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Maui’s Pōmaika‘i Elementary Celebrates Earth Day with Music Video

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To uplift the community, teachers and staff of Pōmaika‘i Elementary School created a music video after receiving news from the Hawaiʻi Department of Education who gave notice last week Friday that school buildings will be closed for the rest of the year.

“Even though school is physically closed for the year, we wanted to give hope, joy, and unity to our community that we’re here for them,” said Kate Welch Arts Integration Coordinator.

The video features an original composition that compares students to a plant in a garden.  It was composed two years ago as part of the school’s 10 year celebration of being an arts integrated school. Pōmaika‘i Elementary is the first “arts integrated” school in Hawaiʻi that uses a unique approach that teaches reading and math through the arts.

Some of the music video was produced at an earlier date, with new portions featuring staff lip syncing, dancing, and acting to the lyrics and music.  The release coincides with Earth Day.

E Kuʻu Māla ʻAi was written by the staff and guided by teaching artist Melinda Carroll with the hopes and dreams for their students. The metaphor that the staff are the gardeners and the children are the plants was the premise of this song writing project with the nonprofit Friends of Pōmaikaʻi.

“As a society, together we are going through a huge change in our daily lives,” said student services coordinator Leni Tanaka. “As Pōmaikaʻi staff we needed to think of creative ways to continue to reach out to our families. Although this is a ‘new norm’ for all of us, we are all in this together. We will continue to work as a staff, to keep our students and families at the forefront.”

Teachers and staff participating in the project (in order of appearance) include:

Courtney Flower, Melekai Jenson, Kim Otani, Kelly Burgette, Kimberly Naylor, Lisa Silva, Deme Weishaar, Eric Madric, Michelle Golis, Maggie Sutrov, Kate Welch, Zhorein Galincinao, Krys Higa, Ahlayn Labuanan, Krista Nelson, Melanie Nakashima, Wileen Ortega, Alisa Hamasaki, Dayle Hanta, Brynne Clark, Jo Anne Louis, Shyela Stephens, Jessica Ford, Merrill Ranken, Donnelle Sakuma, Jaydon Isobe, Janice, Acopan, Joann Shishido, Jennifer Salvas, Shannon Tefft, Amanda Thomson, Leni Tanaka, Theresa Neeck, Aiza Ordonez, Hazel Rico.

The public is invited to sing along to share the hopes and dreams of all keiki.

Your beautiful wildness feeds my naʻau,
Your heart and spirit makes me breathe,
I whisper softly to the seeds in my hand,
As I lay them gently to the ground.

Grow, stay rooted
As you reach with humble strength
Find those places deep inside
E Kuʻu Māla ʻAi


Build your foundation nurture your dreams,
Take what you need until you bloom,
The journey may not go as you planned,
Onipa’a, see it through.

Hō mai ka ʻike ʻike papalua e
Ho mai ka iʻini iʻini papalua e
Ho mai ka mana mana papalua e
Ho mai, Ho mai, Ho mai ka papalua e

E Kuʻu Māla ʻAi
E Kuʻu Māla ʻAi
E ʻOla

PC: courtesy Pōmaikaʻi



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