ALEIA MONDEN / ST. ANDREW'S PRIORY
The combined efforts of Hui Hao'oli dancers Aleia Monden, left, Julie Matsunaga, Katheryne Guillermo, Sherlie Okimoto, Erica Okimura, Stephanie Lau-Castro, Olivia Astrero, and Miho Tamaki resulted in a beautiful hula in memory of Queen Emma. The annual Mauna 'Ala chapel ceremony is just one of the unique examples of Priory's Hawaiian heritage.
Day for a Queen
Students honor their benefactor at a schoolwide visit to Mauna ’Ala
This year's Mauna 'Ala Chapel was one of the rainiest we've seen. But whether in rain or shine, the ceremony had to go on.
Every year we have the privilege of visiting Mauna 'Ala, the final resting place for several members of the Hawaiian monarchy, to celebrate Queen Emma's birthday -- an experience that not many others get to have.
St. Andrew's Priory
224 Queen Emma Square, Honolulu 96813
Head of School
Red and white
Many teachers, administrators and students worked hard for months in preparation for the annual celebration. Several changes were made to the ceremony, which includes the entire school and many honored guests, so it would flow easily. The procession of the Royal Order, trustees, Kamehameha Schools representatives and other important guests was led by the Priory's Kumu Snowbird, who chanted a beautiful 'oli to escort them in. While they processed, senior class ushers guided students from kindergarten through the 11th grade to their seats.
The rain poured sporadically, but luckily everyone was protected with big, colorful umbrellas provided by the school. Squeals from the elementary students because of the rain interrupted the service at times, but they stuck it out and cooperated nicely.
The ceremony started with an uplifting welcome from the school headmistress, Marilyn Matsunaga. Her message to us was that the best way to honor our founder, Queen Emma, was to "kulia i ka nu'u," or "strive for the highest," by showing our faith through our works.
Matsunaga's message was followed by Bible readings from Hawaiian language students and the singing of Queen Emma's campaign song, "Kaleleonalani," by the entire school.
ALYSSA YIM / ST. ANDREW'S PRIORY
Despite the rain, Priory students felt the warmth of aloha spirit during the Mauna 'Ala chapel ceremony. Fourth-graders Natalia Da Silva, left, Tiana Koch, Jocelyn Yee and Dani Talaroc stayed dry under a multitude of rainbow umbrellas at the Jan. 24 event.
Paulette Moore of St. Andrew's Cathedral then gave a moving sermon in which she talked about how her Tutu, who loved Queen Emma dearly, told stories about how much Queen Emma influenced her and the people of the Hawaiian islands.
The service also included many gifts of music from the Hawaiian club, Hui Hau'oli, choir and Select Wind Ensemble. Hui Hau'oli chanted "Eo Ke Kuini" in addition to a harmonious chant, "Auhea Wale 'Oe Hawai'i," that Kumu Snowbird wrote as a gift to the school. They also offered two dances, a kahiko number called "Aia Ka Nani I Nu'uanu" and "Ua Mau," which was accompanied by the choir. The Select Wind Ensemble offered a music piece, "Prelude and Fugue in B Flat."
All gifts of music were beautiful and greatly appreciated by the guests, students, and teachers.
After the service was over, students and teachers piled onto the buses while the seniors, maintenance crew and band members helped to clean up the Royal Mausoleum. The seniors also had the privilege of going down into the Kalakaua crypt, where they were able to see the final resting place for kings, queens, and princes. There, they offered a beautiful prayer in song.
The senior class was also fortunate to visit with Uncle Bill Kaihe'ekai Mai'oho, the caretaker of Mauna 'Ala, who was happy to share the history of Mauna 'Ala and answer any questions they had. He also had many stories and interesting historical facts to share with the seniors.
This year's Mauna 'Ala was one that everyone will remember -- especially the seniors who will have visited Mauna 'Ala for the last time. This celebration is just one of many times in the year that we celebrate the achievements of our founder, Queen Emma Kaleleonalani, and give thanks for the many opportunities she has given to us.
The hard work, blessings of heavenly showers, and gifts of song and dance made this year's Mauna 'Ala Celebration a memorable day of praise for our founder.
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Middle school broadens education
Parents want their children to go to the finest elementary school possible to get the best start in a process of structured learning that will last for at least 13 years. The choice of a high school is also important, since the final years of a student's general education influence the rest of their life.
Students that attend good schools where they are challenged to apply themselves are better prepared to attend a good college and excel in their career.
But what about those middle school years?
Despite what some may think, the years students spend in middle school are some of the most important. St. Andrew's Priory has long educated young women in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades. They were considered part of the "upper school" with the ninth- through 12th-grade students until 1988, when the Priory split off the lower three grades and established the first separate middle school within Hawaii's independent schools.
After doing research and sending teachers to attend conferences and observe other middle school classrooms on the mainland, the Priory established its middle school with a unique environment. With a curriculum that focuses on the academic, emotional and social aspects of the learning process, the Priory middle school provides its students with the character, skills and knowledge needed for high school and the rest of their lives.
The Priory's middle school curriculum is also specialized for each class and its students. If students are struggling with math, those concepts are reinforced in math and other classes. The small class sizes, averaging between 12 and 15 students, allow teachers to have a better understanding of each student's learning abilities.
In another first, the Priory Middle School incorporated technology into its curriculum six years ago with Apple's "Laptops for Learning" program. Middle school students are required to either buy or lease their own laptops. The computers enhance students' education by broadening the resources they can explore and learn. The laptop program also teaches students how to use technology, preparing them for life in an increasingly technology-dependent world.
Fifth-grade students were recently added to the Priory middle school, allowing the middle school curriculum to occupy a more substantial part of students' school lives.
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Priory seniors were asked to talk about their participation in the annual birthday celebration for Queen Emma.
"I enjoyed the ceremony more this year than the last. It was well organized and everyone was very involved in the event. I hope next year is as festive for Queen Emma's Birthday."
"I liked that I was very involved in all aspects of Mauna Ala. I was able to play in band, perform and chant in Hui, and visit the crypt and chapel."
"I was really happy to participate in Priory's tradition as a member of Hui Hauoli."
"It's cool that people are watching and keeping this tradition alive."
"I enjoyed sharing the hard work we put into preparing for Mauna Ala with the school."
"I enjoyed dancing for my school."