By Lehua Kamalu. On Monday afternoon, the crew were hosted by the Kamaile Academy Navigators at their school in Wai‘anae, Hawai‘i. The Polynesian Voyaging Society has a special connection to this school as a number of these students have actively participated in training and preparation activities for the Worldwide Voyage. The students presented a beautiful welcome of ‘oli (chant) and hula (dance) to begin our journey through their school.
The fourth grade students were eager and excited to share the various ways they used their values of kuleana (responsibility) and laulima (cooperation) to build a lovely garden that included kalo (taro), pineapples, aloe, and the “Dr. Seuss” tree, which inspires images from the famous Dr. Seuss tale of the Lorax. Their ha‘aheo (pride) in their work was clearly evident in the careful detail they used to describe the process of preparing the garden and the various uses of each plant of the garden.
The secondary students exhibited their dedication to the arts through some heartfelt poetry about who they are and where they come from. Following this was a presentation of Portfolio Defenses, where students defend the reasons why they think they should be allowed to advance to the next grade-level, based on what they have learned about academic subjects, but more interestingly about themselves and their approach to taking charge of their own educational goals and success. As Kaina Holomalia put it, “The students became the teachers, and the teachers became the students,” as we sat in a row of desks looking up at these incredible presentations.
We ended the day talking with the after-school program, and spending time in The Navigators’ Center. This is the campus hub for students, parents, and community supporters to conduct meetings and activities that strengthen the connection of the school to the strong Wai‘anae community that surrounds it.
The crew were inspired by the leadership and motivation of each of the students we met and are excited to see these future Navigators as they graduate their first class this year.