Posted on January 28, 2017
Spirit Week at the preschool and elementary was SPIRIT-infused from beginning to end. Each day of the week leading to the basketball homecoming game was fully experienced, to say the least. Students came to school each day dressed in something fun to pump school spirit, from pajamas to crazy socks to green and white. Adding to the celebration was our observance of Chinese New Year this past Friday. Every year members of Gee Yung Society perform the lion dance throughout the elementary campus, thanks to Melanie and Charlie Long who make it possible for our students to experience this beloved cultural tradition. (You can go directly to the school website photo gallery (photos by Scot Allen) to enjoy the photos -- http://gallery.midpac.edu/Elementary-School/Lion-Dance-2017). Letʻs take a walk through the week together so we donʻt skip a beat!
On Wednesday, the boys' basketball team joined us for lunch in the dining room, preschool, and kindergarten. The student in the white polo is Hugh, who began in our kindergarten and is now a high school sophomore on the basketball team. See how attentive these first and second graders are, impressed by many of the older students.
Even the cheerleaders came by for lunch and taught us cheers for the homecoming game. Marissa, in the center, is another high school sophomore who began in Mid-Pacific's kindergarten. I can't tell you how touched the faculty and I are whenever we see the students we had taught visit us. My how theyʻve grown into beautiful persons!
After lunch the team played basketball with some unabashed, aspiring basketball players in the fifth grade. All this good-natured fun strengthens the friendships between the high school and elementary. The Friday night homecoming game was a nail biter, even though the Owls were outscored by Kamehameha, 50-44. The elementary students boosted team spirit through their loud cheers, along with the strong show of support from students, families, faculty. staff, and alumni.
Kindergarters showed off their projects at the January assembly after they explained the activities to celebrate the hundredth day of school. One hundred folded cranes. A kukui nut lei with 100 shells (the student and her father made the lei together). A hundred pipe cleaners sticking out from a styrofoam ball, to name a few of their creations.
Lucy Masa's third and fourth graders shared their recent research trip to the wetlands at Campbell Park, a refuge for native Hawaiian birds. One of the ways they represented their thinking about their experience at the refuge was through a "thinking routine" using a color, symbol, and image. The symbol on the flatscreenin the background, drawn by E.R., shows her understanding that land development by way of industry poses an imminent threat to the native wildlife and pristine environment. The students, currently in the middle of their wetlands inquiry, will continue to visit other natural sites to deepen their understanding of human impact on the wetlands.
At a recent faculty meeting, Director of Ed Technology Brian Grantham talked with us about an exciting tech plan for the next academic year though some aspects are already underway, such as 3-D printing and the use of 3-D camera on the 5th graders' visit to Kilauea on the Big Island. These VR viewers enable 3-D viewing of a space or place. Soon we'll be able to take virtual research trips or revisit places often via VR technology.
Celebrate the Year of the Rooster! There's something quite magical when the lion dancers wend their way through classrooms chasing evil spirits. Your heart tries to beat against the steady rhythm of banging of drums and clanging of cymbals, but soon your body has joined the force and you're nodding your head and tapping your feet. Then there's the grand sight of children everywhere dressed in auspicious red, and children shyly feeding the lions li see. Squeals of pure delight. Bright, broad smiles as the lion's tail wags playfully back and forth. I stand with the bamboo holding it as high as I can, teasing the lion to jump and stretch for the prized cabbage leaves and li see tied at the end of the pole. The person standing atop the shoulders of the director of Gee Yung International under the lion costume is our second grader Torin. In the last photo above, the back legs of the lion belong to first grader Dylan. Torin and Dylan are members of Gee Yung International and did their lion's share of the dance that lasted nearly 30 minutes. (Torin and Dylan are featured in the opening photo of this blog, courtesy of Scot Allen, photographer.)
When our students enter these doors to our learning place, you can be assured that their day will be hardly ordinary. Try extraordinary.
E Kūlia Kākou! Letʻs strive and aspire together!
For our children,
Edna L. Hussey, Ed.D.