Maui school plans
Malo Day reunion
Lahainaluna High's David Malo
Day event enters its 35th year
LAHAINA, Maui >> Television script coordinator Kauila Barber said helping to organize the annual David Malo Day celebration at Lahainaluna High School gave him the opportunity to learn stage direction and work with dancers when he was just a teenager.
"Being involved in David Malo Day was awesome for me. I learned a lot about working with people and working with dancers," said Barber, a former Waianae resident who was on Oahu recently working on the NBC Studios television pilot "Hawaii."
As David Malo Day enters its 35th year on Saturday, Lahainaluna is planning a reunion for former teachers and members of its Boarders' Chorus and Hawaiiana Club.
The reunion day celebration is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Friday at the Lahaina Civic Center.
The entertainment during David Malo Day, starting at 6 p.m., is free. An optional poi supper at $10 a plate starts at 5 p.m.
Lahainaluna Hawaiiana Club adviser Lori Gomez said the purpose of David Malo Day is to teach students the Hawaiian value of giving back to the community.
On a hill overlooking Lahaina, then the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom, Lahainaluna was the first American school west of the Rockies.
Among the first group who entered the school in 1831 was David Malo, who was brought up in the household of high chief Kuakini, brother of Kaahumanu, who was one of King Kamehameha I's wives.
Malo, who later became a Congregational minister, was known as the author of "Hawaiian Antiquities," a book that many historians use as a reference for understanding native culture.
Like many Lahainaluna students, the Big Island-born Malo had to relocate to Lahaina to attend the school.
Lahainaluna eventually established a boarding program that continues today. More than 90 students live in dormitories on campus. They defray the cost of room and board by doing daily chores such as cafeteria work, planting and harvesting crops, raising pigs and the maintenance of school grounds.
The boarders, many of them native Hawaiians, sing in a chorus during the entertainment portion of the David Malo Day program.
"It just thrills us," said Gomez, who has served as club and boarders' chorus adviser for 35 years.
Gomez said the event was the brainchild of late Maui community leader Jimmy Greig, who wanted to foster Hawaii cultural values and community spirit.
Besides Barber, former participants in David Malo Day include Hawaiian kumu hula Peter Day, singer-composer-kumu hula Keali'i Reichel and Oahu-based radio announcer Michael Tabura, whose stage name is Makani Tabura.
Tabura, 32, said that while he drifted away from his Hawaiian culture during his college years, he always felt he had a cultural well to draw upon from his David Malo Days.
He now serves as a volunteer youth mentor for the Kamalama Project, under the Pacific American Foundation. Tabura said being a boarder and a part of David Malo Day made him appreciate living in Hawaii and his identity as a native Hawaiian.
Tickets for the reunion night, including a $10 dinner, may be purchased through Noe Nakaneluna Akima, 270-8214, or Ivy Shimomura, 385-0709.