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On Feb. 14, students in Parkland spent their Valentine’s Day hiding under their desks in fear. It only took six minutes until the gunman started shooting students and staff with his AR-15 rifle. A total of 14 students and three staff members from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were killed.
People all over the nation, including survivors of gun violence, students and parents, all across the nation prepared to make their voice heard in the nationwide rally to protest gun violence on Mar. 24, a week after the Parkland shooting.
The movement kicked off after students shared their experiences and decided that no one else should die due to gun violence. Led by students, hashtags like Enough is Enough and Never Again, resemble the students need for a change.
The mission statement for the March for Our Lives states, “Our schools are unsafe. Our children and teachers are dying. We must make it our top priority to save these lives.”
Many marches took place in different states around the nation, and several countries around the world. Each march took place on Mar. 24 in their respective time zones.
The main march took place in Washington D.C., a few blocks away from the Capital.
The main march on Oahu took place at the state capitol, but there were also two other marches in Kailua and Ala Moana Park. The Kailua march was designed for those who cannot attend the Honolulu March but support student action for gun regulation reform.
Sacred Hearts Academy senior, Taylor McKenzie, helped plan the march that took place at the Hawaii State Capitol.
“I was motivated to organize the March For Our Lives event because it’s about time that we have gun control,” Mckenzie said. “There was a lot of people, which shows that there’s a lot of interest in this and that the country should be listening.”
March for Our Lives has already received an abundance of support from countless amounts of people, including celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, and Justin Bieber.
Businesses have also been offering their support. Ride-sharing app, Lyft, offered Stoneman students free rides to the march, and Bumble, a dating app, banned images of guns on its platform and donated $100,000 to the cause.
On Feb. 22, Sacred Hearts Academy held the annual Engineering Day where the school invited workers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) industries. The different individuals created activities about engineering to help students understand different aspects of their careers.
One of the activities was an interactive demonstration about architecture. Students used marshmallows and uncooked spaghetti to build the tallest sustainable building.
Since the marshmallow and spaghetti are both unusual materials for building, it is especially hard for using it to build a tall building. With their intellect, students successfully built tall buildings that withstand an unstable base.
For those who attended they were able to walk to different tables and learn about different engineering careers. Engineering Day is created to help students become more knowledgeable about job careers they can enter.
This year was special because engineering was a day before Science Symposium, another event created to introduce students to STEM.
“Last year, our top 10 seniors all choose majors in STEM,” College counselor Randall Fong said. “This definitely proves that girls have a great understanding of engineering.”
Students from Sacred Hearts Academy gathered in the school’s chapel to celebrate the annual Junior Ring Ceremony on Feb. 22. Alongside their parents, juniors took time out of their busy schedules to participate in this initiating event. Packed with speeches and prayers from the junior division council, the annual event was truly memorable.
The purpose of the Junior Ring Ceremony is to commemorate the importance of their junior year in high school and to initiate them as upper school students. It has been a tradition for Sacred Hearts Academy students for many years.
“I like this ceremony because my family is here with me, my grandmother graduated from this school,” Junior Eliza Otenbriet said. “(Junior Ring Ceremony) is special for her to watch me participate in this ceremony as well.”
Juniors had a choice between buying a ring or a pin and during the ceremony, they receive their pin or ring. Before students started to receive pins, all guests were asked to raise their right hands and bless the pins and rings.
During the ceremony, juniors walked to the altar with their family or friends and the students’ accompanying guest put the ring or pin on the junior.
Along with their purchased ring or pins, juniors also received a yellow rose. The Junior Ring Ceremony has been held every year for juniors but it has a unique meaning to every junior that participates in it.
On the morning of Feb. 19, crowds of people gathered at Aloha Tower to participate in the 34th annual Great Aloha Run.
The run officially kicked off at 7 a.m., but many people arrived at an earlier time.
Unlike other years, in which the run was sponsored by Kaiser Permanente, this year’s run was sponsored by Hawaii Pacific Health.
Despite the threat of stormy weather, the approximately 24,000 people showed up to participate in the 8.15-mile course from Downtown Honolulu to Aloha Stadium.
The weather cleared up just in time for the race.
Andy Wacker of Boulder, CO. came in first place, at 39 minutes and 35 seconds. The first person from Hawaii to cross the finish line was Pierce Murphy of Hanalei, Maui. He came in about 10 seconds after Wacker.
Over 100 people represented Sacred Hearts Academy including, students, parents, teachers and staff completed the race.
“Student volunteers helped during the (Great Aloha Run) Expo, preparing and giving out race packets the three days before the race, gave out water along the course, folded finisher t-shirts and gave out t-shirts,” Director of Student Activities Cleo Eubanks said.
The Academy’s Leo Club and National Honor Society were a part of the many who volunteered at the race.
It was reported that this year’s race raised about $350,000 for local charities and the military.
This year, all-girls school Sacred Hearts Academy parted from a longstanding tradition by allowing students to bring female guests to Winter Ball. The policy change was created to promote a stronger bond of sisterhood, administrators say, but not many took advantage of the change.
Out of the more than 100 Academy students attending the Winter Ball, six brought a female guest and 56 brought a male guest. Traditionally, Academy students were only allowed to bring a male guest to events, such as the Winter Ball and prom.
According to Director of Student Activities Cleo Eubanks, the low female guest turnout might have also been a result of students attending with friends from the Academy.
The policy states that students at the Academy cannot be a guest of another student from the school. Additionally, guests, male or female, must be between the ages of 14 to 19 and attend a high school or college.
The ball, which takes place in December, is opened to students in grades 9 to 12. This year, the event was held at the Ala Moana Hotel.
“It was weird that students had the choice to bring a female guest, but I (barely saw) anyone bring a guest that was female,” sophomore Mier Yu said.
She added that it might have been due to students being uninformed of the policy change; however, Eubanks said students were made aware of the change at a meeting before ticket sales began in October. They could also find more details on the school’s information system, on flyers posted around campus and on the school’s student-run news program.Challenges in finding a male date
Some students, like sophomore Arynn Acdan, were pleased to hear about the policy change.
“(Bringing a female date) takes the pressure off of always having to find a male guest,” sophomore Acdan said.
According to her, finding a male date has always been difficult for her and her peers. She attributes this to going to an all-girls school, where, she said, forming relationships with male peers can be limited.
“I had to somewhat go out of my way to find a male guest to bring,” Acdan said. “My guest was a friend, who I met through a friend’s friend. If he was not able to go with me, I probably would have attended alone or brought a female guest.”Listening to students
Many agree that the policy provided more freedom for students attending the ball.
“Having that option (to bring a female guest) is empowering (and) exciting,” Eubanks said. “It brings a sense of community.”
In addition to sisterhood, the policy change is meant to address student wishes. Students requested to bring female guests to semi-formal and formal events last year.
“I think we need to always remember our students have a voice in the things that we do, and this is one of (the times when we listen),” Eubanks said.
The administration worked with student council and the Winter Ball committee in making this change possible.
Due to the success of the revised guest policy for Winter Ball, Eubanks said it will extend to other school events, such as prom.
Junior class advisor Leilani Asuncion is currently preparing for junior prom in April.
“For (the school) to be on the same page, all formal and semi-formal events, like junior prom and senior prom, are going to basically follow the same guest guidelines,” Asuncion said.
Junior Jasmine Matsumoto is happy to hear about the policy change and agrees that if she had to find a male guest, it would be challenging for her. She is also considering bringing a female guest to junior prom this year.
“Prom is one of the most important milestones of our high school careers,” she said. “I don’t want to waste it stressing about finding a male guest.”
Protesters gathered at the Hawaii State Capitol on Jan. 22 to participate in the annual March for Life. The march gave protesters the opportunity to voice their opinions on the practice and legality of abortion.
“It (was) a thrilling experience to partake in this event,” Sacred Hearts Academy junior Rin Inuzuka said. “It was very heartwarming to see people of all ages and background (come together) and advocate for such a cause.”
The theme for this year’s march was, “Embrace them, not destroy them.” Signs reading, “We love pro-life” and “Cherish life,” were scattered throughout the Capitol.
The controversial topic regarding abortion was first sparked 45 years ago when the court case Roe vs. Wade ruled in favor of abortion.
The case took three years to conclude, and since the court ruled in Roe’s favor, pro-life activists have been protesting. The marches began in Washington D.C. following the court and has since spread throughout the country. Hawaii joined the movement two years ago.
The rally started at 3 p.m. and finished at 9 p.m. Events that occurred throughout the day included, a live performance by Academy sophomore Rachel Faith Javier and a speech from Bishop Larry Silva.
In her speech, Javier said, “I feel that we need to speak up for life, especially (for) those that do not have a voice.”
Students started their Galentine’s day with letters from friends and Valentines Day candies from student council. In celebration of the day of love, students were given the opportunity to write letters to their friends calling the day, ‘Galentine’s Day.’
“This is an opportunity for students at the Academy to express their appreciation of their closest friendships,” student council vice president Taylor McKenzie said.
All students from grades 7-12 participated in this event by writing letters or funny message to their friends on a heart-shaped card.
Letters are written and collected in homeroom, and if students wanted extra hearts or time to write sweet notes they were given the opportunity to turn it into Cleo Eubanks, director of student activities. The number of cards were not restricted and students were invited to write as many letters as they want.
“I got two (notes) from my best friends and one from Mrs. Eubanks,” McKenzie said. “My best friends wrote jokes and puns on their cards and it made me laugh. It touched me to receive a note from Mrs. Eubanks because I’ve been in student council with her for two years.”
“When we were researching names (for Galentine’s Day), that name popped up so we decided to go with Galentine’s.”
The holiday, which is celebrated one day before Valentine’s day, was first created in the television show, Parks and Recreations. First aired in 2010, the episode includes a celebration of female characters relationships.
Students participated in celebrations for Galentine’s day for the second time this year. As the holiday becomes more of a norm students start to look forward to celebrating Galentine’s day.
“I look forward to Galentine’s day because I get chocolate and letters from my friends,” junior Martha Nicholas said.
On Jan. 21, crowds of people gathered from 10 a.m. at the Hawaii State Capitol to march for women’s rights.
The 2nd Annual Women’s March began with speakers, which then later commenced to the actual march. From the State Capitol, the ambitious advocates marched along Richards Street, passing South Beretania Street and returning to the starting point.
The march was created on Facebook last year by Maui local Teresa Shook. This page along with several other pages linked within it gave marchers more information on the itinerary of both the Hawai’i State Capitol march and several other marches throughout the nation of America.
Protesters followed Shook and marched to fight against President Donald Trump’s inauguration. According to marchers, they are protesting against the President’s action and words throughout social media, demean women and other minority groups.
Women and men across America stood against the inequality of women who are still deprived of their rights today.
After the #metoo movement, which demonstrated a widespread problem of sexual harassment and assault, countless more are speaking up to the power imbalance not only in Hollywood but also for the everyday American women who are not given equal rights and respect.
“Don’t be afraid to speak your truth and have your own opinions,” Sacred Hearts Academy English teacher Chloe Smith said. “If you believe passionately about something, believe in that passion and speak that passion and find something that you value.”