in the sustainable garden. Students leave a visual imprint of themselves so that rising classes may know of the students that preceded them.
Kahu Davis also blessed the fifth grade class gift to the school -- a new mailbox for children to leave messages for the counselor and character education teacher. Ever since the character education curriculum was developed by Shirley Rivera pre-Mid-Pacific, she set up a mailbox outside her door so students could write down whatever was on their mind for the intended reader -- questions about friendship, requests to meet and discuss a personal problem, or just messages (Itʻs my birthday today! or I hope you have a great day! or My parents got me a new puppy and I named him Scruffles)
Another blessing -- these 29 graduating seniors began in first grade in our elementary! (Here they are before Baccalaureate at Central Union Church.) The three school principals were invited to Senior Chapel last week, and I was proud to name each of these 29 seniors who began their Mid-Pacific journey in the elementary.
Among the many blessings in the last week of school was the recognition assembly during which time students who have given service to the school were acknowledged: students who participated in the Christian Schools Athletic League (CSAL) basketball and volleyball teams; third graders who walked kindergartners to the dining room each morning; fourth graders who assisted in morning and afternoon outline; fifth graders on Peace Team who provided community service during recess and in the kindergarten and preschool during lunch; Peer Mediators who were available in the CE House during lunch recess; chapel helpers; and students who assisted in the Art House after school. Service learning is such an important part of our educational program! At the assembly, Ms. Kimee, director of the Extended Learning Program, announced the winners of Lemonade Alley for raising the most money for the Hawaiian Humane Society during the end-of-year lemonade sale. (Students who stayed in school during the half days so the faculty could meet schoolwide on their professional learning participated in classes to learn how to create a business selling lemonade.)
And finally, the blessing at the end of the school year -- Field Day! I canʻt think of any better way to end a phenomenal year than with a phenomenal day with the entire preschool and elementary having FUN! Water activities of all varieties for all ages are coordinated by PE teacher Bruce Black and run by parents. They take charge of the water games (set up and clean up), contribute to the snacks and lunch, and manage the entire morning. One of my favorite activities that morning is the dance when we call everyone together, and music specialist (and morning DJ) Sarahlea Kekuna leads all with a line dance. Such fun! Such joy!
Blessings. Gratitude. My reflections on the school year weʻve just completed are full of gratitude for so many. I applaud the teachers for their jobs well done in providing optimal environments for learning, well-crafted units of study and inquiries that have delved deep, and instructional approaches addressing the needs of their diverse learners. Kudos to our parent leaders and volunteers whose efforts complement classroom learning -- the full array of activities from the Welcome BBQ to Spooktivity to Grandparents Day to May Day and everything else in between contribute to the Mid-Pacific experience. And the blessings for which we are a community -- your children, our students.
The faculty and I thank you for a wonderful year of learning together! Aloha to our fifth graders and their parents as they continue into Middle School. Aloha to students and families who are leaving Mid-Pacific. Summer is upon us! Enjoy each day with your children because as I always remind parents, childhood comes but once. Until August and the start of school year 2016-2017, a hui hou!
E Kūlia Kākou! Letʻs strive and aspire together!
For our children,
Edna L. Hussey, Ed.D.
Note: My summer school blogs will begin posting June 12. Summer school begins June 6.