Daniel Miyasato, left, Angela Robinson and Yves Johnson listen as their classmates discuss current events during a class at the Academy of the Pacific.

Individual ability

Differences are celebrated in
a unique setting that allows
one-on-one instruction

School is supposed to be a place where everyone is accepted and differences are not only acknowledged, but also treated with respect and understanding. Unfortunately, in many schools in Hawaii and other parts of the world, this atmosphere remains absent.

Academy of the Pacific

Faculty adviser
Celine Kagan

Andrew Barnett

913 Alewa Drive
Honolulu 96817

Head of School
Mollie Sperry

Phone number


151 (sixth through 12th grade)

At Academy of the Pacific however, people are treated like individuals, and diversity can thrive without any restraints. With average class sizes being around 10 to 12 students, teachers can concentrate more on an individual student's strengths and weaknesses rather than having to mandate a curriculum for the entire class.

During an English class in my sophomore year, the teacher had a separate lesson plan for each student. At any other school, that would be unheard of. You can't teach a separate lesson to each student if you have 25 students in a class.

Yet in that class we were all given something separate, and we even had a say in what we felt we should work on, the philosophy being that no one has a better understanding of what we should work on than ourselves.

The concepts that I chose to study in that class would most likely be worthless to the majority of the other students in there. But they were worth it to me. I learned what I needed to learn, and that kind of attention is almost impossible to find in any other place.

This personalization all comes back to the theme of individuality. When students are treated like individuals, they become more aware of what makes them unique. When we are able to work on ourselves, it gives us a better understanding of who we are.

At Academy of the Pacific, even grade levels are avoided whenever possible. Any label that generalizes the student population is considered inappropriate. Students create their own labels.

This lack of group separation is what gives us so much personal freedom. Once we know our uniqueness, we can also see everyone else as an individual and become more accepting.

I hope that once I leave the school, I am at least able to take the attitudes and experiences I have learned here with me and apply them to other life situations. Hopefully, I will not be shocked when different places and different schools don't share the same atmosphere that I found here.

Either way, Academy of the Pacific has enabled me to recognize differences in myself and in others.


Students excel with
individual attention

When people ask me what kind of school Academy of the Pacific is, I am almost always at a loss to immediately explain. I thought about the answer to that question and investigated what makes me different because I go to this school.

AOP is a private college preparatory academy in Alewa Heights where many unique personalities and opportunities can be found.

Those who have heard of our school before enjoy speculating as to what creates this extraordinary learning environment. "AOP is a last-chance school" is a stereotype we often hear. But the school is much more a place for kids who have not done well before to do really well.

The innovative learning style has boggled the minds of many who have attended or researched life at our school. Indeed, it takes only moments after stepping foot on our homey, villagelike campus during a normal school day to realize that this is an educational environment unlike those most have been exposed to.

Most of our students have encountered challenging times involving personal choices, family situations or other disruptive situations. These challenges do not necessarily affect the academic performance of students who encounter them, but they often result in students' need for consolidated, individual attention.

Here, if students have a question, it's more likely to be answered in AOP's smaller classes of six to 14 students rather than the average class sizes of 20 to 25 students in public schools.

The Academy of the Pacific is made up of students who thrive with personalized attention. Being in a smaller classroom allows for more attention to each individual student and fewer distractions so that the class can cover more material in a shorter amount of time.

The uniqueness of our learning environment is evident to every first-time visitor I've spoken with. People notice the kinship between students, who are mixed in age and grade levels in shared classes.

Since our students come from all over the island and from other schools, incoming students soon see that being open to meeting and working with people of all personality types and quirks is the first step to expanding one's mind.

The sense of ohana prevails in the minds of the faculty as well, and students and teachers can conduct discussions as peers in a comfortable environment.



"What would be your ideal
college if money were not
an issue? Why?"

Sharise Evans
"FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise), because it's a great school geared toward the only career that I can think of that I would actually enjoy. I want to be involved in visual communications."

Ashley Yamaguchi
"My ideal college would be Oxford University because I've heard it's a great school and I want to get out of corporate America."

Sarah McWilliams
"I would want to go to a fashion school in Europe because fashion there is huge, and Europe is appealing to me because it's so different."

Leslie Matsumura
"Princeton, because it's a nice place, offers a good education, and I like the sound of Princeton. It sounds sophisticated."

Mana Komine
"University of Miami, because they have the best athletic program."

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