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President Barack Obama is expected to fly in this afternoon for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Conference, which is the largest conservation event in the world. His arrival to Hawaii not only brings excitement and anticipation but also traffic.
Today, Head of School Mrs. Betty White sent a letter advising parents to heed the traffic advisories issued by the city and to plan accordingly.
“The President’s arrival will cause road closures in the afternoon as the President travels from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to the East West Center on the University of Hawaii at Manoa campus,” White states in the letter. “The reports say that the road closures can begin as early as 4 p.m. and will affect all Eastbound lanes of the H-1 and surface streets from the airport area to Manoa.”
When the President leaves Manoa, westbound lanes will be closed. Closures will occur from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Wednesday school dismissal at the Academy will not be affected; however, it is recommended that parents pick up their child as soon as possible, especially if she is in After School Care.
The advisories have prompted the Academy to cancel all Early College classes; details regarding athletic practices and games are still being discussed.
Students may have noticed teachers cracking down on a few campus safety rules this school year. The rules include locking all doors during class, faculty and staff wearing identification badges and, for some teachers, not allowing students to use the restroom during instructional time.
These policies are part of the school’s Crisis Management Plan, which is meant to “ensure the safety of all students and staff on campus,” Vice Principal Kinga Sanders said.
Over the summer, administrators met to discuss ways of improving the safety and security of students and staff, in the event of an evacuation or campus intruder, Sanders said. This plan has always been in effect; however, with the recent string of school shootings nationwide, Academy administrators are pushing for heavier enforcement.
According to the management plan, doors should never be slightly ajar, unlocked or opened during class time. This is to prevent intruders from entering the classroom and thus, jeopardizing the safety of occupants.
On the lower school campus, students are required to go to the restrooms in pairs. While on the upper school campus, a handful of teachers have been restricting students from using the restroom during class time–with the exception of an emergency. This is to prevent students from roaming campus unsupervised.
“We hope teachers understand that we can’t always control our needs (to use the restroom),” sophomore Aiyana Arnobit said.
Mrs. Leilani Asuncion-Tagupa, high school theology teacher, agrees and says teachers must use their discretion in allowing students to use the restroom during class.
“We know which students are going to waste time in the restroom and which ones genuinely have to go,” she said. Students are able to use the restroom before, during and after school.
Sophomore Grace Kim has been a student at Sacred Hearts Academy for 10 years. And she says that every school year, it feels like there are more and more students on campus. A hunch that has also been echoed by her peers and a few teachers.
But, according to Vice Principal Kinga Sanders, there has not been “a significant increase in students this school year.” In fact, she says, the numbers are similar to recent years.
There is currently a total of 166 new students this school year; 76 from the lower school and 90 students from the high school. Specific enrollment numbers from last school year could not be released.
Even though enrollment has not change drastically, the students who are new to the Academy say they are glad they chose to attend this school.
“I decided to enroll (here) because it was a better opportunity for me,” sophomore Chazzlyne Rae Luna said. “The education is just so much better.”
She is also making time to enjoy her first few weeks as a Lancer.
“It’s been great so far,” Luna said. “I joined air riflery, which…is the first sport (I am trying).”
Robotics teams from all over the island were grinding gears at the annual East Oahu VEX Championships, the kick-off event for the state.
Held on campus, the competition hosted more than 20 teams, including Sacred Hearts Academy’s Lancer Robotics. The teams came hand-in-remote with their robots and competed for the title of the “East Oahu VEX Robotics Tournament Champions.”
This year, Pearl City High School VEX Robotics Team were victorious, receiving a plethora of awards that included the Excellence Award, Robot Skills Champion and Design Award.
Robotics teacher Peter Park said that the event provided the team with a new perspective.
“Having seen excellent models during the competition, we were all able to see where we stood, compared to other teams,” Park said. “It gives us a lot of room for improvement.”
Park also added that the event was successful; volunteers from other schools helped the function to run smoothly. Teams were also reportedly satisfied with their campus workplaces, also known as “pits.”
“It was a very good experience, hosting the event here,” said Park.
With the start of the new school year comes new changes to policies at Sacred Hearts Academy. According to Vice Principal Kinga Sanders, such changes were implemented after realizing the need for enforcement of the rules, particularly with new students and seniors.
In regards to the sock policy, socks must be ankle-length with the school’s logo visible; otherwise, socks should be of a plain white color. This policy applies regardless of which type of uniform the student may be wearing (i.e. blue skirt, white skirt, Friday attire). Those without the appropriate socks will be required to buy a pair from the high school office for two dollars.
Originally, the minimum skirt length was no more than two inches above the knee, but that policy has been changed to three inches above the knee.
In addition, the V-neck pullover sweater will no longer be allowed as part of the uniform due to students’ abuse of the garment. Some have not been wearing their full uniform underneath it.
According to the updated policy on tardiness, students will be marked tardy if they are not present in their homeroom’s flag line at morning assembly.
Junior Tyson Noquez-Epil said, “I am not really affected by the uniform policies since I have always followed the uniform anyway, but I like that now we are able to use our phones during the school day. To me, this change had the biggest impact.”
Previously, students were not allowed to use cell phones between the hours of 7:35 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. According to Sanders, after a teacher survey showed that the faculty supported students’ learning responsible cell phone use, the policy was updated and students will now be able to use their cells during recess and lunch. During all other times, cell phones should be silenced and stored in lockers or bags.
Lastly, in the classroom, students will no longer be allowed to eat or drink during instructional time due to the distraction it causes in the classroom. However, water will be allowed.
The heart of the lions beat with awareness and solidarity, as the Academy’s Leo Club volunteered at the 26th Annual Oahu Heart and Stroke Walk.
The walk, hosted by the American Heart Association, is meant to raise “funds to save lives from…heart disease and stroke” and “promote physical activity and heart-healthy living.”
Juniors Kaleikaumaka Cruz and Jiyeon Chun had a chance to watch their heart — literally.
The two were in charge of supervising a giant inflatable heart that people could walk through and learn more about heart ailments. Informational signage and diagrams were posted on the walls.
Chun thoroughly enjoyed being the “guardian” of the heart, as she put it.
“I was really amazed by the heart model because the heart was delicately represented with information attached to each part,” she said.
For Cruz, it was much more than a volunteer opportunity.
“I really did like watching over the inflatable heart,” Cruz said.“It was really cool, and I also was able to do it with my best friend.”
The event took place at Kapiolani Park in early August, hosting more than5,000 people and raising $563,515 in donations. Participants had the choice to take a one-mile stroll around the park or challenge themselves, and their cardiovascular systems, by running a 4.5-mile course around Diamond Head.
After completing their walk, participants enjoyed breakfast provided by Subway and received other goodies, such as informational flyers, stress balls — even a pill-shaped pen. There were information booths and a keiki corner to educate and entertain the community about heart and other cardiovascular diseases.
Chun believes that having the Heart Walk ultimately benefits the community.
“It is important because people get to learn how to prevent heart diseases,” Chun said.
“The Heart Walk is important to have because it teaches you about your health and ways to be healthy,.” said Cruz.
Junior Frances Nicole Tabios and sophomore Celine Isabelle Arnobit, Ka Leo staffers under the guidance of video teacher Alyssa Myers, won 1st place in the News category of the 13th Annual Statewide Olelo Youth Xchange Student Video Competition.
The competition encourages students to express their voice through videos on issues that concern youth. Tabios and Arnobit’s video featured Academy sophomore Daryl Bolosan who dedicates more than 200 hours annually as a volunteer at the Honolulu Zoo.
Tabios said, “We wanted a story that would be influential on viewers and definitely a video about a student from school who performed an uncommon type of service to the community. With both of Daryl’s parents being long-time zookeepers, Celine and I thought it would be a fascinating story to film since she basically grew up at the zoo.”
Myers helped the students with the script and the filming.
Myers said, “As their mentor, I helped Celine and Frances Nicole with the entire production process and assisted them where they needed help. Overall, I think it was a good learning opportunity for them because they had the chance to go out and do actual reporting in a real world setting.”
The making of the video was a long process, taking a lot of time outside the classroom and having to film at the zoo during the winter break. Although the entire filming and editing process took about three months, the students found it to be rewarding.
Arnobit said, “From this experience, I learned the different aspects of video journalism and I improved my video editing skills. It has also helped me with collaboration and investigative skills while we worked hard to gather the necessary information for our video. We were very excited and happy when we won and overall, it was lit!”
Although video submissions to the contest have won prizes before, this was the first time a school team took first place in any category.
The Sacred Hearts Academy band performed at the annual Parade of Bands over the course of three days at McKinley High School.
Students began preparing songs upon their return from winter vacation.
“I was most impressed, very excited because I saw a drive and will in the students of our bands, especially Wind Ensemble, to really push themselves and call their own rehearsals and shoot for their utmost,” said Band Director Keith Higaki. “I think for the most part, when we hit Parade of Bands, it was their best performance of those numbers up to that point.”
Students in the Wind Ensemble received a score of 2+, but the highest score is 1+.
“The judges gave us 2+, which is pretty bad because we usually get 1+, but Mr. Higaki thought we played the best we had ever played with the most passion ever,” said junior Samantha Ishihara. “I feel like it didn’t happen though. It felt normal.”
After the concert, students were proud of their performances.
“I thought that the sound was better there because we’re so used to playing at Mamiya Theatre,” said junior Taylor Yee. “I felt good after because the sound was really great and we sounded really good.”
Despite the rating, students enjoyed the outcome of their performances.
“You could tell that they felt a feeling of accomplishment,” said Higaki, “and so did I because those numbers are not easy. Even when I mentioned to my colleagues in the Honolulu Wind Ensemble, they all said, ‘oh wow, those are are tough numbers.’ So, it was an accomplishment and at the same time a great pride. I thought that they did quite well on it, considering where we started.”
For the seniors, this was their second to last performance before the Aloha Concert.
“To think that for the most part, except for the seniors, they’re all the all students that I started in beginning band,” said HIgaki. “That was even more reason for being so proud of them. They’ve come so far.”
Over the course of roughly seven weeks, an after-school class directed by Dr. Arnold Laanui of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) taught students how to analyze and conduct an investigation.
Students gained entry to the class on a first-come, first-served basis. The program was introduced by Britney Valoria, a graduate of Sacred Hearts Academy who majored in forensics at Chaminade University. Viloria interned for the FBI and currently works as an operational support technician.
“Arnold had pulled me aside one day and said he had a project he was thinking about and asked if I could help. He proposed the idea of introducing Sacred Hearts [to the program] since I’m a graduate.”
Viloria attended all the sessions with Laanui to assist him.
The program consisted of a series of classes held once a week after school over the course of seven weeks. Each class taught a different skill, such as sketching and mapping a crime scene.
At the end of the program, students left campus to solve a simulated crime scene from the beginning analysis to discovering the fate of the victims.
To test the group’s final skills, the students in the class collaborated with Waipahu High School for two field days.
Students had to employ teamwork and key skills from their classes to locate a piece of evidence crucial to solving the case.
On the group’s first day, students stayed at Sacred Hearts, where they interviewed “witnesses” including teachers Alex Adkins and Kevin Allen.
On the second day, students visited a crime scene on the campus of the University of Hawaii West Oahu where they processed a crime scene by sketching it, taking pictures and collecting evidence. Students later used the collected evidence to piece together the events of the crime.
Part of the simulation was digging up skeletons. While the crime scene was not real, one of the two skeletons was. Students also worked in the “bone lab,” where they had a chance to use equipment and study bones.
“It was a great experience, coming back, seeing what’s changed, seeing how these girls grow,” said Viloria. “I always love coming back. Anything to help the Sacred Hearts family.”
Since this year marked the first time Sacred Hearts participated in the program, interest level was unpredictable.
“There were too many people,” said Toni Normand, director of Student Activities. “We couldn’t have them all in one class; we had to turn some away.”
The program has been done before with Waipahu High School for three years. In the first two years of the program, Farrington was the partner school.
“This is the first year we’ve partnered with an ILH school,” said Laanui.
“The big time goal of the program was to see if we could interest high performing young ladies with a background in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in the field of law enforcement,” said Laanui. “At the same time, it’s trying to introduce into the classroom some really interesting problem-solving techniques. The kind of stuff that the FBI and FBI agents use around the world every day, which is, ‘how do we go ahead and solve some of these really complex crimes?’”
In order to do so, basic skill sets were introduced to the class. This included how to secure crime scenes, how to sketch them and how to secure evidence.
“We put a two-day, ‘whodunnit’ together, where the students actually go out and try to solve a case for the very first time with very minimal coaching,” said Laanui. “They, for the most part, operate and run the whole case like they’re real FBI agents.”
Was it successful?
“It was highly successful,” said Laanui. “Absolutely, one of the things that was really interesting, certainly, was the caliber of writing that comes out of Sacred Hearts.”
Virtually everything done in law enforcement must be documented.
The highest form of law enforcement agents includes writing affidavits, search warrants and affidavits to support arrest warrants.
“The students here did really well,” said Laanui. “They put together, as part of [the program] affidavits.”
Documentation is a key component of law enforcement. Not only must one have the skill to go ahead and investigate the crime but the crime must also be taken to court.
The big goal is to have justice dealt out in an appropriate way. The documentation of the investigation is key in making that happen.
“I enjoyed it, absolutely loved it, certainly, I knew I came to the right place,” said Laanui. “A lot of the research I’ve been conducting for the FBI clearly shows that if I can build more diverse teams, I get better outcomes. If I can attract more people of a different gender to the traditionally male dominated law enforcement environment and also entice individuals with different ethnic backgrounds.”
That, for the most part, is the hallmark of Sacred Hearts, according to Laanui.
“That kind of background, coming from a different gender, especially as well as mixed ethnicities, is exactly the kind of stuff that we need in the FBI,” continued Laanui. “I’m hoping that down the road, it might entice women to this type of exciting career.”
Sophomore Ashley Zhang was one of the student participants.
“I joined because I like it. I was very interested in the topic,” said Zhang. “I like investigating. That’s one of my dream jobs as a kid. It was really fun. I love digging up bodies.”
Freshman Christina Dang was also a participant.
“ I was interested,” said Christina. “I wanted to be in the FBI. Accomplishing my little good old self dream! It was super fun. I saw a real dead body.”
Although the field day featured a crime scene, it was only a simulation. However, two skeletons were present at the crime scene: one fake, one real.
Sacred Hearts Academy is very satisfied with the outcome of the program.
“The students came early,” said Normand. “They were so excited. Laanui was absolutely wonderful to work with. He tells us real good stories. Best field trip ever!”
Sophomore Ashley Zhang’s submission of a poem to Barnes and Noble’s Best Teacher contest about her favorite teacher, band director Keith Higaki, won.
“I was shocked when I won because I thought that my poem wasn’t very good,” said Zhang.
Evidently, the judges thought differently. So did Higaki.
“Her poem was quite creative and well written,” said Higaki. “I feel very honored and at the same time very surprised to have even been nominated. When I found out, it was a total surprise for me. My initial thought was ‘why me?’ It was very nice of her.”
“I chose Mr. Higaki since he’s the teacher I’m most comfortable with,” said Zhang.
At the presentation at Barnes and Noble, Zhang read her poem before her family, Higaki, administration and the award givers.
The store representative presented gifts, which included “ten pounds of classic books” for Higaki and a $25 gift card for Zhang.
“It was a total surprise, but it’s an honor to be recognized by a student who felt strongly enough to write about me. In a positive manner,” added HIgaki, laughing. “I’m very honored and very appreciative.”
Several new courses are available for students in grades seven to 12 in the 2016-2017 school year.
In the English department, World Literature and American Literature are options for sophomores. Creative Writing, Literature of Food Culture and Reading-Writing workshop I and II are other courses for students in grades 10 to 12.
In the Math department, new courses are AP Calculus BC for students in grades 11 and 12 with a pre-requisite of a grade of “B” or higher in the second semester of Pre-calculus.
Keeley Ohman’s Spanish III Honors classes are completing their final project of the year, a cumulative video on Spanish-speaking countries of their choice which focuses on ecological issues.
Students’ can make their videos in any format, from a newscast to an adventure show.
Videos incorporate the grammar and vocabulary learned throughout the year but focus on the most recent units of material covered in class. In addition to ecological problems, sample topics that students can present in their video include the indigenous peoples and animals, culture, local weather and famous politicians of their chosen country.
Spanish teacher Keeley Ohman said, “By exploring diverse ecological situations in the context of the Spanish-speaking world, students are able to become more aware of global issues and become conscientious of the effects of their daily decisions.”
The Freshman Class took a field trip to Ford Island on Apr. 13 to view exhibits and artifacts, exploring and learning about the USS Missouri Memorial and the Pacific Aviation Museum.
History teachers Alex Adkins and Mario Dilello organized the trip to give students a first-hand perspective on a war that greatly impacted Hawaii over six decades ago.
Students had guided tours and roamed the two iconic historic sites.
Freshman Ashley Manz said, “They gave us controls and we got to fly planes and watch each other crash and shoot at people. It was a fun time spending time with my friends and getting a hands-on experience to see how it feels to fly a plane in World War II.”
Highlights of the day included exploring the living and working areas of the battleship Missouri, operating the flight simulator, viewing the “Instrument of Surrender,” signed by the Japanese foreign minister and signifying the end of WWII, and many more.
The trip impacted students who realized that they were visiting areas that marked the beginning and end of World War II for America.
Freshman Rissalyn Lat said, “This trip has greatly impacted my knowledge about World War II and how Pearl Harbor was bombed. I am thankful for this experience and I hope that history will not repeat itself.”
Lancers sailed in the sun, rain and wind but never lost focus of their goal.
Seniors Malia Libby and Isabel Yeoh sailed to a Varsity II title in the last regatta of the 2016 Interscholastic League of Honolulu (ILH) sailing season.
Libby said, “My last sailing race was incredibly bittersweet. I have been sailing on the team for the past four years, and knowing that my last race was this year made me think of every race that had ever led me to this moment. I have been sailing since before I could walk, and the water feels like a second home to me. Although I’ll miss sailing, I’m glad to be giving new students the opportunity to experience the joys of sailing like I have.”
Libby and Yeoh were awarded 3rd place in the Varsity II C division. This is the third year that the Academy has won a varsity title since the ILH sanctioned sailing in 2003.
Coach Libby said, “These are the most talented young women I’ve ever had the pleasure to coach. All of them did extremely well. I’m very proud of each and every one.”
Seniors were inducted into the Academy’s sisterhood at the Alumnae Investiture on Apr. 27.
The evening began with a processional of several alumnae and the seniors and concluded with the singing of the alma mater.
After the processional, each senior followed the tradition of lighting a candle from the Christ candle and was given a small token.
Many seniors’ mothers were part of the Alumnae Investiture since they too were graduates of Sacred Hearts.
Senior Shayla Trinidad said, “My mother was part of the alumnae who walked in and I think it was a special experience for her seeing me becoming an alumna and graduating soon.”
Alumna Sheryl Carvalho Chun said, “As an alumna, I was very pleased to be able to experience such a delightful event. It was amazing to see my daughter and her friends being welcomed as incoming alumnae. The girls looked lovely and it was a bittersweet experience to welcome my daughter into the sisterhood of the alumnae of Sacred Hearts Academy. The tradition still holds!”
As the year comes to a close, the performing arts classes are featuring students in dance, song and music in three showcases of student talent.
The dance classes, taught by Micki Kolberg, is the first to entertain audiences with their moves at the Choreographer’s Showcase on May 4. The dance students, who range from grades seven to 12, is performing dances choreographed by students themselves. The showcase is in the auditorium from 4 to 6 p.m.
Following the showcase is the band’s Aloha Concert. Students in grades seven to 12 are taught by Keith Higaki. They will be performing an array of compositions at Mamiya Theater from 6 to 9 p.m. on May 9.
Students from the choir classes taught by Alec Schumacker will be singing in the annual Spring Choir Concert on May 13. The concert will be held in the chapel from 6 to 8 p.m.
Yasmeen Hassan, executive director of Equality Now, visited the Academy on Apr. 29 to speak to students women’s rights.
Raised in Pakistan but educated in Catholic schools, Hassan learned lessons of solidarity, organization and law from an early age which spurred her motivation and dedication to become involved in law.
At the age of 10, Hassan experienced a military dictatorship in Pakistan which sparked the women’s rights activism movement in the country.
Hassan studied at Harvard Law School with hopes of becoming an advocate for women.
During her visit at the Academy, Hassan gave students startling statistics about the mistreatment and inequality of women in other countries, such as 38,000 child marriages a day, three million girls subjected to female genital mutilation every year and Hawaii as the first state to pass an anti-sex tourism law.
Hassan also spoke about the goals of Equality Now, a women’s rights activist organization that is working to create worldwide social change through legal means.
Founded in 1992, Equality Now’s goal is for better gender equality laws. According to Hassan, countries with greater gender equality, such as the Nordic states, also have increased peace and decreased conflict within the country. However, changing gender inequality laws in foreign countries is sometimes difficult due to cultural implications.
To support the women’s rights activist movement, students can join Equality Now and sign up to receive newsletters and petitions.
In addition, Hassan encouraged students to set an example when entering male-dominated fields.
“Do not change for a male-dominated field. The field needs to accommodate you. Be you. Be an example,” she said.
Although Hassan encounters a multitude of cases that are sometimes gruesome and seemingly hopeless, her motivation to keep working and fighting for gender equality is seeing some success which reminds her that hope is very much alive.
“I would call myself a humanist,” said Hassan. “I do believe, generally, humanity is good. My faith in people is strong and that’s what leads me on.”
Three Academy students won awards in this year’s Keiki Day Contest, with winners named in the special Keiki Day edition of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
Eighth grader Lesna O’Donnell won for her grade level with a poem while sophomore Ivy Yeoh and senior Jessica Wehrman won for their essays. All entries wrote about the theme, “Diversity.”
For the past two decades, Keiki Day has been an annual fundraising event “that highlights the complicated issues facing families and youngsters in Hawaii,” according to the Star-Advertiser which benefits the Parents And Children Together (PACT) organization.
It is not easy to give of yourself, making sacrifices for the benefit of others and dedicating time to issues that one would rather leave on the back burner. However, for former U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka, giving back to the community with the “Spirit of Aloha” is what he lives for.
On Apr. 27, Sen. Akaka read “I Love My New Toy” by Mo Willems and Bill Martin Jr.’s “Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See?” to the Academy Junior Kindergarten class to honor his great-granddaughter, a member of the class.
During Sen. Akaka’s career, he was recognized with the “Human and Civil Rights Award” for his work with education, integrating Native Hawaiian language and culture into schools and creating programs for Head Start, a non-profit organization that delivers “need-based human services to the economically challenged.”
While serving in the Senate, Akaka vowed to become “an example of the ‘Spirit of Aloha.’”
After retiring from politics in 2012, Akaka continues to serve his community. He is currently working with the National Kidney Foundation to establish a program to educate the people about kidney disease and hopes to help establish a center dedicated to the cause in July.
An advocate of conservation, Akaka will bring the World Conference of Conservation of Nature, a convention on nature conservation and diversity, to the Hawaii Convention Center this year. The plan is for more than 8,000 attendees to join the discussion.
Even with an impressive list of achievements, nothing will stop Akaka from supporting his fellow Americans.
“As I look back, I think I’ve done well in using my life to make positive changes for people. But, there is so much more to do,” Akaka said. “Life is great when you help people.”
Students in the Japanese III Honors class spent a day learning about yukata, what the Japanese call a summer kimono.
Teacher Nami Grafia said, “We invited 10 Japanese students from Yasuda Women’s University to help us with our activities dealing with yukata. We had many yukata which were donated by senior Erica Nishi-Bantolina’s grandmother a few years ago. Mrs. Nishi also had the opportunity to visit and observe our class.”
Academy students collaborated with the college students who helped explain the clothing. Students learned how to put on the yukata and experimented with them, learning how they restrict movement in daily activities, such as walking, running, sitting on a chair, sitting on the floor or picking up things from the floor.
Senior Ashley Joy Sumibcay said, “Wearing the yukata was really weird. It was stiff. We wore wooden slippers called geta. Walking around in the get-up showed me how graceful women in Japan need to be. Overall, it was a nice experience.”
The class will use their findings and observations to discuss how clothing affects the culture and women’s roles in Japan.