By Nahaku Kalei and Linda Furuto. The vision of Konawaena Middle School includes students will respect cultures and heritages, be prepared for current and future endeavors, make positive choices, and be creative and inquisitive. From the opening ʻoli to the closing reflections, a day spent with approximately 100 7th graders revealed how deeply these values and beliefs have been instilled in each child.
Konawaena Middle School 7th grade students learning about the Worldwide Voyage. Photo: Linda Furuto
There is a special significance and gravity to this learning journey. Today was the result of countless conversations and meetings in which PVS leadership advised the path to creating large-scale, necessary changes in education was through teachers. Communities throughout Hawaiʻi and networks of teachers understood the importance of taking care of our island earth inside and outside the classroom. A fire was ignited and over the years the waʻa ʻohana has played a large role in making each outreach event happen. This unique and special learning journey was initiated and executed by an ambitious and inspired teacher and her like-hearted teaching team.
Experiential learning group building their own wa’a. Photo: Shari Jumalon.
According to Shari Jumalon, 7th grade teacher at Konawaena Middle School, “The kids really got a lot out of it because they didn’t know a lot about the worldwide voyage. By doing this learning journey before visiting Hōkūleʻa next Monday, it sparked excitement like ‘oh, I just can’t wait now!’ They want to go and see the canoe. Not that they didn’t want to before, but I’ve never had a field trip where 100% of the required forms were submitted early in the 7th grade.” The 7th grade Mālama Team also includes teachers Will Georges (science), Leonel Vela (mathematics), Iwalani McCalla (social studies), and Misty Houchens (resource teacher).
A Konawaena Middle School 7th grade student becomes one with the Star Compass. Photo: Linda Furuto
The all-day event included four stations that helped prepare students for their upcoming visit to Hōkūleʻa in Kawaihae next week Monday. These sessions were: creating a star compass, building waʻa, knot tying, and a portable planetarium. Through these activities, friendships were made, new knowledge was gained, and most importantly, lifelong lessons grounded in the mission and values of Konawaena Middle School were imparted—mahalo nui to our inspiring teachers!