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

Andrews, Hawaiian Dictionary, 1865


This post is a copy of the first sixth grade promotion ceremony speech I ever gave at Kāneʻohe Elementary, way back in 2012. I am unsure how many of those sixth graders were actually listening as they eagerly waited to be celebrated by their ʻohana. Even now, as high school is a distant memory for them, I wonder if any recall my words. Who am I kidding? I barely remembered what I said. Yet reading it now, I am pleasantly surprised. Although I wouldn’t meet Uncle Pono Shim for another five years, much of its content aligns with the foundations of Aloha he taught.

As I reflect upon this yearʻs motto: “Light the Fire” I am reminded of a story of when I was in the sixth grade.  It happened way back in 1979. I was kind of big, on the shy side, kind, and soft spoken. Like you, I was about to leave the only school I knew. It was a place where I felt safe, cared for and loved by my teachers. Yet, I was excited and full of anticipation for a new adventure. I was heading to a new school. Back then, that new school had only just begun accepting girls. However, the grade I was going into was still all boys, which (at the time) was fine by me. 

When I got there, it was nothing like I imagined. On my first day, I realized that I was only one of two kids that were new to the class.  The rest of the boys had been together for many years. In a gaggle, they whispered to each other about the new kids, snickered and glared. Well, actually they snickered and glared at me because the other new kid resembled the Incredible Hulk ready to smash. One boy focused in on one of my most prominent characteristics and created a jeering chant about my full lips. The rest of the class joined in and started chanting louder and louder. I felt smaller and smaller. I wished I could disappear. That was my first day.

The next three months didn’t get any better. In fact, it just felt worse. At my former school, I had many friends and felt well liked. At this new school, I had no friends; I had no fire. Everyday my mom asked me how was school, I just said, “okay” and didn’t go into detail because it felt so hopeless.

Finally, at the beginning of November, I had enough. As recess began, one of the boys started to chant about my lips. Anger clouded my head. I puffed up my chest, clenched my fists, and readied to hit him. He began to dance around ducking in and out reaching in to slap me. The rest of the boys gathered around and started to chant “BEEF BEEF BEEF.” Just as I was about to swing, I suddenly felt a huge hand grip my shoulder and jerk me backwards. Quickly the crowded dispersed while the two of us were dragged into the office by the principal. He sat the us down and gruffly stated, “This is your only warning. You fight, youʻre kicked out.”

Luckily I avoided being expelled. However, the principal called my mom and when I went home, she coerced me to say how I really felt about school. I whined that I didn’t have any friends and wanted to quit and go to another school. After I finished complaining and after she was done lecturing, my mother told me that I need to be myself. She said, “Be yourself. Forgive and be kind. Eventually they will see who you truly are and come to accept you.” 

I would like to tell you that my mom’s advice lit my fire. I would like to say that I marched forward with confidence, totally believing in myself. But what I actually thought was that my mom didn’t know what she was talking about.

Regardless, I went to school. I didn’t fight, and I didn’t quit.  I did try to be myself. So instead of feeling angry, I chose to forgive and ignore. Instead of acting out, I chose to act in kindness. Eventually I shared a rocket engine with one of the boys. His name was Jack and he was doing a science project on model rockets and ran out of supplies. I also happened to be doing a model rocket project and had a few extra engines.  He thanked me and the next time everyone was chanting about my lips, he said, “You know, maybe we should give him a break. Heʻs really OK.” Slowly the chanting became less frequent. By the end of the year, because I chose kindness I made some really good friends. Because I chose forgiveness and found connections, I regained my fire.


Inspired by Gholdy Muhammad

Please watch this: The Banana-Leaf Ball: How Play Can Change the World written by Katie Smith Milway and illustrated by Shane W Evans. Then with you child, answer the following:

  • IDENTITY: What are games that you and your ohana like to play? Talk to your kupuna and ask about the games they played as kids.
  • SKILLS: Create a double-bubble map comparing Deo and Remy. 
  • INTELLECT: To understand what Deo goes through in this book, we will need empathy. Define empathy and how it can help us make friends.
  • CRITICALITY: How does telling moʻolelo (stories) or playing games help to overcome hate? 
  • JOY: With two friends or family members, try making a “banana-leaf ball” with plastic bags from grocery stores, cardboard, or other recycled materials. See if you can figure out your own process. If not, here’s one way you can do it.

You can also read/hear about the real Deo here.


While you might not see him as often on TV asking you to call The Cab dressed as a tutu, Frank Delima still looms large as a comedic influencer in our community. This week, we were treated to his latest show on valuing reading, treating each other with aloha, taking care of our health and dancing like a sumo wrestler. At 74, Mr. Delima is still going strong and making his way to every elementary school across the state, sharing his message and humor with every student. Mahalo nui loa Frank Delima.


The School Community Council (SCC) supports the school through policy making, advising school administration, and developing school improvement initiatives. It is comprised of parents, community members, teachers, classified staff, students and administrators. We are currently seeking nominations for anyone willing to serve on the SCC as it’s chairperson. The chairperson presides at all meetings and signs letters, plans, reports, and other SCC communications. If you are interested or would like to nominate someone for this role, please complete this nomination form by Monday, September 25


We are continuing to Wear Pink for Maui on Wednesdays and invite all to continue joining us in letting “that light, that divine inspiration that Aunty Pilahi Paki says is given to you at your very beginning, come through and let your ALOHA join with the ALOHA of the collective to bring about healing.” 

DAILY VIRTUAL PIKO – please join us

The Daily Piko helps us become centered and ready to learn. It helps us get on the same page, hearing one message of focus for the day and the week. If you are able, we begin at 8 AM everyday except Wednesday when we conduct the piko in-person.



Sept 18 – 21, 2023Book Drive for Lahaina
Fri, Sept 22, 2023Waiver Day – No Students
Tue, Sept 26, 2023Fall Picture Taking Day
Wed, Sept 27, 2023, 4:30 PMSchool Community Council Meeting
Join by Zoom
Thur, Sept 28, 2023, 8:15 AMOff-Campus Evacuation Drill
Fri, Sept 29, 2023Deadline to submit Federal Survey Cards
Sat, Sept 30, 2023Campus Beautification Day
Oct 2-6, 2023KES Book Fair
Fri, Oct 6, 2023Silver Linings Day
End of Quarter 1
Oct 9 – 13, 2023Fall Break Intersession – no school
Oct 23 – Nov 3, 2023Parent-Teacher Conferences
early release 12:45 PM daily
Wed, Nov 1, 2023Complex PC Day – No Students

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *