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Academy concert and select choir students attended Nā Leo Hou: Hawaii All-State Choral Festival from Feb. 11-13 where Nā Leo Hou strives to showcase the best of choral education in Hawaii.
Over the course of two days, participants completed a musical sight reading test, learned a hula, and made new friendships.
Senior Ally Montiel said, “It is a bittersweet feeling when I attended my last choir festival this past weekend. I am grateful to have met amazing people from other schools around the island and the opportunity to sing with them at the concert.”
Nā Leo Hou brings together over 200 hundred high school singers from across the islands under the direction of an outstanding clinician. This year the participants learned five pieces with world-renowned conductor Tesfa Wondemagegnehu.
Wondemagegnehu is the conductor of the American Public Media(APM) Radio Choir and manager of the choral works Initiative for APM.He has performed in the United States and abroad as a tenor soloist. Wondemagegnehu hails from Minnesota.
Concluding the festival was a concert of the Nā Leo Hou Festival Choir on Feb. 13 at Central Union Church which featured adjudicated performances by several of the participating schools and community choirs.
The Academy choir performed “No Time” by Susan Brumfield and “Tundra” by Ola Gjello.
As the festival chorus took the stage, a calabash offering was taken, which helps support programs and festivals like Nā Leo Hou across the state.
The Senior Ohana Luncheon is a long-standing tradition at the Academy. It is a time for seniors to show their appreciation to their families and enjoy the company of friends and classmates before graduation.
Senior Council member Mabel Cheng said, “Our theme for the luncheon was inspired by the Chinese New Year, which is the Year of the Monkey.”
Council members distributed red envelopes containing lucky candies and a quarter. The envelopes are a popular tradition for parents to give money to their children as a sign of happiness and wish them good luck for the new year.
The luncheon provided time to reminisce about the seniors’ years in high school and to look forward to the future.
Senior Kathryn Garcia said, “Graduation is going to come by so quickly and because of this I have developed a greater appreciation for my mother. I have spent more time with her and this luncheon was fun for the both of us. We even wore matching outfits and received many compliments from my classmates.”
This year’s event was held at the Manoa Grand Ballroom on Feb. 7.
Sacred Hearts Academy celebrated Living in Faith Experience (LIFE) Week with special activities culminating in a mass and a walk to Palolo park.
The week kicked off with an afternoon assembly on Monday hosted by the Academy and St. Louis School’s LIFE teams.
Each year, the LIFE team focuses on a social issue. This year’s issue was human trafficking.
Courage House is a national movement trying to help young people from becoming victims of trafficking.
A local extension of the program, Hoola Na Pua, or “healing the blossoms,” aims to help people who have been trafficked, by refurbishing and making available a shelter on the North Shore. The shelter will be open to young people who have nowhere to go after they have been freed of the trafficking situation.
Many victims do not have families or places to go to after they are free. Hoola Na Pua’s goal is to be a place where such victims can be safe and heal from all of their physical and emotional hurt.
A Hoola representative spoke at the assembly about human trafficking and the local shelter. The assembly also had activities for students hosted by the LIFE members.
On Tuesday, the Lancer Christian Community (LCC) hosted a meeting hosted by LIFE members. Food was served while the meeting members talked about what can be done in regards to human trafficking while forming fellowship.
On Wednesday, the circle activity consisted of signing a petition for unpaid labor to be made illegal to be sent to the legislature. Later in the day the Taste Tea truck came for the day’s “Taste (Tea)ing the Change” event, a fundraiser, for Hoola Na Pua.
Thursday featured the annual LIFE mass and LIFE walk.
After the mass students in grades 8-12 walked to Palolo park, where they interacted with schoolmates in organized games and activities.
“I think the LIFE walk is a wonderful time for the entire high school and middle school to bond together,” said Sr. Katherine Francis, the Campus Minister. “After mass, we go on this walk where we exercise and yell and scream and have fun and all kinds of things. When we get to the park, we play lots of games and just get our energy out and celebrate, which we seldom get to do. You’re so busy studying or all of these things but one day, you get to have fun and just play with all of your friends. I think that’s a wonderful time.”
Students had a free day Friday when Hawaii Catholic school teachers gathered for the annual Annual Conference for Catholic School Educators (ACCE) convention, which included mass and a series of workshops.
AP US History students will be traveling back in time to old Hawaii during their visit to Iolani Palace, the residence of the last Hawaiian monarchs, King Kalakaua and Queen Liliuokalani.
AP teacher Alex Adkins says the field trip will teach students about imperialism in Hawaii.
“We’ll be exploring the overthrow of the monarchy and how Hawaii developed after its annexation,” said Adkins.
Adkins and counselor Cleo Eubanks will chaperone students.
Eubanks is elated to be visiting the palace.
“I’ve lived in Hawaii all my life and have never been inside Iolani Palace,” she said. “I’m excited to see how well preserved the establishment is!”
The field trip is scheduled for Feb. 11.
Windward Community College (WCC), in partnership with the Pacific Center for Environmental Studies (PaCES) and Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB), is offering a Summer Environmental Science Program, open to high school students in Hawaii.
The 6-week curriculum will give students an education and training about Hawaii’s ecosystem. Participants will study a variety of subjects, including water quality analyses, ocean current mapping, aquatic microbiology, weather and climate, and environmental archaeology, among others.
Participating students will earn four college credits and a $1,000 scholarship.
The PaCES-HIMB program goals include promoting “environmental awareness and understanding, especially about the Kaneohe Bay environment,” showing “how modern science, integrated with traditional knowledge, can provide solutions to environmental problems” and exposing “high school students to academic and career opportunities in environmental science.”
The program puts an emphasis on studying and incorporating traditional Hawaiian practices, such as loi farming and fishponds, into science.
The rigorous process includes an application completed by the student and a parent or guardian, and teacher and community member recommendations.
Applications will be evaluated and potential participants interviewed. The maximum number of students selected will be 24. Deadline is Feb. 29.
Senior Shannon Domingsil represented Sacred Hearts Academy in this year’s Distinguished Young Women (DYW) Scholarship Program, a national program for high school girls that promotes and rewards scholarship, leadership and talent.
A panel of judges evaluated and reviewed participants’ high school transcripts and test scores. Points were awarded based on interview (25 percent of overall score), talent (25 percent), scholastics (20 percent), fitness (15 percent) and self- expression (15 percent).
Named second runner- up, Domingsil won a $2,250 cash scholarship and a $12,500 tuition scholarship to Hawaii Pacific University.
Domingsil said, “I am extremely grateful for this experience because I have learned so much about my potential, and the mock interviews and training we had gave me so many more skills that I will use in the future. I am happy that I met 23 amazing, talented young women from schools across the island.”
Domingsil began preparing for the competition three months in advance. Training for the actual program included rehearsals, mock interviews and fitness training.
“At first I didn’t want to participate in this competition because it took up a lot of time and it was tiring, but as we kept getting closer to the actual day I became very excited. All of the participants began to bond so well and we were all so incredibly supportive of each other and constantly cheered each other on because even though this was a competition, we were all winners and they all deserved to win.”
Iolani senior Amy Uehara was selected the state winner who will compete in the national finals in Mobile, Alabama.
Domingsil said, “There were so many great memories and one of the best ones happened when everyone gathered in the middle where we met for a group hug and we all just started crying tears of joy. It was such an amazing moment because not only were we proud of our winner, we were all so proud of ourselves because after all of our hard work we finally did it. We finally performed and the months of preparations that led up to this moment made it all worth it.”
The event was held at the Salvation Army Kroc Community Center in Kapolei on Jan. 18.
The Hawaii Catholic Schools Office wants students to get excited for the upcoming annual Catholic Schools Week by holding a “Take A Selfie With Your Teacher Contest.”
The office is asking students in Catholic schools to caption a selfie with their favorite teacher for a chance to win two $100 Visa gift cards, one for themselves and the other for their teacher.
Students in kindergarten to grade 12 in a Hawaii Catholic school are eligible to participate. Their favorite teacher must also be teaching at the school where they are currently enrolled. Further terms and conditions of the contest can be found here.
Students entering the contest must submit their entry through the “Selfie Contest” tab on the Hawaii Catholic Schools Facebook page, which can be found here. The contest is ongoing and ends on Feb. 3.
Japanese language classes began the New Year with writing calligraphy, a popular tradition for many students in Japanese elementary schools.
In ancient Japan, Jan. 2 was called “Kotohajime,” which means to begin the New Year activities. On this day the Japanese did “Kakizome,” the first writing or drawing of the year as a wish to greatly improve their writing and drawing. On paper they wrote their New Year resolutions or a word related to the New Year.
Japanese teacher Nami Grafia said, “This tradition spread to ordinary citizens of Japan and became the common practice of doing calligraphy during the New Year season. This tradition is giving a role to Japanese calligraphy in our modern society. Calligraphy practice helps us to deepen the understanding of how Japanese characters are made and how to write the characters properly. It is also great practice for patience and being calm and focused.”
Academy students carefully wrote the “morning of New Year’s Day” in kanji which was then posted in classrooms. Afterwards, students voted for the “most authentic.” The winners were juniors Ellena Igari and Amily Tam and freshman Ferrari Hiraga.
Igari said, “We learned how to write traditional Japanese calligraphy with the proper strokes. I enjoyed doing this activity because it was my first time writing calligraphy and I was really surprised when I placed first for most authentic.”
Photo credit: Nami Grafia
The high school robotics team is ready to vie in the 2016 First Robotics Competition (FRC) challenge, Stronghold.
The game puts high school teams through different defense maneuvers in a land-mined field. At the same time, students must score goals by rolling and throwing “boulders” into their opponent’s tower.
Academy team members attended the kickoff event on Jan. 9 at Mckinley High School where the game premiered live from the East Coast. From that date, teams have six weeks to build, program and wire robots to contend with the Stronghold challenges.
Robotics teacher Peter Park expressed his enthusiasm as the new challenge begins.
“I’m excited to see what the team can conjure up in the building period and how they will be strategizing their moves.”
The Lancer Robotics team 2437 will be traveling to Long Beach, Calif., to compete in the FRC Los Angeles Regional from Mar. 9 to 12. After its return, the team competes in the Hawaii Regionals from Mar. 30 to Apr. 2 at the University of Hawaii.
Six members of the Academy Leo club, with La Pietra Leos, worked at the Sony Open golf tournament as official PGA marshals at the Waialae Country Club on Jan. 16-17.
The Leos were responsible for crowd control to help golfers concentrate on their game as well as keep the crowds away from balls before the players got to them.
Senior Alexandria Montiel said, “It was a unique experience to see the professional golfers. Holding up the signs for crowd control was very tiring because we did that for most of the day.”
Leo club adviser, Whitney Miyahira, said, “The girls were lucky to be able to volunteer for this event. Normally the volunteers should be 18 years or older, but they gave us an exception!
Photo credit: Whitney Miyahira
Why are students wearing a dark, navy blue uniform? Did the school change its uniform? No, these students are not from Sacred Hearts. They’re students from Duk Sung Middle School in Korea.
Duk Sung Middle School has visited the Academy for three years, establishing a sisterhood with Sacred Hearts Academy in 2015. Each January students visit Hawaii, including the Academy.
Members of the Korean Club, or K Club, had the opportunity to have pen pals among the visiting students. They emailed these pen pals before the visit, beginning relationships prior to their arrival.
This year, 15 students and four teachers arrived on Jan. 14 and took a tour of the school led by K Club President Kailanianna Ablog and club officer Tiani Quon.
The pen pals met at snack time when they exchanged gifts. During third period, Duk Sung students had class in robotics adviser Peter Park’s classroom.
Students also saw the Concert Choir and dance classes.
The pen pals gathered in the Clarence T.C. Ching Student Center for lunch where Korean food was served. When lunch came to a close, it was time for goodbyes.
The pen pals will continue their correspondance even after the Duk Sung students return to Korea.
“The Duk Sung visit is the highlight of the club’s year,” said Ablog. “Every member who has participated in it will always look back with a smile.”
World Religions classes had first-hand views through presentations by representatives in the fall semester.
Teacher Lynn Fonseca said, “Although it would have been awesome if we had visited each guest speaker’s place of worship, the guest speakers were gracious to share their faiths with the class. The ultimate purpose of inviting them to speak was to have students see and hear people who worship differently rather than just read a book. ”
Guest speakers included representatives from the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) Hawaii, Tibetan Buddhist Meditation Center, Mililani Hongwanji Buddhist Temple and Izumo Taishakyo Mission of Hawaii.
Senior Kayla Galima said, “It was a special experience to hear background information and stories about the religions practiced by the guests who visited. I loved seeing the excited and proud faces of the guests when they spoke about their beliefs. Our class not only got to learn about other religions from our textbook but also from active practitioners, which made the experience better.”
Students enjoyed the visits and gained insight into the different religions.
Senior Ruoyi Wang said, “This was my first time learning about the Hare Krishnas. I had no idea who they were or what they believed in. It was very interesting to hear stories about their beliefs and how they have a special loving relationship with their Lord Krishna. The speaker also brought musical instruments and taught us how to chant the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra.”
Guest speakers told about the origins of their religion and shared personal stories, including the reason they chose to practice the specific religion.
Fonseca said, “Religion has a commonality in some of their beliefs but also big differences. Sometimes the unknown brings on fear and as one learns about the different religions, a person doesn’t have to believe in that particular religion but it should make for understanding and respect for one another. They don’t expect any converts but just the willingness of listeners to open their minds to all who want to learn.”
Ten Japanese language students, accompanied by teachers Masa Yamaguchi and Nami Shibuya Grafia, welcomed the new year at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii’s New Year’s Ohana Festival.
The fun-filled event featured dozens of food and craft booths available for visitors to browse while children enjoyed rides and games. Visitors were also treated to entertainment and cultural demonstrations at the 23rd annual festival celebrating the new year, an important event in the Japanese calendar.
Grafia said, “Our students handed out information flyers and helped to guide visitors to the right place. They did an excellent job talking to visitors and answering their questions about the Japanese culture, places to visit and fun things to do during the event. The Ohana festival enabled our students to experience some of the authentic Japanese new year traditions, such as mochi pounding and martial arts demonstrations. Even though the volunteer hours were long, the students kept their beautiful smiles to greet the visitors.”
The festival is a way for the community to celebrate Hawaii’s cultural diversity.
Freshman Aiyana Arnobit said, “It was fun to volunteer because there were a lot of people who attended the event and it gave me a chance to use my Japanese skills. They also had a variety of food, such as fresh mochi, and activities and performances that taught people about Japanese culture.”
The Academy recently completed “Change For Chandler,” a fundraiser for sixth grader Chandler Boyd, who has been diagnosed with cancer.
Junior kindergartners through sixth grade and the Junior Class were asked to donate $3 for the fundraiser. For their donations, students were allowed to wear jeans and a school shirt to school on Dec. 3. Juniors also participated in the fundraiser because Chandler’s older sister Makenzie is a junior.
Lower school teachers showed their support by wearing white tee-shirts with ‘Team Chandler’ in red letters.
Malia Urie, the lower school art teacher, designed a Team Chandler button for the lower school to wear all year, suggested by the students and teachers.
Parents contributed for a Christmas gift and high school students could also donate.
The week-long fundraiser collected $3,547.25 for Chandler. The school hopes to present this donation, books and a snack basket to Chandler’s mother, Crista Aguano, and her sister.
On the site YouCaring, a fund for Chandler has been established with a goal of $25,000. As of Dec. 9, $10,293 has been raised.
“I thought it was very supportive and kind of the school to do this for my sister,” said Makenzie. “My family is very grateful.”
The Academy’s two CyberLancers teams recently completed the second round of the CyberPatriot competition in which students demonstrate what they learned about cybersecurity. Two rounds of competition tested students’ knowledge about preventing cyber attacks.
According to adviser Deborah Kula, students were asked to “tighten security and remove malware, viruses and opportunities for hackers on three different computer systems: A Windows Vista workstation, an Ubuntu 14 workstation and a Windows 2008 server” as well as “complete a Cisco networking challenge quiz.” The difficult tasks were expected to be completed in six hours.
The first team of CyberLancers were juniors Christina Chen, Leeona Domingo and Shailyn Wilson, and seniors Chloe Huang and Janelle Inao.
Students on the CyberLancersTWO team were freshmen Aiyana Arnobit and Stella Supall, junior Kaitlyn Pang and senior Asenita Tuiafitu.
Results of the competition will be available no later than Dec. 15.
The outreach team for Academy robotics recently attended a Technet Convention at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.
Juniors Elane Namoca, Ashley Lardizabal, Tiani Quon and Mariko Galton and freshman Jenna Tanna make up the outreach team, advised by Peter Park.
The team presented their Dot, Dash and Vex robots before the Armed Forces. Other schools, including Maryknoll, presented to the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC).
Dash is a small robot that can be programmed to perform certain tasks, such as building paths. They are especially useful for children as young as four years old as the robots are designed for wear and tear.
Dot is the typical head of Dash. It is also used as a control for another Dash robot.
Vex is the robot that was designed by the Academy team to compete in this year’s game.
“The number of companies that support the armed forces in defensive gear was impressive,” said junior Ashley Lardizabal.
The purpose of attending the convention was to raise money to support the robotics team.
The Dying and Rising class of seniors served the community by cleaning the King Street Catholic Cemetery for its fall service project.
Religious fathers, brothers and sisters who died in the islands from 1850-1928 are buried in the cemetery, including Bishop Libert Boeynaems and Mother Judith Brassier who founded the Academy.
“It feels good to give back to the community and honor our founders who have established my education and my faith,” said senior Kahea Ah Sam.
St. Louis JROTC cadets put their leadership skills to the test in the annual JROTC Academic and Leadership Bowls (JLAB).
The competition is sponsored by the College Options Foundation, whose mission is to enrich “the academic development of high school students.”
In teams of four primary and two alternate members, cadets went head-to-head in the competition’s three levels,“The Challenge,” “Zero Hour Threat” and “The Championship.”
On Nov. 13, cadets at St. Louis submitted their results for The Challenge. Cadets were split into two teams to complete the academic and leadership tests.
Supported by other cadets, sophomore Maybelle Lee and junior Kailanianna Ablog tackled the academic test while junior Mariko Galton took the lead in the leadership exam.
St. Louis junior Cadet First Lieutenant Eddie Adachi recalled his experience on the leadership team.
“Although my team could not answer all the questions correctly, we did our best and pulled our knowledge together. Being on the same page and coming to a decision made everyone more confident in each answer,” said Adachi.
The first two levels of JLAB are completed online. Teams with the highest test scores at the end of the second level will fly to Washington, D.C. to compete in the championships.
Adachi recognized the benefits of participating in JLAB.
“I benefitted not only from the questions presented in the test but also from the teamwork experience,” Adachi said. “In order to accomplish any mission, you need to utilize all of your resources. In the case of JLAB, cadets from different Leadership, Education and Training (LET) levels must communicate with each other to solve problems.”
Results from the testing will be received at a later date and determine if the St. Louis teams will continue onto the next level.
Sacred Hearts Academy supported the Friends of Windward Wounded Warrior Foundation, a program of the Honolulu Council of the Navy League through drinks sold by Taste Tea.
The fundraiser on Nov. 19 and 23 featured drinks from Taste Tea after school from 1 to 5 p.m. with 20 percent of sales going to the foundation. The donated funds will be used to benefit service members in Hawaii.
Director of Student Activities Toni Normand said, “We partnered with Taste Tea because we noticed students frequently coming to school with Taste Tea beverages. We hope that this fundraiser will be popular and students will be encouraged to buy.”
Friends of Windward Wounded Warrior Foundation aims to improve the lives of recovering service members and their families by supporting military families through physical, mental and spiritual transitions.
The money will benefit the foundation through sales to the Academy community. The high school raised $1,127 dollars from Taste Tea sales and donations.
The lower school raised $1,198 from Dress Down Day and Coins for a Cause.
With the arrival of the winter season, the Academy Performing Arts Department is putting on its annual holiday performances.
The Academy choirs begin the season with their fall concert on Nov. 24 with performances by the beginning, intermediate, concert and select choirs. The program begins at 6 p.m. in the Academy Chapel. Admission to the event is free.
The Dance Department performs “The Nutcracker” on Dec. 4 and Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. at St. Louis School’s Mamiya Theatre. Tickets can be purchased online for $10.
The Academy bands hold their winter concert on Dec. 7 with the beginning, intermediate and concert bands and the Wind Ensemble. The program begins at 6 p.m. at Mamiya Theatre. Admission to the event is free.
The Academy hula is having their performance on Dec. 12. Admission to the event is free. The program begins at 3 p.m. and ends at 4:30 p.m.