BRETT FISCHER AND ASA YAMASHITA / THE CONTENDER
With the completion of the new building pictured here, Le Jardin students Jonathan Kam, left, Thomas Wilson, Alyssa Rovner, Kailey Pascoe and Tony Berkhoudt will have higher-quality academics, extracurricular activities and athletics.
LJA bigger, better with new buildings
Le Jardin Academy students have moved into new buildings this past month. These two additions to the campus have added much needed space and include five classrooms, a library and a chorus room. The new classrooms now permanently house several high school teachers, such as Fred Wiesberger, who had previously floated among several different classrooms, and Yoshiko Sensei, who had been teaching in a cramped conference room in the administration building.
Le Jardin Academy
Susan St. John
Will Pelleteri and Kierstan Sussman
917 Kalanianaole Highway
Kailua, HI 96734
261-0707, ext. 286
Headmaster Adrian Allan in particular is excited about the new rooms. He explained that these two new buildings provide an increase in quality in the academic experience of Le Jardin students. Classrooms were designed to have more space, and each room comes with a Smart Board and air conditioning. The design takes into consideration the specific needs of LJA students. For example, designers increased the number of electrical outlets to accommodate student laptop computers. The library is a large improvement. It will be outfitted with cubicles, each equipped with a lamp and outlet, and will be kept open later for students to study in after school.
The buildings did come with a fairly large price tag, however. The total cost of the new buildings amounted to $23 million. Allan, however, feels this cost is justified in the fact that the buildings are substantially better built than other buildings on campus. The new structures are made of stone, instead of the hardy board that is used in the other buildings. The new buildings will last longer because of this design upgrade.
The buildings did have a few setbacks, though. According to J.D. Adams, head of maintenance at LJA, the two biggest delays came from the eight to 12 rain days used by the construction crew, as well as the slow shipping that has left the school without much of the furniture it ordered. Concrete that was initially applied poorly will be torn out of two doorways and replaced. Much of the reason the construction has slowed, though, comes from school hours. Construction crews can work less than two hours after school and must do much of the remaining work on the weekend. In spite of these holdups the buildings are projected to be finished in two weeks.
The completion of these buildings marks the completion of Phase IIA(1) of construction and starts Phase IIA(2), which consists of the construction of the new gym and 12 high school classrooms. The gym, scheduled to be finished sometime next year, will be a large addition to the school's athletic facilities. It will provide two basketball courts, separable by curtain; a weight room; locker and shower rooms; offices for PE teachers and the athletic director; and seating for 300 to 400 people.
The construction is part of an overall three-step plan, which was started six years ago, to increase the size of the school. After final construction is complete, the high and middle school will double in size, and the pre-K and junior-K programs will be moved onto campus from their current Kailua location at St. John Lutheran Church. High School Principal Vicki McNeill says the increase in student size will create a better social and academic environment, and it will better the quality of extracurricular activities and athletics.
Jilan Khazaal, right, is enjoying her year as an American teen with her host sister, Brita Hofwolt.
All in our family
Experiencing a new climate, new customs and new people, Jilan Khazaal from Lebanon and Olga Kopeleva from Germany have arrived here in Hawaii ready for anything. Continuing with the tradition of hosting students from foreign countries, Le Jardin High School welcomes these two juniors to the campus. Ever since LJA opened its doors to its first high school exchange student three years ago, at least one foreign exchange student has been a part of the student body each year.
Fred Weisberger, comparative government and AP psychology, hosted a student for half of last year. "When you host an exchange person," he says, "it is like taking a trip to a foreign country without leaving the comforts of home."
Jilan Khazaal, or Jill, is staying with senior Brita Hofwolt and her family this year. Being a member of the International Club last year made Brita interested in hosting an exchange student. Brita thought her parents would nix the idea, but instead they were excited to have Jill stay with them. Both Jill and Brita agree that they are becoming as close as sisters. Jill misses her own two younger sisters and parents in Lebanon, but she loves the friends that she has made here in Hawaii and appreciates her teachers for making her feel so welcome. Jill is excited to "live this year as an American teen" and has already adapted to the American school system. In Lebanon, Jill says, the teachers move from class to class instead of the students. Also, the students do not have lockers, and the lunch period is only 20 minutes long instead of our 45. Families are always visiting each other in Lebanon; the doorbell rings every two hours at her house, Jill says, because everyone loves her family and wants to visit.
Olga Kopeleva was born in Russia but moved to Germany. Olga is not a part of a specific exchange program. She is staying in Kailua with her uncle. The people here in Hawaii are much friendlier than the people in Germany, Olga says, and "they will talk to you on the streets and offer you rides."
This past summer four Le Jardin Japanese-language students -- seniors Ryann Kurahara, Jonathan Kam, Keila Walker and Michael Masatsugu -- took an exchange trip to Japan for two weeks. The girls attended Konan Girls School, and the boys attended Konan Boys School.
"School was very difficult," says Kam. "(I spent) most of the time using a dictionary to try to pick out words and phrases that the teacher was saying."
Ryann Kurahara commented that her English class was interesting because she was speaking in English but was learning Japanese at the same time.
Besides attending school the students were able to spend time with their host families and enjoy their time in Japan. Kurahara went to an "onsen," a public bathing hot spring. Her class also had a field trip to rice fields where she was able to plant rice in swampy, shin-deep water. Kam enjoyed the "huge malls" with the "four-story arcades."
One of the ways to become an exchange student is to apply to a program like the Future Leaders Exchange (F.L.E.X.) or the Youth Exchange and Study Program (Y.E.S.). Jill chose to use the Y.E.S. program, which brings students from Muslim countries to the United States. "It is designed to promote better relations with the Muslim countries in the world," says Weisberger.
These programs are tough to get into so the students have to work hard to be accepted. In order to be a part of the program, Jill had to pass two tough exams and pass a rigorous interview. For anyone interested in joining an exchange program, Weisberger recommends joining the International Club. "There is no better way to learn a language and the culture," he says, "than to go there and live there."
"If you could pick any scent and bottle it into a cologne or perfume, what would it be?"
"I would chose the scent of a new, leather BMW filled with mangos."
"I like the smell of chocolate chip cookies coming out of the oven."
"The smell of rain on cement."
"The smell of Stew Chicken Curry from the Curry House!"
"The smell of picking oranges on a cool breezy day."
"I would bottle the smell of success."
"I like the smell of Christmas trees."
"The scent of driving on a freeway in the middle of the night through an evergreen forest."
"I like the smell of fresh cinnamon rolls."