Agreement in mind; unanimity of sentiment; union of feeling; oneness; similarity. (Parker)

A common greeting when two people from Hawaiʻi first meet is to ask, “Where you grad from?” (Translation: From which high school did you graduate?) This is followed by, “What year?” And while we might poke fun of each other’s alma mater or age, these questions are not intended to judge each other. Instead, these questions are aimed at finding a connection; finding the lōkahi. For through this initial inquiry, we often discover the friends we have in common or distant relations. Which then leads us to share the stories which show the humor and values we share, thereby further deepening our bonds.

Last Saturday, I had the honor of connecting with Dr. Jim Scott, former head of Punahou. We sat on a panel, speaking to aspiring school leaders. While I met Dr. Scott before, our interactions were limited and only in formal settings. Often it occurred in a receiving line as I thanked him profusely for co-founding the PUEO (Partnerships in Unlimited Educational Opportunities) Program. Being only one of two elementary schools on the Windward side that nominate students to participate in this illustrious scholarship program, I am eternally indebted to Dr. Scott for his visionary compassion. Also given his accomplishments and accolades, I did not feel like I was at his level where we could just “talk story.” 

Now, three years since his retirement and 11 years into my tenure as principal, in this somewhat casual setting, we were able to talk casually and get to know each other on a personal level. He of course asked me where I graduated from and what year (I already knew he was an alumnus of Punahou but also asked for his year of graduation.) We shared an obvious personal connection through the former head of the PUEO program, Dr. Ackerman who once taught at Iolani, my alma mater. He then mentioned that his partner also taught science at Iolani and might have been there when I was going to school. I did not recognize her last name, but immediately wondered if it might be my biology teacher who had the same first name. I had not thought of her for years. Yet, pondering the possibility, I recalled how she challenged us with interesting, relevant lessons such as determining the possibility our children would end up with our looks. I remembered how she would show kindness and a real interest into how we were doing. 

A few days after the event, Dr. Scott emailed me to share what his partner’s last name was back when I was in school. He also said that she remembered me. While it had been 40 years since I was her student, knowing that she was also a part of Dr. Scott’s life somehow strengthens our connection. And yet, this connection existed well before last Saturday. Regardless of the positions we held or the circumstances of our meeting, without our knowing, we were already connected. This is lōkahii.

To uncover LŌKAHI

  • Ask about someone’s background – where they grew up, where their family is from
  • Listen without judgement
  • Ask follow-up questions, seeking to find different ways you are connected
  • Share stories of those connections


Inspired by Gholdy Muhammad

Please watch this: The Tree in Me by Corinna Luyken. Then with you child, answer the following:

IDENTITY: What parts of the story describing the tree in the main character describes the tree in you? 

SKILLS: The author uses the metaphor of a tree to represent how we are all connected. Think of another metaphor to show how we are all connected.

INTELLECT: The author mentions not using any green in illustrating her trees. On the continent and sometimes here in colder areas, there are trees that change the color of their leaves in the fall. They are called deciduous. Research this term and learn why the leaves of deciduous trees change color.

CRITICALITY: How might seeing how we are all connected possibly reduce hate in our society?

JOY: Draw the tree in you. What colors would you use to represent your leaves?

Mahalo Nui Loa: Campus Beautification

A huge thank you goes out to Jolyn Kresge, Wali Camvel, Dee Fujinaka, and Cherisse Yamada for organizing our first Campus Beautification event in many years. We also owe many thanks to our alumni, the Castle High Key Club, Uncle Estria of Mele Murals, Representative Scot Matayoshi, our Navy Partners, members of our staff and the many families and students who put in a tremendous effort to show akahai to our campus. Stemming from a shared love for Kāneʻohe Elementary, their hana, certainly helps our campus to be a more inviting, positive place to learn.


Sat, Apr 22, 2023Rainbow Keiki Run (details forthcoming)
Apr 25 – May 19, 2023Smarter Balance Testing at Kāneʻohe Elementary

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