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Lindsey Chun-Hori

Thursday, October 30, 2003


Hawaiian culture will die
if schools’ policy is changed


On Sunday, Sept. 3, thousands of people gathered for Ku I Ka Pono, a march for Hawaiian rights. A sea of red streamed down Kalakaua Avenue with people of all ages and races chanting, singing and honoring the alii of Hawaii. I marched with pride next to fellow students, alumni, families, faculty and trustees of Kamehameha Schools. At the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, we all stopped to honor the woman who created the link that will bond us forever, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop. As I sang "He Inoa No Pauahi" before Pauahi's portrait, tears streamed from my eyes -- tears of anger, frustration and confusion.

I am angry because Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop's last will and testament is being challenged. She realized that only through education could her people thrive in the changing times that lay ahead. To ensure that the children of Hawaiian ancestry would receive not only an excellent education but also a chance to preserve their culture, she founded the Kamehameha Schools. Having no children, she took the keiki of Hawaii under her wing to provide them with opportunities that otherwise would not exist.

I am frustrated by the controversy about the Kamehameha Schools admissions policy. Some people claim that we are discriminating based on race. I challenge those who think our admissions policy is discriminating to come up to our campus and take a look around. You will find every color of the rainbow on the Kapalama campus. People from numerous backgrounds and cultures are found in every classroom and hallway. My own ancestry consists of Japanese, Filipino, Chinese, Spanish and Hawaiian. While the admissions policy gives preference to children of Hawaiian ancestry, it is just one of the schools' many requirements.

This does not mean that applicants without Hawaiian ancestry cannot get into the Kamehameha Schools. This standard is the same as other private schools' standards of high scores on entrance exams. I could understand if the Kamehameha Schools were a public institution, but it is not. Therefore, it conducts entrance exams and interviews just like any other private school.

I am confused because the people who are making claims against the estate have neither a vested interest in this matter nor do they know anything about the history of the will. Perhaps if they took the time to visit the Heritage Center on Kapalama campus and educate themselves on its history, they would have a better understanding.

It saddens me because we, as Hawaiians, deserve to have the will honored. I cannot understand how someone's legal will can be changed. How can you try to take away someone's last wishes? It is unfair not only to the beneficiaries of the will, but also to the benefactor.

The recent months have been trying for the students of Kamehameha. It vexes students to think that the admissions policy could be changed. Within the diverse make-up of our school the common bond that we all share is our heritage. This bond keeps us striving for excellence and makes us proud. Now it is being taken from us. I look at the kindergartners and imagine how this could affect their lives. What will happen to the Hawaiian culture and history courses at Kamehameha Schools? What will happen to our heritage?

The song "He Inoa No Pauahi" is about Princess Pauahi and her travels around the world, but though she was far away her thoughts were of home. This song expresses her love for Hawaii and the people of Hawaii. The Kamehameha Schools is her expression of love for Hawaii and the keiki o ka aina.


Lindsey Chun-Hori is a senior at the Kamehameha Schools. She is the daughter of Joel Hori and Janice Chun-Hori. Student Union is part of the Star-Bulletin's Newspapers in Education program. See the information box below for details.


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Student Union is a forum for Hawaii's teenagers to tell the community what's on their minds and in their hearts. It appears every Thursday, starting today. We welcome opinions of no more than 700 words on any topic. Please include your name, address and phone number. E-mail to letters@starbulletin.com, fax to 529-4750 or mail to Student Union, Editorial Page, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, Honolulu, HI 96813. For more information, contact Jeff Finney at 529-4735 or jfinney@starbulletin.com.

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