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July 13, 2009

Hula at Ulupo Heiau; Kailua, Hawaii

Hula at Ulupo Heiau; Kailua, Hawaii

I often reflect on the sense of alienation felt by many students as part of our school experience, particularly in our years of secondary school.  There always seemed to be a sense of disconnection between what was being taught during the hours of 8 am and 3:30 pm, and what was going on in the rest of our lives.  For many of us, school could at times feel like an internment.  However, there were the occasional opportunities to feel free and inspired.   It is interesting to me that these occasional experiences are the ones I recall with the most pride about my school.  I recall hula dancing in Waikiki and at community centers on O’ahu from as early as elementary.  Thankfully, in Hawaii we have a strong tradition of passing on knowledge through demonstration.  Our teachers taught us  to exhibit our knowledge with pride and perform with the public in mind.  I recall drama classes taught by Kati Kuroda, that today seem so far reaching in scope, I am amazed at what we had accomplished.  Our sixth grade class managed to produce an authentic style Chinese opera, complete with costumes, make up, instruments and musicians.  This production, as all our efforts with Mrs. Kuroda, was completely produced by fellow classmates.   Again, the whole point of the curriculum was to create something to exhibit to the public.  To Ho’ike.  I imagine that for most students that get involved with the arts, there  is an engagement to a larger community.  This may have offset the skull drudgery we have all felt from a typical classroom lecture and may have lead to greater understanding through a deeper more meaningful experience.  After all, we were proudly creating something of value, sharing it, and receiving feedback from those around us.   There truly is something joyful in the creative process when it is given freely to others!

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