Sophomores Darrellyn Silva and Everrett Martin wipe off chairs for guests at Lanakila Baptist High School. Silva leads her class effort to help the community.

Service with smiles

Lanakila Baptist students want
to reach out past their own
boundaries to help others

At Lanakila Baptist High School, one elective class wants to make a difference.

"This year's ministries class wants to go out and do a mission trip to Kauai," said Darrellyn Silva, sophomore and trip organizer.

Grounded in the Christian form of service, the 29 students of the ministry elective envision sharing their faith beyond their community.

The class meets on Wednesdays for about two hours. During their second meeting, the class started brainstorming outreach ideas. They were thinking about how to share the love of Jesus that they have.

One of the teachers suggested doing a "mission trip," or a visit to somewhere outside of the immediate community where they can share and help people with a particular need. That day, they decided to sacrifice three days and two nights of their spring break to go to Kauai.

The class hopes to raise enough money to make the trip possible. Many food items and car washes loom in their future.

"We just have to stay focused, not get lazy, and we'll go," Silva said.

In the meantime, the students volunteer weekly in their community and school.

The class went to the Waipahu Elderly Home last month, playing board games and taking food to seniors.

"We wanted to let them know about God and that he cares," says freshman Justin Davidson. He, like most of the students in the class, signed up for the elective because he wanted to learn how to serve people and share Jesus' love.

The class also passed out free sodas with Christian pamphlets on Renton Road last month. The parents of class members donated canned sodas, and LBHS teachers brought coolers and ice.

"It was an opportunity to reach out and touch the community in a positive manner," says Michael Schwab, one of two teachers charged with the ministry class. The class has also cleaned up rubbish along Renton Road.

Students chose their electives at registration in August. Some students enrolled in ministry because they had done it before, while others wanted to learn about Christian service.

Seventh-grader Christa Estrella registered in ministry because her older brother had taken the same class when he was in seventh grade. She had wondered what it would be like. At the elderly home, she played checkers with an older woman.

She feels the last three months of class have been fun.

"We get to help people," said Estrella. "Our class is a lot of work and a lot of fun."

Almost weekly since the start of school, the students have taken on special cleaning projects for the school. They cleared out the plants overgrowing and crowding the fishpond in the school's courtyard during one week. Another week, they raked up the fallen leaves from the large, 50-something-year-old trees. Still another week, they painted the basketball courts.

Besides the trip in March, the ministry class has other plans to serve their community, including caroling at Kaiser Permanente in Moanalua on Wednesday.

Students at Lanakila Baptist High School regularly start their day with prayer in homeroom.

School prayer betters
campus life

Students feel they are better off
for being allowed to pray
during school time

Unlike public schools, Lanakila Baptist High School considers prayer a part of academic life. Students pray in their classrooms with teachers to start every school morning and every class.

"It's necessary and it's normal," said junior Leah Shirota.

Since 1962, U.S. courts have banned organized prayer in public school. Lanakila Baptist has included prayer in school since its inception in 1969. The school's organization and curriculum stands on Christian values. Those values say prayer is a vital part of life.

"Prayer means talking to God like a father and friend," said Principal Sam Schwab. "We believe God lovingly hears his children and wants us to communicate with him."

Prayer is taught and practiced within the school. Junior Melissa Lishman thinks it improves the school environment.

"If you talk to God, he makes it better," Lishman said.

After the bell rings on most mornings, students enter the building and put their things away in their lockers, then head out to their homerooms. Filing into their seats, they settle in and settle their minds for praying. Teachers typically start the meditation toward God.

"Just knowing God hears me makes me feel better and get ready for the day," said seventh-grader Jon Salas, smiling.

Salas goes to Chuck Wong's seventh-grade homeroom. Wong was a youth pastor in Chicago and started teaching at LBHS this year. Wong, who chose to teach at LBHS because of its values and Christian curriculum, advocates praying.

"We need (God's) help to be successful in our academic life," Wong said. When asked if prayer makes the school environment better, Wong replied, "Absolutely, absolutely."

Besides morning prayers in homeroom, a student from each class is chosen to go to the principal's office to meet with him and pray.

Students then pray in different classes with different teachers. They also pray with their coaches and before club meetings and any other extracurricular activity.

With finals coming up, many students will be increasing their prayer time. For Lishman, she knows prayer can make a difference. In her first-quarter chemistry exam, she realized that she should have studied more. So she began praying.

"Please, God, please help me to remember what I read and get at least a C," she prayed.

When she received her chemistry grade, she smiled with appreciation.

"God gave me a B," she said.


About this Section

Each week, Hawaii's teenage reporters and photographers tell us about their school. This week's school is Lanakila Baptist High School.

Newspaper: Warrior
Editor: Matt Mecadon
Faculty adviser: Alisa Estrella Bender
Next week: Roosevelt High School

Warrior Facts

Address: 91-1219 Renton Road, Ewa Beach, HI 96706
Principal: Sam Schwab
Nickname: Warriors
School colors: Red, white and blue
Tuition: $4,200
Enrollment: 116 (seventh to 12th grade)
Faculty members: 13
Founded: 1969


You Asked...

Why do you think a small private school
is better than a big one?

Kiley Tanioka
"There is a smaller ratio of students, so there are better learning experiences."

Jenna Gomez
"The teachers can give more one-on-one attention to the students."

Leah Shirota
"A small private school is all I've ever known."

Sonny Ton
"Lanakila is like a family -- it's better that you get to know everyone in the school."

Valerie Quintana
"I think it's better to be in a smaller school because it makes the teacher get to know that person more, but in a big school it's like you're a little ant."

Clement Halemano
Eighth grade
"There are no small groups -- we are all together."

Ashley Nakasone
Eighth grade
"We all know each other and we all love each other, especially the eighth-graders."

Jonathan Salas
Seventh grade
"You can be closer to your friends and know everyone. You can know the teachers better and they can know you one on one."

Kalanio Tolentino
Seventh grade
"You can be closer with everyone. The teachers can work better with you if your grades are down."

Do It Electric
Click for online
calendars and events.


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