Grounding Our Students in Place-Based Learning

Grounding Our Students in Place-Based Learning

Kamehameha Schools generously provides tuition assistance to a group of Native Hawaiian haumāna (students) through our Aukahi Ka Muliwai partnership. At Assets, those High School haumāna are: Paige ‘26, Lhaia ‘26, Kelli Ann ‘25, Jayden ‘25, Keaka ‘25, Kahealani ‘25, Kauanoe ‘25, Elon ‘24, Kawika ’24, Cole ‘23, Kaylee ‘23, Zane ‘23, and Mason ’23.

While all students need to be aware of place—the place(s) from whence they come, the place(s) in which they grow, the place in which our school and their learning are based—such grounding is especially vital to those who are Native Hawaiian and/or those who uphold Hawaiian values.

As partners with Kamehameha Schools, we are committed to helping our “Aukahi” haumāna to be culturally grounded and to cultivate a sense of place through kuleana (responsibility) and aloha ʻāina (love of the land/earth and connection to all living things). We are very fortunate that our very own Kumu Nālani Badua has been teaching haumāna about Mokauea ʻAilana. This is a place where we enjoyed our high school faculty retreat in August. Known as Oʻahu's last Hawaiian fishing village, and not far makai from our campus, Mokauea Ailana was once a thriving home to Native Hawaiian people and culture as well as an abundant marine ecosystem. Sadly, the loko iʻa (fish ponds) have been destroyed by dredging and development. Very few people reside in the area. Mokauea today is an example of the destruction and loss that occurs when we fail to demonstrate aloha ʻāina and kuleana.

Our Aukahi Ka Muliwai haumāna, along with students from our Hawaiian class and ecology class, had the opportunity to continue their learning at Mokauea. They were hosted by Mauliola Ke`ehi, which is a Hawaiian culture-focused, placed-based education program steeped in a rich history that provides transformative healing through culture and art. During this special experience, the papa (reef) of Keʻehi formed the foundation of an outdoor classroom that is fun, exciting, and--most importantly--rich with meaningful place- and culture-based learning.

Since Mokauea is only accessible via water, the group worked as a team to paddle canoes to and from Mokauea. As they learned, they also demonstrated their kuleana and aloha ʻāina by cleaning the area of harmful debris and removing invasive plant species.

Mahalo to “Aunty Kehaulani Kupihea” from Mauliola Ke`ehi for welcoming and teaching our haumāna. Mahalo to Nālani and science teacher Karlee Eugenio for their planning and teaching. Mahalo to Nālani, Dean of Student Life Jason Wagner, and History and Philosophy teacher Elan Giddings for chaperoning. Mahalo to our haumāna for embracing this unique learning experience and being responsible stewards who care for our world.

 

 

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