Inspired and Aspiring - Mid-Pacific Institute

Elementary School Principal's Blog

Inspired and Aspiring

Posted on December 3, 2016

by Dr. Edna Hussey on December 3, 2016


Just so inspiring! Our upper elementary students took a short break from working on their portfolios this past Thursday to meet 2012 Olympic Silver Medalist Tamari Miyashiro, college classmate of our p.e. specialist, Preston Pires. Tamari was the libero on the USA Women's Volleyball team representing the best volleyball players in the nation. Several ideas that she shared continue to resonate. It's the notion of "team" and how the players viewed themselves as part of a greater whole. It's putting forth your best effort every time, not just occasionally. She described during the tryouts for the Olympic team having to be mentally and physically alert every waking moment. The most mind-boggling idea was the incredible responsibility of representing the US everywhere she traveled and played pre- and post-Olympics. To add to the allure of this humble Olympic medalist (in the photo, sheʻs in the back row in front of the monitor), our students were able to touch and hold her Olympic silver medal. It must weigh about 2-3 pounds! I'm certain she inspired every student who plays a sport to continue to persevere in playing many different kinds of sports. Tamari began in soccer, then took up baseball, followed by basketball, then volleyball only in college. Students responded to Tamari like she was a rock star, and after hearing her presentation, weʻre certain she is. Inspiring!


Another inspiration for the fifth graders -- conversation with adolescent literature novelist Mariko Tatsumoto Layton, author of Ayumi's Violin (and other books). Sarah McKay and Pam Jenkins read the book aloud over several, and students paused along the way to text code -- interactions with text that establish a relationship between reader and text. Mariko immediately engaged the fifth graders and seventh graders who joined the meeting in reviewing the plot and characters, then discussed what was for herself the intent of novel. Ayumi, the main character, is a bi-racial Japanese immigrant, who experiences many encounters with prejudice in California during the early 1960s, similar to prejudices the author experienced as a young girl. Mariko also shared a framework for writing stories -- build from a character who really wants something important then tries to overcome obstacles that make it challenging to achieve the goal. Students were charmed by Mariko's engaging questions and responses. Perhaps there's one or several students who might be aspiring writers in the fifth grade!


Conferences are this Thursday and Friday, Dec. 8-9. Make sure you've already signed up for a conference. Your participation and your child's participation in the end-of-semester conference are required. You'll receive an email on Monday, Dec. 5, any time after 2:00pm, with pdfs of your child's performance continua for inquiry (social studies/science), reading, writing, math, music, art, physical education, and a commentary for character education. The assessments are provided several days before the conference so that you have reviewed the continua prior to the conference. Your child's electronic portfolio will also be available after 2:00pm on Monday. We strongly recommend that you set aside some time with your child to review the portfolio before the conference. Allow your child to speak about each piece. Some questions to guide your conversation are: What did you enjoy most about this? What do you want me to notice about this? What was challenging for you? What 2-3 pieces in your portfolio are you most proud and why?

You are also encouraged to schedule time on Thursday or Friday to meet with any of the specialists, if you're interested. Please send email to:

Abbey Day, Visual Arts, gr. 1-5, and gr. 5 CE:

Lori Abe, Character Education, K-4:

Jordan Guillory, Visual Arts, Kindergarten:

Preston Pires, Physical Education, K-5:

Sarahlea Kekuna, Performing Arts, K-5:


Conferences are this Thursday and Friday, Dec. 8-9. Make sure you've already signed up for a conference. Unlike the elementary, only parents attend the PS end-of-semester conferences. After 2:00pm on Monday, you will receive an email from the PS teachers to access your child's electronic portfolio. You might want to share the video clip with your child and talk about what you're both viewing together.

The additional photos in the slideshow are from Eric Royoʻs classroom. Parents were invited to sit beside their children who shared their own inventive creation stories and dioramas inspired by many cultural creation myths and legends.

We look forward to seeing you at the conferences. Please claim items from the lost-and-found rack.

E Kūlia Kākou! Letʻs strive and aspire together!

For our children,

Edna L. Hussey, Ed.D.