Friday, April 6, 2001


Anthony Sherman, left, and Angelo Juhasz, right, and other
students of Rainbow School Honolulu enjoyed a footrace
on the grounds of Iolani Palace yesterday.

students enjoy
a day off

The strike balloons the
normal daytime crowds
at local spots

By Diana Leone

ON THE FIRST DAY of public school teacher and University of Hawaii professor strikes, it was clear that thousands of students freed from at least two days of class had a lot of options:

>> Some went to the beach, to bodyboard, surf or hang out with friends.

UHPA HSTA strike logo >> Some hit the movie matinees.

>> Some spent the day with a nonworking parent or grandparent.

>> And in some cases, places that expected a glut of youngsters did not see them.

Most parents and students said yesterday that they support the strike but hope it does not last too long. Students, in particular, do not mind a few days off. Parents are concerned about the long-term effects.

Bus driver Kim Tollefson, who has three children in public schools, is out of a job as long as the strike is on. "No kids, no bus," she said simply as she had lunch at the Kaneohe McDonald's.

Mae and Larry Wong also were dining there with granddaughter Ariel Epps, a fifth-grader at Ahuimanu Elementary. Epps said her plans for the day included "shopping and watching TV."

"We just had 'em (six grandkids) for spring break, and now they're back already," Larry Wong said with mock dismay. "I hope it's over soon and the teachers get what they want," he said more seriously. "We support the teachers."

SANDY BEACH was a happening scene for students from Kaiser, Kalaheo, Castle and Roosevelt highs. The music was booming from car stereo speakers. People were barbecuing, sunbathing and meeting and greeting one another.

At the Boys and Girls Club at 1704 Waiola St. in McCully
yesterday, director Kawika Yahiro signed in Karen Lakes,
who attends Jefferson School, watched by her dad Richard.

"Half the school's here," said Roosevelt senior Kahi Kapololu.

He and fellow Roosevelt senior Stephanie Mau said they were greatly relieved to learn Wednesday that they had passed all their third-quarter classes. That means, Kapololu said, that even if the strike lasts long enough to make the year's final quarter too short for credits, they still will be able to graduate without summer school.

Like most other students at the beach, they will not mind missing a few days of class, but hope to return before long. They want to go to the senior prom May 12 and for the school to have a formal graduation ceremony.

"I support the teachers getting a raise," Kapololu said. "I think they'll have to drop a little from what they want but that they will get it."

A group of Kailua Intermediate students had made the trip to Sandy Beach by bus. The overwhelming mood was excitement at having a day off. But told that some beginning teachers make $29,000 a year or less, Kailua seventh-grader Tom Frazee proclaimed, "That's a rip-off."

Kylie Lum, an eighth-grader at the UH Lab School, was out for the day with her aunt, Terri Silva, and Silva's children.

"I think they do need more pay. It would probably bring more qualified teachers," she said.

Lyonette Waa was trying to make Day 1 of the strike an educational experience for daughter Kuuipo San Agustin, who loves to go to kindergarten at Puohala Hawaiian Immersion School.

They started their day watching TV accounts of the strike. Then they went grocery shopping, naming food items in Hawaiian.

Plans for the afternoon included going to the library and tackling some of the craft projects Waa had bought in anticipation of the strike.

"I hope they settle today," Waa said. "They deserve a raise. If it wasn't for them, our kids wouldn't be learning."

BEVERLY TATUM works as a flight attendant and also substitute-teaches. "At one time I was supposed to be a teacher," she said, "but now I'm glad I'm not. ... I know how hard they work and how much they put into it. I'm making more than them and they deserve more."

"It's not just about education; it's about jobs and the high cost of living," Tatum said as she, her daughter Aubrey and some friends enjoyed Waimanalo Beach Park.

To manager Lovelyn Souza's surprise, the Chuck E. Cheese pizza restaurant and game emporium in Aina Haina was not swamped with kids and parents yesterday.

"Last week, during spring break, it was jammin'," she said. "I was amazed it was slow today."

Neither was the Aina Haina Public Library overtaken with keiki on the loose. Children's librarian Alice Fujiwara said there were only a handful of out-of-school children at her regular Thursday morning story time.

At Koko Marina 8 theaters, manager Spencer Tomimatsu said ticket sales for the first matinee of the day were double normal.

Kapuailohia VanDorpe, daughter Kuiulani Barretto and the children of a friend she was keeping for the day were among the group streaming out of "Spy Kids" just before 3 p.m.

Because she is a student herself, at Honolulu Community College, VanDorpe said she planned to keep children for friends who have to work for as long as the strike goes on.

"If they reopen the schools Monday but the teachers are still striking, she's not going," VanDorpe said, pointing to her daughter, a first-grader at Koko Head Elementary. VanDorpe said that is one way to show her support for the teachers.

Another is that "every time we're passing the school, we're beeping our horns and waving our hands."they deserve more."

>> HSTA Web site
>> UHPA Web site
>> State Web site
>> Governor's strike Web site
>> DOE Web site

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