St. Francis students enjoyed a game of tabletop basketball as part of Big Sister-Little Sister Day, where seniors are paired up as mentors to freshmen.


St. Francis seniors
help freshmen lose
their shyness

Younger sister. Kid sister. Or pesky sister. Sometimes your little sister can be a pain, but many times she's that special someone who gives you the love and support you need -- especially when you're having a bad day.

The seniors of St. Francis High School have continued the tradition of love and support as they welcomed freshmen to school on Big Sister-Little Sister Day. The official celebration lasted from Sept. 8-10, but relationships span the whole year. Seniors give gifts and words of encouragement to the freshmen as they slowly plant their roots at St. Francis.

Many students still remember what it was like when they were freshmen and had a "big sister."

"I remember my 'older sister' from last year when I was a freshman, and we're still really close," said sophomore Rachel Koreyasu. "I love her with a passion."

The seniors gave the freshmen a little something each day to build the suspense. Identities of the "big sisters" were kept anonymous until Sept. 10.

On Sept. 8 and 9, you could hear murmurs of surprise as the freshmen found notes, cards and presents awaiting them in their homeroom. The anticipation grew as they opened their gifts, and the question of who gave it to them resounded in whispers in the hallways and classrooms.

Sept. 10 was a day filled with suspense. At 2 p.m., the freshmen would finally come face to face with their "older sisters."

The newly bonded "sisters" enjoy food from a potluck prepared by the seniors.

When the time finally rolled around, the doors of the Alamedia Student Center opened. In a mad rush, the seniors and the freshmen meshed together in a gigantic mob, everyone swarming around looking for their "sisters." Once they found one another, there were embraces and introductions.

The seniors and freshmen, in pairs, walked arm in arm. They spent the rest of the hour talking, enjoying the potluck that the seniors had prepared. Sisters laughed together as teachers acted out charades.

Everyone agreed that the afternoon was well spent.

"It was fun, fun, fun, fun, fun ... extremely fun!" commented Anela Kealoha and her "little sister," Sasha Koki. "It was good fun!"

"It was a good experience," senior Maika Abe said. "I felt that it really was good for the freshmen because the seniors this year were really friendly, and the freshmen were really shy at the beginning. They really came out of their shell at the end, and everyone got along and laughed a lot."


St. Francis students
advance through retreats

Sometimes a retreat is a good tactic before you advance. At St. Francis School, going on a class retreat is mandatory for all students.

"The purpose of retreats is really to give the students a 'time-out,'" Sandra Bellizzi, the new campus ministry teacher, explained. "A retreat gives a way for the girls to remove themselves from everyday distractions and obligations."

The retreats remind students to reflect on their relationship with God while focusing on specific aspects of their lives, be it reconciliation and healing or the power of femininity and womanly wisdom.

"With each retreat, I gain a deeper understanding about God's intended plan for me," student Lealei Magat said. "I learn of my capabilities as a young woman with a set faith in Christ and how I direct my faith to positively impact the world."

On the bus ride to a class retreat, student minister Katrina Ramiro leads her fellow ministers in a game.

During a recent two-day retreat, the young potential St. Francis ministers eased their way through games and stuffed themselves with heaping amounts of good food -- elements in promoting a strong team of girls practicing the true art of campus ministry.

"I was very impressed with how well the girls worked together," Bellizzi said. "They showed me the true spirit of St. Francis."

Amid all the fun, the girls got in touch with the driving force of their ministry, their faith. A prayer service brought the girls to tears as they were asked to give their burdens to God. Many knelt at the foot of a cross, representative of Jesus, reminding them of the sacrifices Jesus made for His people.

"That night I strengthened my relationship with God," student Shea Quiamno said. "I was amazed, especially seeing everybody crying."

With this experience, the girls were reminded of their foundation as ministers and their purpose in sharing the power of God and their faith to their peers. The ministers learned to be the "salt of the Earth" as it says in Matthew 5:13, preservers of the Catholic/Christian faith, adding flavor to the spiritual lives of others as well as their own.


About this page

Each week, Hawaii's teenage reporters and photographers tell us about their school. This week's school is St. Francis School.

Newspaper: Ke Alakai
Co-editors: Katharine Starkus and Tanya Ngo
Faculty adviser: Frank Toyama
Next week: Radford

Troubadour facts

Address: 2707 Pamoa Road, Honolulu 96822
Phone number: 988-4111
Web site:
Founded: 1924
Headmaster: Sister Joan of Arc Souza
Colors: White and blue
Nickname: Troubadours
Enrollment: 404
Faculty: 70


You asked

What have you gained from attending
the campus ministry retreats?

Jennifer Bayley
"Spiritual enlightenment and becoming one with God. I learned how to unite with my friends because that is so important in life, and we need more religious moments."

Shannon McMahon
"I have gained respect for myself and others. I also became more open toward myself and others. And I felt enlightened."

Kaede Yanagihara
8th grader
"Having fun and learning more about Jesus and other people."

Brandee Medeiros
"I gained more friends. I was spiritually enlightened."

Joeun Ham
"I had a good time because I got to know more about other people."

Karla Aguirre
"The meaning of friendship."

Jazmine Pasion
"I learned that in the hardest times friends are there for you."

Susan Buck
"I have gained knowledge from others and bonded with friends. It has helped me to gain spirituality for my soul."

Kristi Ann Tagalicud
"It was very spiritual and I got closer to people in my group and with God."

Yuki Takeda
"I got new friends and I got to know people better."

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