Pōmaika‘i Elementary Perform Kaho’olawe Hula Drama, Tonight

May 22, 2019, 8:47 AM HST · Updated May 22, 8:47 AM
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Many will never travel to Kaho’olawe, but through a special partnership with Pōmaikaʻi Elementary School 4th grade teachers, the Kahoʻolawe Island Reserve Commission in the near future will “virtually” take students on a journey there. The unique hula drama features original music composed by students and culminates a year of learning.

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    Written and produced by the 4th grade students of Pōmaikaʻi Elementary, “The Life of An Island” includes: Hawaiian studies, hula, music, drama, dance, writing, science and visual arts. Showing this Wednesday, May 22, 2019 at the King Kekaulike High School Performing Arts Center. Doors open at 6:15 p.m. and the show starts at 6:30 p.m.

    Tickets may be purchased online at eventbrite.com at Pomaikai4thgradeshow.eventbrite.com or search for Pōmaikaʻi, Maui.

    “I think its more valuable than reading out of a book because it teaching you to be more brave, to be on stage and you’re still learning everything we learned out of a book, because you’d have to measure out how big the stage will be, and read lines, and practice and all that,” said fourth grader Natasha Esclito.

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    “This year is the hardest because we’re literally giving the students a voice, they wrote their own songs, the script and to visually show it on stage is the most difficult learning a teacher can provide,” said teacher Jaydon Isobe. “The costumes, the choreography, this is art integration, you don’t tell them what to do, we have them construct their own understanding through the arts. We want them to embody the learning, not just recite it,” said Isobe.

    The show takes the audience on a journey of the history of Kaho’olawe. It features original songs that the students wrote and recorded through a residency funded through Friends of Pōmaikaʻi.  Teaching artist Melinda Caroll, Paul Wood and Maggie Costigan watched choreography, listened to student monologues and watched choreography created in dance residencies funded by PTSA.  Drama work was led by all Pōmaikaʻi teaching staff.

    This year 4th grade students worked with teaching artist Shelley Toon Lindberg to create an iStopMotion recap on the History of Kahoʻolawe. This project was funded by Friends of Pōmaikaʻi, a non-profit to support arts integration.

    The cast in order of appearance include:

    • Narrator – Emily Minnihan
    • Wiliwili – Isabel Best
    • Moʻo – Cruz Allosada
    • Aʻaliʻi – Crystal Jade Paʻa
    • Meli – Margarita Bayron
    • Pili Grass – Alexa Tresidder
    • Pueo – Vybez Alconcel
    • Navigators – David Pinheiro & Damien Whitcher
    • Kahekili – Dylan Cambra
    • Goat – Kolten Yunson
    • Navy Captain – Kaleo Hunt
    • George Helm – Koltyn Sergent
    • Akiaki – Jaynie Robello

    This year marks the 25 year of the island of Kaho’olawe transferred from US military ownership to a State of Hawaiʻi trust. Just over seven miles off the coast of South Maui, to many, the island may go unnoticed since it is inaccessible to the general public due to unsafe conditions.

    “We can’t take our students to Kahoʻolawe,” said teacher Joann Shishido, “but, we have to. The opportunities to learn about watersheds is essential for the next generation who will be responsible to continue recharging our water sources, we live on an island and this partnership is creating the tools for that education.”

    Through a special NOAA grant, the Kahoʻolawe Island Reserve Commission partnered with the fourth grade team at Pōmaikaʻi Elementary School to share the island’s history and cultural significance with Maui and the rest of the world through the writing and implementation of a rigorous and relevant standards-based curriculum.  This coursework compared and contrasted the watersheds, ecosystems, resources, history, and future of Maui and Kahoʻolawe. The Hawaiʻi Department of Education mandates the integration of Hawaiian Culture through Social Studies standards for fourth graders.

    “It’s a microcosm for what’s happening with land around the world,” said teaching artist Melinda Carol, “if you understand what has been done, we won’t revisit those actions in the future.”

    Timeline: (from the Kahoʻolawe Island Reserve Commission)

    • 400—1750 – Native Hawaiians settle and continue to migrate from the South Pacific to Hawai‘i. Kaho‘olawe is dedicated to Kanaloa, Hawaiian deity of the ocean.
    • 1793 – Goats are introduced to Kaho‘olawe, a gift from Captain Vancouver to Chief Kahekili of Maui.
    • 1832—1852 – As early as 1832, adult men are sent to a penal colony on Kaho‘olawe for various offenses.
    • 1858—1941 – In 1858, the Hawaiian government issues the first of many ranch leases for the island. Throughout the ranching period, the uncontrolled grazing of cattle, sheep, and goats has a serious impact on the environment of the island resulting in substantial loss of soil through accelerated erosion. By the late 1890s, there are 900 cattle and 15,000 sheep on the island.
    • 1941 – After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. declares martial law, which leads to the use of Kaho‘olawe as a bombing range.
    • 1953 – President Dwight D. Eisenhower transfers title of Kaho‘olawe to the U.S. Navy with the provision that it be returned in a condition for “suitable habitation” when no longer needed by the military.
    • 1976 – Members of Protect Kaho‘olawe ‘Ohana (PKO) begin a series of occupations of the island in an effort to halt bombing. The PKO also files suit in Federal District Court to enjoin the Navy’s bombing activities.
    • 1980 – A consent decree is signed between the U.S. Navy and the PKO, which results in a Memorandum of Understanding requiring the Navy to begin soil conservation, revegetation, and goat eradication programs.
    • 1990 – As a result of PKO actions and litigation, President George Bush Sr. orders a stop to the bombing of Kaho‘olawe.
    • 1994 – U.S. Navy conveys deed of ownership of Kaho‘olawe to the State of Hawai‘i. The Kaho‘olawe Island Reserve Commission is established to manage activities on the island.
    • 1997—1998 – U.S. Navy awards contracts for the removal of unexploded ordnance on Kaho‘olawe.
    • 2004 – US Navy ends the Kahoʻolawe UXO Clearance Project. At its completion approximately 75% of the island was surfaced cleared of unexploded ordnance. Of this area, 10% of the island or 2,647 acres were additionally cleared to the depth of four-feet. 25% or 6,692 acres were not cleared and unescorted access to these areas remains unsafe.
    • 2004-2016 – The Hawaiʻi Department of Health’s Polluted Runoff Control Program provides nearly $1.9 million in CWA section 319 funding to the KIRC, supplemented by nearly $1.9 million in matching funds from volunteer restoration activities. Collectively, these funds allowed KIRC to make considerable progress in its effort to begin restoring two targeted watersheds by implementing innovative methods to minimize erosion and reduce sediment loads moving from the land into the waters on and around the island.
    • 2013-Present – Aloha Kahoʻolawe program is designed to create a sustainable funding plan through the State of Hawaiʻi as the federal Trust Fund recedes. Initial outcomes include a membership program, community building events at the KIRC’s Kīhei site and Kahoʻolawe’s first appropriation of General Funds.

      Pōmaikaʻi 4th graders perform an original hula drama for Kahoʻolawe. PC: Daryl Fujiwara

      Pōmaikaʻi 4th graders perform an original hula drama for Kahoʻolawe. PC: Daryl Fujiwara

      Pōmaikaʻi 4th graders perform an original hula drama for Kahoʻolawe. PC: Daryl Fujiwara

      Pōmaikaʻi 4th graders perform an original hula drama for Kahoʻolawe. PC: Daryl Fujiwara

      Pōmaikaʻi 4th graders perform an original hula drama for Kahoʻolawe. PC: Daryl Fujiwara

      Pōmaikaʻi 4th graders perform an original hula drama for Kahoʻolawe. PC: Daryl Fujiwara

      Pōmaikaʻi 4th graders perform an original hula drama for Kahoʻolawe. PC: Daryl Fujiwara

      Pōmaikaʻi 4th graders perform an original hula drama for Kahoʻolawe. PC: Daryl Fujiwara

      Pōmaikaʻi 4th graders perform an original hula drama for Kahoʻolawe. PC: Daryl Fujiwara

      Pōmaikaʻi 4th graders perform an original hula drama for Kahoʻolawe. PC: Daryl Fujiwara

      Pōmaikaʻi 4th graders perform an original hula drama for Kahoʻolawe. PC: Daryl Fujiwara

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