Summer School Students Explore Hawaiian History

Rising Punahou ninth graders recently visited FestPAC, the 13th Festival of Pacific Arts & Culture, held in Hawaiʻi from June 6 – 16. Dancing alongside people from various cultures, both from Hawaii and abroad, they learning dances from Fiji, Tahiti, Taiwan and Micronesia. Students also learned songs from different regions, making it an amazing opportunity to sing and dance with new global friends.

This field trip was part of the inaugural Hawaiian History social studies class, a newly required course designed to provide all students with an understanding of Hawai‘i’s unique history. In this summer school class, led by eighth grade faculty members Shauna Hirota and Leah Anderson ‘94, students are engaging in a variety of rich cultural and historic experiences and projects.

One project involved exploring history through images. Students brought history to life by reenacting scenes inspired by artist and historian Herb Kane’s historic image interpretations. They had a lot of fun acting out moments in history depicted in the images.

In another lesson, students conducted research projects on Hawaiian arts and crafts to learn how culture changes over time. The hands-on project focused on the craft of ʻohe kapala. Students examined how artist and designer Manaola has promoted the evolution of culture by blending traditional Hawaiian practices and designs with modern, high-end fashion.

Inspired by a workshop hosted by Manaola using cross sections of banana stalks, students created their own stamps from banana stalks harvested on campus. They designed and produced works of art that held personal significance and deepened their understanding of Hawai‘i and Hawaiian culture.

A number of field trips, such as visits to ‘Iolani Palace, the State Capitol and the Mission Houses, is also enriching the students’ experience.

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