SAMUEL DAVIS / SACRED HEARTS ACADEMY
Crystale Cayaban's Hawaiian language class cleaned and repaired a resident's house in Kalaupapa with National Park Service ranger Kaulana Mawae, in back, and Cayaban's grandmother Martha Zacho. The class also helped categorize artifacts for the museum.
Twelve students spend their spring break serving the residents of the Molokai community
No classes! No getting up early! Tons of fun! This is what typical teens think about spring break. For 12 students from the Academy's Hawaiian language class, however, a trip to Kalaupapa gives a whole new meaning to the term "spring break."
Sacred Hearts Academy
Cydrienne Llamas, Rachel Magaoay and Malori Mindo
3253 Waialae Ave.,
Head of school
Gold and white
Kalaupapa, the site of Father Damien's mission and ministry to the victims of leprosy, was more than just a place to die. Damien built homes and churches, arranged for medical services and funding from Honolulu, and became a savior to the people of Kalaupapa, castoffs from the rest of Hawaii.
Following the example of Father Damien and hoping to learn more about their Hawaiian heritage, the enthusiastic students and their teacher, Crystale Cayaban, volunteered for the extraordinary experience of serving the residents of Kalaupapa for four days.
"I had other options to complete my service learning requirement, which Hawaiian language requires, but I chose Kalaupapa because it's a place that I cannot visit at will," said senior Lei-Ana Mau.
From the beginning, the adventure to Kalaupapa proved to be a test of heart and mind.
"None of us had ever been to Kalaupapa, and we really did not enjoy traveling in such a small plane. We could feel the plane shaking like we were about to go down," said junior Jessie Aiwohi. "Just getting to Kalaupapa involved several nerve-wracking moments."
The flight was not the only unique part of the trip.
"Upon arriving, we noticed how secluded the small triangular peninsula was from the rest of Molokai. There were no freeway bridges, no high-rises, no modern buildings," Mau said. "There was no cell phone reception, no huge stores or the usual Jamba Juice and McDonald's scene. Being at Kalaupapa seemed like traveling back into time when things were much simpler and little technology existed."
In Kalaupapa, students worked with National Park Service rangers and residents to clean the churches and houses.
"We worked hard cleaning St. Philomena Church, also known as Father Damien's church," Aiwohi said. "We organized artifacts and did simple repairs on an old house. We learned that once a patient of Kalaupapa dies, the house becomes a landmark, with even their clothing and possessions becoming artifacts."
One highlight of their trip was spending time with the residents.
"At first, I was uncomfortable to meet residents, such as Uncle Norbert, because I thought Hansen's disease was contagious," Mau said. "He turned out to be very lighthearted and an extremely good baker. He made us desserts, and he told us stories about life on Kalaupapa."
Although the students' main focus at the beginning of the trip was to complete their service hours for the language class, they left Kalaupapa with a newfound sense of personal pride, appreciation and memories of Kalaupapa that will not be soon forgotten.
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Braving elements, videography team shoots a winner
Sacred Hearts Academy videography students recently shot their first televised project for Hawaiian Airlines.
"As one of only eight schools chosen by Starr Seigle Advertising and Hawaiian Airlines, we felt like professionals, ready to prove that we could create a legitimate film for the advertising industry," sophomore Sherisse Wong said.
For their debut film, students chose the topic of stewardship of the land, an idea central to Hawaiian culture.
"While we were brainstorming an idea for the theme, 'Our Hawaii Is ... ,' we heard about the Academy's Hawaiian language class cleaning the Waikalua Loko fish pond in Kaneohe Bay for their service learning project," said senior Shaina Solomon.
Students eagerly packed a new high-definition camera and tripod, donated by Starr Seigle, and traveled on a cloudy March morning to the pond.
"When we planned our storyboard, we envisioned clean scenery, beautiful backdrops and fishing activities," sophomore Sherisse Wong said, "but upon arrival, the pond that looked like a marsh pit was too polluted to shoot any fishing shots. Our storyboard had to be changed immediately. And despite flash flood warnings, we decided to just wing it."
Solomon said: "We were in Kaneohe from 7:30 a.m. till 1 in the afternoon, spending most of the day filming the main storyline and cover shots. We had to be aware of the sun's movement for the lighting, and roaring winds also caused problems for our audio, forcing us to reshoot several scenes. By the end of the day, we had completed only about 45 minutes of raw footage."
"We were anxious and nervous because we didn't know whether Starr Seigle Advertising would accept our work," Wong said. "We leapt for joy once it was accepted, and we realized the quality of at least part of our work was good enough for a real commercial."
A few weeks later, Solomon and Casson worked with Starr Seigle graphic designers and creative directors, viewing raw footage and clarifying the commercial's story.
Casson and Solomon were asked to do a voice-over in the form of a Hawaiian chant.
"Shaina and I did the 'Mahalo Chant' to thank our kupuna and the gods for allowing us to learn about the Hawaiian culture and to be on the land and for teaching us their way of life,'" Casson said.
Once the commercial was finished, the final product was sent to Starr Seigle Advertising. Students eagerly anticipated its premiere on television, which will be played through July.
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What can teenagers do to get involved in their community?
"Coach younger kids. When I was in the sixth grade, Kalaheo High School students coached us in basketball and volleyball."
"Pick up trash on the beaches so that we can all enjoy them."
"Help tutor kids whose parents can't afford after-school care."
"Recycle paper, cans and bottles and give the money to the Hawaii Foodbank."
"Be open to opportunities to help whenever necessary, especially with the elderly."
"Volunteer to play with and supervise kids in after-school district park programs."
Wednesday, May 3, 2006
» Sacred Hearts Academy has an enrollment of 1,100. A graphic on Page D5 Monday said incorrectly that it was 100.