The Legacy of Hands-on Learning at Hanahau‘oli through the perspectives of 3 generations of the Ho ‘Ohana!
One of our littlest learners shared at the beginning of Friday assembly on 2/16/18 that “our school is very old!” This was the perfect lead-in to present Stuart Ho ’47, son Peter Ho ’77, Peter’s wife, Michelle Kondo ’84 Ho, and their children Kahn '19 and Lia '2. They were featured on the assembly stage sharing their reflections on their personal experiences of hands-on learning at Hanahau‘oli.
Stuart shared his vivid memories of learning-by-doing while he was at school in the 40’s. He said that during the war years, he learned how to make a bed and iron a shirt because his mother was very busy with supporting war activities. He recalls making kapa, the Lono prayer, and the bomb shelter that was built in the school yard!
Peter chimed in recalling that by the 70’s when he was at Hanahau’oli, he enjoyed jumping on the dirt in the field by the fence that had some “flex” to it. He and a bunch of friends jumped on it and the dirt broke through and, much to their surprise, they discovered the actual bomb shelter 30 years later! He remembers most of all the importance sense of traditions: Makahiki, making stone soup, Halloween and the Christmas programs, birthday books (he recalled specifically his birthday book when he turned 9 – Runaway Ralph!). What Peter values most were the people who surrounded him – he remembered and named all his teachers and all those special people who "put a smile both on your face and in your heart."
Michelle had many fond memories too. Learning-by-doing for her meant learning songs together and singing the in the Pavilion. Our way of “holding up the words” to the songs on large easel paper remains a joyful memory. She loved how everyone gets to know everybody on campus well, and this is something to be treasured as this doesn’t always remain as you get older. Michelle shared her kapa made with dirt and natural dyes painted with the hala brushes that the children still do today.
Kahn said, “I remember everything!” He eagerly shared his Kulāiwi learning trip book and Lia enjoyed making in Physical World Lab a little island with her own hands!
Throughout the decades, the Ho ‘ohana has showed us that learning-by-doing truly defines us as a school as we have lived it and breathed it since our founding!