Hawaii's Schools

Farrington English teacher and department head Elizabeth Shiraki shares her thoughts on the summer reading book with her advisory class.

Reading is summer

English teachers give a book
assignment to instill in students
a taste for literature

While most public high school teachers in Hawaii were preparing for summer vacation, Farrington's English Department was putting the final touches on a schoolwide summer assignment.

‘Hawaii’s Schools’

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


The Governor


Iyar Ruth Martin

Faculty adviser:

Jo Ann Mastin

Next week:

Kauai High School

Governor facts

Address: 1564 N. King St., Honolulu, HI 96817

Phone: 832-3600

Principal: Catherine Payne

Mascot: Governor

School colors: Maroon and white

Enrollment: 2,500

Established: 1936

As a strategy to augment students' reading habits and vocabulary usage, all students were required to complete a reading assignment last summer.

"During one of our department meetings last school year, we discussed how some schools required their students to read at least 20 books per school year as a way for their students to better themselves at reading," said English Department head Elizabeth Shiraki.

"One of us suggested that our school should read a book over the summer to enhance the students' reading capacity."

Due to the school's wide range of ability in reading, books weren't selected for their level of difficulty.

Books were primarily chosen with a desire to change the culture of the school, as well as to "get them (the students) in the habit of reading on a daily basis," Shiraki said.

With approval from Principal Catherine Payne, the English Department executed its plan.

More than $19,000 was spent for more than 2,500 books, an amount that didn't take into account the countless hours, energy, and printing costs that went into developing the handouts.

Students were required to turn in two completed handouts to their advisory teachers to verify that they read the book.

The project's success hinged on student responsibility for completing the assignment. English teachers graded this assignment as the first official grade of the course.

Shiraki said that if the handouts were not going to be graded, most students wouldn't bother to read the books.

"Only a little more than half of my advisory class read the book," guidance teacher Jerry Danao said. "Those who did the assignment, however, liked the book. They thought they could relate to the individuals in the story and knew exactly what it meant to face those deep issues as a teenager."

During the first week of advisory classes, students were asked to share their handouts and discuss what they thought about the assigned books.

"We conducted the reading discussions through advisory instead of the English classes because we wanted not only the English teachers to go over the books with the students, but for everyone (including teachers of other departments) to also read the books," Shiraki said.

"For those who did read the book and completed the assignment, they proved to be leaders in the discussions. They were excited to share what they found out about the characters in the book," Danao said.

Juniors Jenny Abes, left, and Kathrina Guira and 2004 graduate Jerome Crisostomo flash their gold medals won at the 2004 National Leadership Meeting in Chicago in July.

Student leaders bring
back medals

Farringtonians reap awards for
exhibitions at a Chicago meeting

The Farrington chapter of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America had another successful summer as 19 students won awards during the 2004 FCCLA National Leadership Meeting in Chicago.

From July 10 to 16, students participated in an array of leadership, target and exhibit workshops, as well as national program training.

The convention also featured the annual Students Taking Action with Recognition, or STAR, events, which featured 16 competitions in a variety of categories. Farrington's FCCLA members participated in seven events and won a total of four gold medals and three silver medals.

Chapter President Lawrence Pulido, along with FCCLA State President Jamie Quiocho and State Vice President Leslie Sison, dominated with their score of 98 in the Illustrated Talk category. They created a Powerpoint presentation on the impact of crystal methamphetamine, or "ice," in Hawaii in front of a panel of judges.

Also earning gold medals were Sherwin Agapay, Gilbert Agcanas and Elmer Barayugay for their project in entrepreneurship; Jericho Crisostomo, John Rey Obuta and James Simon for their collaboration on service projects; and Jenny Abes, Jerome Crisostomo and Kathrina Guira in the chapter showcase manual category.

Silver medalists included Sonny Acosta, Aian Dela Cruz and Amber Pulisbo, who cooked in the culinary arts competition; Jordan Keomphong for his project on career investigation; and Crystal Acosta, Kimberly Baloran and Cheryl Gano in the chapter showcase display category.

"We weren't expecting to win," Guira said. "When our names were called as gold medalists, I was so overwhelmed and ecstatic because we actually won at state and national level."

Members were evaluated on the quality of their portfolios and projects, speech and voice, creativity, professionalism and their knowledge of a variety of topics.

To help pay for the trip, FCCLA members sold baked goods brownies and muffins at Kapiolani Community College's farmer's market.

"Since it was my first time going somewhere different, I really enjoyed the experience," said Gano. "We're going to try and continue this tradition by attempting new projects and activities and experimenting with promising projects."


Farrington hosts teachers
from Sweden

Caroline Ejdeblad, Mharelene Ernqvist and Alisa Karic, student-teachers from Jonkoping, Sweden, arrived on Sept. 18 to participate in a European learning program at Farrington High School.

In February, Principal Catherine Payne acknowledged an e-mail that made it possible for the future teachers to visit Farrington until December. They are majoring in English and will be aides to English teachers on campus. The program requires them to attend an English speaking school for a semester.

Payne said the interaction with the guests will help the student body understand other world communities instead of just those around the Pacific and Farrington couldn't get a better country than Sweden.

In the next two months, the trio will be aiding Coleen Nakayama and other English as a Second Language classes. Once the teacher aides are familiar with the classroom system, they will be assisting in guided lessons and mini lectures.

"The education system over in Sweden is a lot stricter than what I have noticed at Farrington," Ejdeblad said. "Unlike Farrington, students back home are sorted into classes by age and by language."


You asked...

"What do you like most about Farrington?"

Valantino Ferriera
"I like how the teachers treat their students and how everybody deals with problems at school."

Chantel Semitara
"Student government, because it gives me something to do and it's organized. They plan great activities and the students really enjoy it."

Gilbert Bacani
"I really like the administration's efforts to ensure that we do well in school."

Brandie dela Rama
"There are a lot of people and activities and it's so easy to make friends."

Michae-Rae Kalingo
"Everyone is really friendly, so everyone has big groups of friends."

Jane Matto
"The students and teachers are so friendly and helpful and are always there for you."

Shawn Lauvao
"The football, because I met my friends there, and the food, because I love to eat."

Rochie Mamalias
"The diversity of the different cultures."

Brian Okada
Farrington staff
"Everyone has good hearts, so no one wants to leave Farrington."

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