by Hannah Bartlett
In contrast to the lush greenery of Mount Ka’ala and the Waianae Mountain Range on the North Shore of O’ahu, the Lakota Sioux Reservation is a vast expanse of beautiful, yet mostly unusable grassland in Black Hills, South Dakota. It is here that AP English teacher Shah Bento spent November 3rd through November 5th attending the 4th annual Native Alliance Leadership Summit. During this Teach for America sponsored event, educators from all over the country celebrated, built coalitions, and supported teacher and professional learning for the Native identity based community. It was his chance to become aware of how difficult it has been for the Sioux and how they have successfully, as Bento says, “survived despite tremendous hardships.”
To help this underprivileged community, the Native Alliance Initiative came together with Teach for America to ensure that all Native American and Hawaiian children are receiving an excellent education and prepare them to be future leaders. A major obstacle that Mr. Bento noticed on the reservation was the lack of economic opportunity. “Hawaii has a thriving economy that students have access to,” he states, “on the reservation, there are no chances for children to get jobs – the unemployment rate is roughly 80% compared to Hawaii’s 2.2%.” The Pine Ridge Reservation, with over 40,000 people (92% Sioux), has the highest poverty and unemployment rate. The Community Development Corporation (CDC) brought in people and materials to build homes, and by doing so, brought down the cost and made it affordable for the Sioux community.
Each day opened with a spiritual meditation where they were speaking the Sioux native language, Lakota, which was then translated to English. Much like the Native Hawaiians, the Sioux nation is very family oriented, and is a culture that, in the past, has really been hurt by the United States government. However, with the support within their families and community, they manage to get by. The Hawaiian cultural renaissance that happened in the early 1970s brought back the language, customs, music, crafts, and hula. The Lakota Sioux cultural renaissance started to happen in 2012.
Pride in the Lakota language and customs of the Sioux is beginning to flourish. The students are all so proud and driven by their culture that they thrive off of it even due to the lack of opportunity. In the 1800s, a Lakota holy man, Black Elk, predicted that the Sioux seventh generation would find new hope in this special native American culture. The seventh generation are the Sioux children of 2012. “It’s always the youth that have the most hope,” says Mr. Bento. And like the Native Hawaiians, this is a time for the rebirth of a nation, a revolutionary renaissance of the Lakota Sioux.
by Taumana Caicedo Rapu
This year, the cafeteria staff out did themselves with a new lunch menu. Now, you can find plates like the tuna dip and chips with curly fries, as well as Baja fish tacos with garlic aioli sauce, and Asian pan roasted vegetables. The new menu also includes vegetarian choices like the vegetarian pizza and the egglette with whole grain toast for breakfast – a great way to start the day. Many students have commented how much they like the change in the lunch. Nova Rivera, a senior, was happy to share her thoughts and she said that she really enjoyed the new lunch and loved the addition of seasonal fruit. “The chicken nuggets are my favorite,” she said. However, she would like to see some slightly bigger portions, especially for those hungry high schoolers.
Destin Young, a seventh grader, was also very helpful in sharing his views of the new school lunch. Destyn says that the lunch is really good and that his favorite is the pizza. When asked if he would change anything he replied with, “No, the lunch is already perfect.” Finally, freshman Aurora Capes stated that her favorite lunch is nachos and says that she really likes the fact that they now have vegetarian choices. “I really like the fruits and I hope that they incorporate them into the lunch more often,” she said. Be sure to support the cafeteria as well as the school by enjoying these new lunch choices yourself.
by Kezia Burgoyne
Over the years, Waialua High and Intermediate School has experienced many librarians come and go, each having served valiantly when helping students find the perfect book to read. However, as the school is evolving, one solid fact stands: Student’s interest in reading is wavering. Now, when one enters the school’s library, rows of students can be viewed on computers whilst completing various assignments and not paying the literature that surrounds them a single glance. Meanwhile, the librarian faithfully sits at an empty desk, waiting for anyone who requires her services. Upperclassmen state that they haven’t so much as opened a book since their middle school years and
back. Part of the library has also been relocated to make room for the new College Career and Resource Center. By no means are the recent developments in technology bad, but there is no denying that books are becoming more and more scarce as time continues its journey. Throughout it all, one question lingers: Why?
When readers were asked why they find reading so desirable, many relayed the feeling of being, “Lost in a book,” as well as experiencing new adventures and learning life lessons. “I read for the language, the way the author writes, and the adventure behind it,” said Taumana Caicedo-Rapu, a freshman at Waialua High School. Another freshman, Savannah Jansen, began an enthusiastic rant of her enjoyment of the “knowledge, fictional fantasies, and growth of imagination,” that she gains from poring over novels. On the other the hand, students who don’t read books outside of school justified their relationship with literature with words like, “heavy,” “expensive,” and “time-consuming.” Even though public libraries compensate for the financial downside of reading, many students still find reading unappealing. The rise of academic pressure is also a contributing factor of the decrease of literature in today’s society.
“Reading is time-consuming, and it’s hard to find a book you actually want to read,” said senior Densen Vidad-Albeso. Junior Hannah Bartlett declared, “I find reading very boring – it puts me to sleep.” Eighth grade English teacher, Ms. Anne Alves, suggested that because reading is generally an individual activity, and many students are used to group activities, students find it difficult to focus on a piece of writing independent of a classroom full of clashing ideas. After all these opinions are clearly displayed, curiosity nags for an answer: Why are some high-schoolers captivated by crisp, ink-covered pages, while others drift off to sleep under the influence of emotionless, cold words on paper?
Ms. Alves gave her reasoning, saying, “A lot of students don’t expect anything from reading – there are no consequences of not reading, so students don’t read.” Ms. Alves also observed how a lot of the English curriculum is focused mainly on informational text, and only one book is read per school year, per grade. She said that with this constant leaping from informational article to informational article of action-filled fact, as well as with phones occupying many student’s spare time, students are losing the necessary attention span required to read a novel. She states, “When you ask a kid who is used to this lifestyle, to sit and read for one hour, they find it hard.”
Mr. Shah Bento, the Expository Writing teacher, added to this idea, recognizing that books aren’t as present in school, as well as crediting this to the, “advent of television and visual forms of entertainment.” Hannah Bartlett, who admitted to having a short attention span that directly limits her enjoyment of reading, said, “Everyone has phones now, and they would rather go on social media then read books.” Hannah also illustrated this by comparing both herself and her brother, who doesn’t own a phone and reads, whereas Hannah carries a phone with her everywhere she goes, and doesn’t enjoy books as much. Many other students attribute the shrinking interest in reading to technology, and said phrases like, “Books have been replaced by a cell phone,” and, “Millennials like technology more [than reading].” The shrinking of high-schoolers interest in literature could very well be attributed to the scattered lifestyle many millennials struggle to balance daily, as well as the oncoming breakthroughs in technology. Although technology is not inherently bad, it is important to maintain a balance between the cell phone and other forms of entertainment.
Reading is loved by many high schoolers as well as disliked by a host of teenagers. Regardless, it is entirely one’s choice whether they want to read or not. Even so, readers are encouraged to pick up a book and flip through the pages. Who knows, you might just become entranced with the luscious literature yourself.
by Anna Peters
It’s that time of the year again, registration. This is the time where we are all thinking about what kind of classes to take for next year. One of the classes that you should keep in mind for taking next year is Japanese. Many people perceive Japanese as a difficult class; however, it actually isn’t. As long as you keep up and stay committed, you’ll actually find this class very enjoyable. Not only will this be an enjoyable class, but there will also be many benefits that come with taking this Japanese. First of all, you will stan
d out from everyone else because you know another language and a whole different writing system. In addition, if you’re Japanese, you can also learn more about your culture and roots. Furthermore, Japanese is very useful in Hawaii because of all the tourists. Sensei Lisa Morisako elaborates, “Many of my students are working part-time in Haleiwa and they tell me that they use it everyday to communicate with Japanese customers.” Having some basic Japanese knowledge would greatly enhance your ability to communicate with Japanese customers at work.
Sensei has various levels of Japanese ranging from Introduction to Japanese for eighth graders all the way up to Japanese 4, which is mainly offered to seniors. In Introduction to Japanese, Sensei Morisako teaches hiragana and Japanese culture and crafts. In Japanese 1, she teaches hiragana, katakana, Japanese culture, crafts, and a little bit of grammar. Introduction to kanji, word processing, and dialogues is what’s taught in Japanese 2. Japanese 3 consists of more kanji, grammar, culture, and kanji dictionary. Then, in Japanese 4, it is a continuation of the skills of Japanese 3.
Japanese 4 student Alexis Nguyen expresses, “I decided to take Japanese because I enjoy watching anime, Japanese movies, and one day hope to go to Japan, so I would want to understand what everyone’s saying. Overall, I’m just very interested in Japanese.” Alexis really enjoys the class because Sensei goes at a nice slow pace to ensure that everyone understands the material and doesn’t fall behind. “I also really like the mochi Sensei brings!” Alexis exclaims. She’s recently gotten a job at Aoki’s shave ice and with her knowledge of Japanese, she is able to easily interact with tourists to make sure that there is no
miscommunication on their orders. One of the beneficial aspects of Japanese is that you can form business partners or do business with people from Japan. Although Alexis doesn’t plan on going into business, she still feels that knowing Japanese is opening up a lot of opportunities for her. Alexis states enthusiastically, “I would definitely recommend taking Japanese to other students because Hawaii has a lot of Japanese tourists and there are a lot of benefits to taking Japanese.”
Mana Bryant, a former Japanese 3 student, states that she never actually wanted Japanese however, within the first week, she realized how fun and enjoyable the class was, so she decided to stick with it. Mana elaborates, “I just really enjoyed this class because I learned so much not only about the language, but also about the culture.” She expresses that she’s learned things that she never would’ve thought about learning, which she just finds very interesting. Japanese is much more than just a class at school for Mana, she proclaims that she uses it everyday in her life, especially since at Aoki’s shave ice. “It’s just so good to know basic numbers and phrases because it helps me out so much when I have to communicate with Japanese tourists,” she states. Mana would definitely recommend this class to other students because of all the benefits that come with taking this class.
Hannah Gibo, who is currently in Japanese 2, delightfully expresses, “I decided to take Japanese because I’m Japanese myself, so I wanted to learn more about my culture, it looks good for when I apply to college, and it’s proven to be very useful at my job.” Hannah really enjoys this class because of all the activities Sensei puts together and how interactive this class is. For example, they do activities called Kaiwa, where they partner up and speak phrases in Japanese to each other just as if they’re having a normal conversation. Hannah works at Haleiwa Ray’s Chicken and states, “A lot of tourists come, and knowing Japanese, I’m able to ask them simple questions like whether or not they want chopsticks or how’s their day.” She believes that by knowing Japanese, it can really help with business because you’ll be able to communicate effectively. Hannah elaborates, “I would recommend this class to others because it’s a good experience, you learn a lot in this class, it’s not as hard as people think it is, and it never gets boring because of how this class makes you really involved.”
By signing up for Japanese next year it is a decision you definitely won’t regret. From taking it to look good on your resume for when you apply to college to using it at your job, there are just so many benefits to taking Japanese. Although it may seem like it’s a difficult class, that’s only the perception. As long as you put in your 100% and stay committed, you’ll find this as a class you enjoy and look forward to. So, while registering for your classes for next year, be sure to keep Japanese in mind!
In the middle of first quarter, Carol Sanderson was named Vice-Principal at Waialua High and Intermediate School replacing Ryan Ishimoto, who left over the summer to accept the same position at Aiea Intermediate School. As a former principal at a charter school in Stockton, California, population 285,000, she is coming to our small country town of Waialua, population 3860. She’s using her experiences to set her vision and goals, in order to make Waialua High and Intermediate a better learning environment. The following is Anna Peters’ interview with Mrs. Sanderson.
by Anna Peters
Where are you from?
“I am from Stockton, California where I was the principal at Pacific Law Academy Charter High School.”
What’s the difference from being principal and vice principal?
“They’re very similar roles. I am not responsible for the whole school anymore and am supporting the principal, which I am happy to be doing. Coming from California, it’s an entirely different education system to the Hawaii education system, so this is an opportunity for me to learn how things are done in the education system here. Ultimately, I would love to become principal again.”
Why did you decide to come to Waialua?
“I came here because my husband is a Farrington High School graduate and he wanted to come home. I saw this as a great opportunity to submit my qualifications for various administrative positions. Fortunately, I was offered a position here and at two other places. However, I chose here since I thought this school was the best fit for me because of the student population, size, and location.”
How is Waialua different from Pacific Law Academy Charter High School?
“I would have to honestly say that kids are kids wherever you are, but one of the biggest differences is that this school is much bigger than the school I came from. The school I came from was very small; there were only 220 students and 13 teachers. Another difference is that I’m coming from a school where it was a charter program and I had a lot of autonomy with the course offerings. In addition, the rigor of Waialua compared to Pacific Law Academy Charter High School is that Waialua is a little more laid back.”
How do you like it here and what was your first impression?
“The first day I walked onto campus with students I thought, “Wow these kids are so nice.” The kids here are just so welcoming. I was given a tour by one of the seniors, Lea’a Puleiala, and I loved it. She was very vivacious, proud of the school, and proud of the students and faculty, so I felt like this is a very good place for me because it felt like I was at home. This is a feeling that you don’t get at all campuses and it is a feeling that I love. This was also a feeling that I got at my old school, so it was an excellent transition for me.”
What is your vision and goals?
“I have a lot of goals for Waialua, but some of them would include establishing community partners. In the long run, my vision for this school is for students to get a well-rounded education. This not only means a good education in the classroom, but also participating in extracurricular activities, joining clubs, and playing sports because that’s what high school is all about. It is about learning how to open yourself up to different experiences whether you’re successful or not and having that growth mindset. For example, it’s okay if you’re not a starter in baseball your freshman year. If you keep working hard, then you’ll probably make it next year. In addition, I would also like to establish small learning communities. The middle school is already doing that, so I would also like to incorporate something like that for the 9th grade where all the teachers collaborate with each other. Some of my short term goals are to reduce tardies and absences.”
What would you like to say to the students, parents, and community?
“First of all, I would like to say, thank you for welcoming me into the Waialua family. I feel very fortunate and blessed to be here. My doors are always open if you guys have any questions, concerns, or if you would just like to come in and talk to me. I think that one of the most important assets of an administrator is to maintain communication within the school and the community.”
by Hoku Sabanal
The school year is coming to an end which means graduation time. The Waialua High School Senior Class of 2017 will be graduating on May 20th, but the ceremony will start at 5:30pm in the school gymnasium and NOT on Toshi Nakasone Field.
For those attending the graduation ceremony, the people who received senior reserved seating tickets will be on the court, while the bleachers will be open to everyone on a first-come, first-serve basis. In addition, there will be standing room for those who aren’t able to get a seat on the bleachers. After the ceremony, you will be able to give lei to the graduates on the football practice field, behind the bleacher area in front of the boy’s locker rooms.
This year’s graduation will not be held on the field because it is still under renovation and will not be done by graduation. Vice-Principal Ryan Ishimoto explained that the process is taking longer than expected is because of the weather. He said that the field was in the process of getting done in time for graduation, but the weather in Waialua did not cooperate and hit a major rainstorm during the ending of last year.
“What happened was they were taking our soil, ripping it out, and throwing it in a ‘feeder’. It sifts the soil so there were big chunks which is turned it into fine dirt. They brought in sand, top soil, and mixed them together, but they just weren’t able to do it because the soil was too soaked,” Ishimoto said. This stopped the working period for a couple weeks then a couple weeks would pass and rain again stopped the process.
“Weather was the main reason why the process is taking longer than expected, there weren’t any certain setbacks, it was just ‘Mother Nature’ not cooperating and all the downpours where they were trying to sift out the dirt,” Ishimoto explained. They are hoping the field will be done by June and there won’t be any more setbacks.
Cody Miyataki, a senior this year and president of the Class of 2017 stated, “I was pretty mad and upset because we were told time and time again that the field would be ready. I feel that the tradition for the other classes was to have it outside and I didn’t want to have it in the gym, but we were able to compromise.” The seniors didn’t take the news all too well, but they have learned to accept it and are trying to make their graduation as memorable as it can be. The process was strained and difficult.
“I created a plan for both the baseball field and the gym – that way we had an alternative because we really wanted it outside. From there, we created a graduation committee with the administration, our class officers, and everyone else directly involved with graduation. We sat down in a meeting and discussed the pros and cons of the gym and the baseball field which led us to a decision of having the graduation held inside of the gym,” Cody explained.
No matter the setting, the seniors are going to make the best of the situation and ensure that their graduation something they will always remember as something different and special.
by ‘Ailani Grach
With all the discussion about the separation of the middle and high school, we reached out to some of the parents and alumni from Waialua High and Intermediate who have children attending WHIS. We asked them their feelings about the middle – high school split and how they think that it will affect their child’s experiences here at Waialua.
One of the alumni that was reached was Ms. Kauluoa Binz who will have a daughter attending WHIS as a 7th grader next school year. Ms. Binz says, “Although her cousins are upper classmen, I think the split will give them less time to worry about getting bullied, impressing, or judging.” She stated that she enjoyed going to school with upper classmen when she was in middle school. When she made it to high school, she befriended intermediate aged students. Some of those middle school students are still friends with her today. Being a high school mentor to these students was a benefit that today’s middle school will lose.
Another parent that told me how they feel about the school split is Mrs. Raquel Hill-Achiu. She feels that the middle school students are not cut off completely from the high school routine. She also feels that the split is fine because it gives the kids that are coming from sixth grade a little breathing room to get used to a new school without worrying about what older kids think. She also states that the students aren’t completely alienated from the high school routine.
Ms. Kenwyn Shacklefurd. the mother of a 7th grade student, is opposed to how the school is splitting the middle school from the high school. Ms. Shacklefurd said, “I have seen how the transition has affected his academics while he got used to the new schedule, routines, and teachers.”
However, she also says parents have to teach accountability for their child’s actions – making adult choices based on peer pressure it would lead to adult consequences. She was also concerned about “how this was another round of transitioning into high school and the same kids that were not nice to them are now the juniors and seniors and are still behaving the same.” She also added that “the middle school concept has been around for years, so why start now – especially with the resources being stretched so thin with the DOE.”
Ms. Dayna Sanchez, who also had a child in 7th grade, is also unsure about the separation. She states, “As a parent, an educator, and an alumnus of Waialua, I am not so sure about the split. Why can’t changes be made for the middle school students without separating them from the high school?” Her 7th grade daughter enjoys being part of what the high school does. She likes the events and was comfortable with the transition from elementary school because her older brother is in the high school so she felt that she was not alone. In addition she says, “Having experience working with middle school students, I think with Waialua being a small country school, staying as one would have been a better choice. Our children are more respectful, more kind, and better behaved for it.”
While some parents are alright about the school split, others are not. Whether they are on one side or the other, the change will happen and as the teachers begin to move classrooms to accommodate the split. We just have to wait and see how this change works best for Waialua.
by ‘Ailani Grach
The separation of the middle and high school at WHIS is happening next year. Waialua will be two separate campuses with the middle and high school students never crossing paths (with very few exceptions). After learning about the upcoming split, the 7th graders (who will be 8th graders next year) have mixed feelings about it. Many of the 7th grade students were against separating the middle and the high school. Finding 7th graders that support the school split was difficult.
However, there were a few students who were in favor of it – like Shaley Yoshizu. She said, “I’m fine with it. It’s not a major issue with me.” Shaley feels it won’t impact her school life so to her it is all right. Two students who were also speaking in support of
the split are Lilly Schaeben and Maria Serpa. They both are happy it’s happening and feel it’s a good thing because it will keep middle schoolers safe from the high schoolers. Maria said, “There were high school students that were trying to make the middle school students fight each other.” They both said if we are separated, the middle school students will feel and be safer.
On the other side, there were many 7th grade students that do not want the school split to happen and are against the school’s decision. Emma Haas states, “I feel bad for all the teachers that have to move their classroom and their stuff just because the school is separating the middle and the high schools.” She continued, “What if all the teacher’s labs, activities, and equipment won’t fit in their new class? What if they do not get enough space for everything?” A second person that was against the split is Spencer Rich. “I can’t believe we only get a small part of the school while the high school gets the rest,” he said.
Naia Driscoll was another person that stated her opinion against the split. “We get only a fraction of the school while the high schoolers get everything else,” Naia said, “I am mostly upset about how we don’t get a lot of places to hang out during school.” The final person sharing her opinion was Molly Bryant. She was extremely upset about the split and stated, “Are they trying to teach us to be afraid of the high school? Are they (the high schoolers) so mean that the school is forced to split us up? I won’t be able to see my sister (Mana, senior next year) during the school day next year. I know many people who have siblings that are or going to be at this school. Waialua claims to be a family. Splitting us up is not family.”
Clearly, there are very strong opinions on both sides of the issue. However, the Waialua separation of middle and high school is happening no matter what. Regardless of how we feel, giving the separation a chance is the only option we have.
By Hannah Bartlett
On February 10th, Waialua re-started its award winning agriculture program. For decades, the Future Farmers of America Waialua Chapter won district and state awards and FFA was the hottest club on campus. However, when the sugar mill shut down, the agriculture program enrollment began to drop. Soon thereafter, Waialua did not offer agriculture as a course, and, for 20 years, has been just a memory of days past.
Through the guidance and mentorship of Mrs. Kawehealani Kanae, the ag program has been reborn and is open to any students attending Waialua High and Intermediate School. Said sophomore Hoku Sabanal, “I wanted to get more involved in the community. I wanted to know about the different native plants and learn how to preserve the environment as well as give myself a new experience.” Students and mentors meet every Monday and Friday after school from 2:15pm – 3:15pm in P4.
Those who attend will do hands on activities such as restore and maintain the school’s greenhouse, and further develop their critical thinking skills. “The agriculture program provides opportunities for students to be able to have a positive effect on the community and gives them experience needed to be successful,” says Ms. Kanae. Students will learn how to raise and nurture Native Hawaiian seedlings, and hopefully expand out of the greenhouse by replanting these plants and seedlings on Mount Ka’ala. Not only do the students benefit from this experience, but so can the school and community.
Students can grow herbs and vegetables for Ms. Marsha Taylor’s culinary program as well as for the school cafeteria breakfast and lunches. The vision for the agriculture program is to perpetuate self-sustaining skills that brings awareness to the positive impacts that gardening/farming will provide through contributions to the community, strengthen effective communication, and further develop critical thinking skills. The aim is to expose the next generation to interactive experiences gaining sustainable skills that promote positive stewardship of the land while strengthening community pride. If you are interested, please see Ms. Kanae in P4 for more information.