Thursday, November 28, 2002

Le Jardin student Megan Larratt, 5, chowed down on some pumpkin pie yesterday at a Thanksgiving lunch at the Kailua school.

School extends
holiday’s meaning

Le Jardin students honor
ancestors and island culture
for Thanksgiving

By Leila Fujimori

First-grader Jared told his class his relatives arrived in Hawaii on a "slow boat from Japan."

Kindergarten aide and Pilgrim Gretchen Nilsen held hands with Krystin Wong yesterday as the students walked back to their classroom after a Thanksgiving program at Le Jardin in Kailua.

Classmate Griffin, a native Hawaiian student, noting his ancestors arrived in Hawaii by canoe, wrote, "Our relatives always lived here."

Because the ancestors of many of teacher Kaori Brown's first-graders did not land at Plymouth Rock by way of the Mayflower, she asked her students who in their family first arrived in Hawaii, when and how.

Brown and other teachers at Le Jardin Windward Oahu Academy Lower School in Kailua found ways to use the Thanksgiving holiday to teach a variety of lessons.

Brown's class celebrated Thanksgiving with a nontraditional meal, with each student bringing a dish their ancestors would have eaten.

"We had a great big feast," Brown said.

The students brought in kalua pig, schnitzel, Hershey's chocolate, baklava, teriyaki, musubis, bagels and cream cheese.

Brown also came up with the "talking turkey" assignment: The first-graders wrote from the turkey's perspective on why it should not be eaten.

While most used the "I am poisonous" or "I am raw" arguments, Danielle Blacker wrote: "I will taste gross. I might be fatter next year. I think I will taste better."

Le Jardin's Thanksgiving musical program started with the school's fourth-grade class performing a Hawaiian chant of thanksgiving.

Second-grade boys performed yesterday at a Thanksgiving program at Le Jardin Windward Oahu Academy in Kailua.

The girls chanted while the boys, one by one, laid hookupu (offerings) of coconut, sugar cane, taro, breadfruit, kukui nuts, awa and bamboo.

Kupuna Bill Lau, who taught the fourth-graders the chant "Eiamakou," said Hawaiians celebrate the Makahiki, a season of thanksgiving, which follows the harvest season and runs during this period.

Even the youngest among the students learned the most important lesson of the Thanksgiving celebration.

All the 5-year-old kindergartners in Cathy Sussman's class, who were dressed as American Indians in fringed orange T-shirts, beads and construction-paper headbands with feathers, eagerly shared the things for which they were thankful.

"Flowers," said Malia Belnap. "I like smelling them."

"I'm thankful for food," said Brandon Ho.

"Life," Tyler Lunow-Luke said.

"My mom and dad," Brian Yap said.

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