HAWAII'S SCHOOLS: SACRED HEARTS
COURTESY OF SACRED HEARTS ACADEMY
Ceramics students, including senior Junel Solbach, created pieces of pottery and original stories, which they then shared with residents of the Palolo Chinese Home as part of a service-learning project.
A $20,000 grant will help the school share its service-learning program with others
Sacred Hearts Academy has always emphasized character education, but in the past 25 years, it has also incorporated service-learning into its curriculum as a meaningful way to help students develop character and become better citizens.
The school was recognized in October by the Character Education Partnership as one of 10 schools nationwide as a National School of Character.
"The Academy received the award because our focus on character education is integrated into the life of the entire school, in the curriculum, in extracurricular activities and in the way we reach out to the larger community," Sister Katherine Francis Miller, campus minister, said.
3253 Waialae Ave. Honolulu, HI 96816
Gold and white
Faculty adviser: Gaylen Isaacs
Editor: Cydrienne Llamas
"Character education is the effort to promote values of good citizenship, honesty, integrity and unselfishness, all part of the school's mission," Miller said.
In October, Theology Department Chairwoman Sister Irene Barboza, Miller and Head of School Betty White went to Washington, D.C., to receive this prestigious award on behalf of the school.
In celebration of the award on Jan. 24, Gov. Linda Lingle; Brig. Gen. Kathleen Berg of the Hawaii Air National Guard; Dr. Carmen Himenes, superintendent of Hawaii Catholic Schools; and Constance Lau, CEO of Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. and chairman and CEO of American Savings Bank, spoke to Academy students about the importance of character in their lives and professions.
Gov. Lingle shared some personal experiences and recognized her parents as major role models, saying, "True character is how you act when you think no one is watching. Believe in yourself and have courage in your convictions. The measure of your character is how you react in situations, especially in adversity."
Berg emphasized that leadership is the essence of character.
"Leadership is the willingness to take responsibility, to see that things that should be said are said, and things that should be done get done," Berg said. "This often requires some courage, too, which is easier if you're thinking of others and doing the right thing and not worrying about yourself and being embarrassed."
White said, "The award encourages and inspires us to work even harder to fine-tune our curriculum, service-learning program and campus ministry program to carry out the principles of effective character education."
As a National School of Character, the Academy received a $20,000 grant, half of which is earmarked for outreach to promote character education in other schools. On April 5 the Academy will sponsor a Character Education Institute.
"Besides other private schools, we are inviting public schools within the Kaimuki-Palolo area," Miller said. "The remaining $10,000 will be used to provide further training for teachers and student leaders so they can become better promoters of character education both at the Academy and at partner schools."
For many, character education is not limited to academic courses.
"By participating in the Soroptimist, Zonta and Interact clubs at school, we learn to be less selfish people while enjoying service activities that work with poor and impoverished kids in our community," senior Laura Taylor said.
Lower School Dean Antoinette Gopaul said, "Our goal is for Academy girls to understand that character is a way of life. It is not demonstrated in one particular course, but should be visible in all they do or say."
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COURTESY OF SACRED HEARTS ACADEMY
Astronomy students Jessica Ross, Kolette Thornburg, Sarah Winfrey, Angeline Friese and Anjanet Haller examine the 8.1-meter Gemini Telescope during a private tour of the Mauna Kea Observatory.
Studies hit summit
Astronomy students head to Mauna Kea to aid NASA research
Mauna Kea is home to the world's largest observatory, with telescopes operated by astronomers from 11 countries. Astronomy students from Sacred Hearts Academy and teacher Matthew Martin visited the observatory in late January to perform an exclusive NASA mission.
"This year's astronomy class conducted a NASA mission to help Hawaii's ecological and biological systems by using NASA's Landsat 7, Terra and Aqua satellite data, and analysis software," Martin said. "With tasks completed and a better understanding of their place in the community, the students contributed their results via NASA to the scientific community."
Prior to the trip, students learned how NASA scientists combine many fields of science to increase their understanding of the universe.
"Starting with the big-bang theory, we investigated the history of time, life cycle of stars, solar system formation, what makes Earth just right for life, and environmental issues that affect the future of our species on this living planet," said senior Kolette Thornburg.
Before arriving on the Big Island, students were briefed to avoid complications on their ascent to the 14,000-foot summit.
"Mr. Martin made sure that we knew what the weather would be like so we could pack accordingly," Thornburg said. "We checked and charted the weather on Mauna Kea every day to make a forecast of conditions when we arrived."
After unpacking at Kilauea Military Camp, the group started the trek up Mauna Kea in their winter coats, mittens and scarves.
"At 10,000 feet we had to stop at the Visitors Center because it was snowing and the road was iced over," said junior Sarah Winfrey. "Some of us were suffering from headaches and bloating due to the dramatic altitude change. This stop at the center gave us time to get acclimated to the change."
Upon their arrival at the summit, students split into two groups, with one group touring the Gemini telescope while the others saw the UH 88-inch telescope.
"We had already studied how the Gemini and UH telescopes function on Mauna Kea," senior Angeline Friese said. "When we finally saw them, we were able to understand what the astronomers were doing."
"After touring the Gemini, we stepped outside and found flakes of white snow floating down around us. We had a brief snowball fight and took almost a hundred pictures in the snow! It was so exciting!" Winfrey said.
Before returning down the mountain, students had dinner with astronomers in their private dining facility and were treated to a special presentation by Paul Coleman, a native Hawaiian physicist, who shared about careers in science and the history of astronomy in the Hawaiian culture.
"Astronomers' schedules are hectic, and sometimes they sleep in their offices because the best time to do their work is at night," Friese said. "Despite the long hours and harsh weather conditions, they still love their work." she said.
The trip to Mauna Kea proved to be a remarkable journey for the students.
Winfrey said, "This trip opened our eyes to possibilities of many careers in science. The trek up to sacred Mauna Kea was not only educational, but one of the most aesthetic experiences I have ever had in my life. I felt like I was getting close to heaven!"
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[ YOU ASKED ]
What would you do with a million dollars?
Sherry Mae Ravago
"I will use the money to help pay for my brothers' education and buy my grandmother a new home in the Philippines where our relatives are taking care of her."
Jenna Leah Los Banos
"I will put some in a savings account so that it will accumulate interest. I will also indulge my family and friends, especially my parents and grandparents, with a celebration because they spend a lot of money and time on me. They deserve it. Lastly, I will donate some money to UNICEF because it helps children."
"I will use some of the money to clean up the litter in the ocean and some to preserve Hawaii's rain forest. I will also spend some money on improving IHS downtown so that more poor people can go there and have a better life like I have here in Hawaii."
"I will buy my parents some property on the mainland so that my dad can fulfill his dream of building a house. I will donate some money to charity, especially to fight breast cancer, because that was the cause of my grandma's death."
"I will open a shelter for stray and abused animals and name it the Animal Security Center. If any money is left over, I will give it to the ASPCA to help other animals because I love animals!"
Compiled by Chelsie Neves