Patience; patient, enduring, long suffering; to tolerate. Lit., great breath.  (Pukui-Elbert)

To be patient, gentle, kind; forbearance (Andrews)

If I were to ask you to picture in your mind the first woman to become a self-made millionaire, what would she look like? Would you picture a woman from the early 1900s? Would you picture a woman of African heritage born to former slaves? Madam C. J. Walker became a millionaire through a combination of intelligence, perseverance, inventiveness, and ahonui.

Born into poverty, losing her mother at 7, married at 14, and widowed as a single-mother at 16, it would have been easy to underestimate Madam C. J. Walker. However, Walker worked diligently and attended night school, patiently contributing to her eventual success. After developing a scalp disorder that caused her to lose much of her hair, Madam Walker experimented with different home remedies and store-bought hair care treatments. She persevered and eventually invented her own hair care product which she marketed to African American women. Through enduring patience, Madam Walker’s company grew and employed hundreds, uplifting the black community. She became a philanthropist, funding scholarships, charities for the elderly, and contributing to the establishment of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). 

It must be remembered that Madam Walker achieved all of her wealth when very few women owned businesses and independently held power, let alone anyone who was non-white. Madam Walker even encountered resistance from within the black community. While attending the National Negro Business League, an event orchestrated by Booker T. Washington, Walker was shunned from speaking despite other male cosmetics entrepreneurs being given the stage. Through their lauding, Walker showed great forbearance. Recognizing her moment to act, on the last day of the conference, Walker, addressed Washington. She said, “Surely, you are not going to shut the door in my face. I feel that I am in business that is a credit to the womanhood of our race.” The following year, Washington featured Walker as a conference speaker.

Given her humble beginnings, some might attribute Madam Walker’s success to luck. Yet, that diminishes her dedication to educating herself, the hard work she put in, her entrepreneurial skills, her inventiveness, and strength of character. Madam Walker recognized the opportunities that laid before her, even if the rewards would not be immediately reaped. She showed more than patience. She showed forbearance. This is, as Aunty Pilahi Paki taught Pono Shim, is to be ahonui.

To show AHONUI

  • Take a deep and cleansing breath – aho;
  • Observe what’s around you and ask yourself:
    • Is this the right time to act? Or would it be better to wait?


Inspired by Gholdy Muhammad

Please watch this: HEADSTRONG: Madam C.J. Walker by PBS. Then with you child, answer the following:

IDENTITY: If you could start a business, what would it sell or provide to the public?

SKILLS: How might have Madam Walker used the engineering design process to become a successful business owner? 

INTELLECT: What is an entrepreneur? How does one pursue this career?

CRITICALITY: Madam Walker was a philanthropist using her wealth and power to fight against discrimination while helping others become educated and lift themselves out of poverty. Who in our community does similar philanthropic work?

JOY: Your challenge for this week is to bring joy to yourself by showing ahonui and accomplishing something using patience and perseverance.


A huge thank you goes out to Tammy Shigezawa, Misty Taniguchi, Dee Fujinaka and all of our Color Fun Run organizing committee along with our volunteers and to all those who contributed to it’s success. The students thoroughly enjoyed the experience, bouncing through the inflatables, squirting water at our administrators, dodging obstacles, and running through a cloud of colors launched by our volunteers. Further, with your support, we raised over $40,000 to upgrade our cafeteria stage and sound system. Mahalo nui loa to all that generously support our school. 


Wed, Mar 29, 20234:30 PM School Community Council Meeting 
Sat, Apr 1, 20238:30am – 11:30am Campus Beautification




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