Another semester has begun. Spring 2018 will see us putting the final touches on our institutional self-evaluation report and quality focus essay in preparation for the October 2018 visit by a team from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Accrediting Commission for Junior and Community Colleges. We hope that all our college stakeholders will take the opportunity to review the documents and provide us with their feedback. In the meantime, Kapi‘olani Community College continues to offer its students, faculty and staff quality learning experiences.
International Goings and Comings
Students at UH community colleges have access to a unique study abroad program funded by the Freeman Foundation. The most recent Freeman Scholars—Chanelle Amoguis, Blaine Nohara, Cody Rilling, Emeren Sua’Ava, Rachael Teves, and Esmay Joelle Ugalino—completed their program in Korea. I had the honor of going to Seoul in December and witnessing their graduation from their language and culture program at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (HUFS). Dr. Sooah Yuen and I were met by officials from HUFS.
It was winter in Seoul, and the city was decorated for the holidays.
The Freeman scholars demonstrated their much-improved language proficiency in final presentations on their insights while in Korea. All of the Freeman scholars described their study abroad experience in extremely positive terms and were all sad to leave. I’ve seen this same response in all the Freeman Scholars that I’ve had the pleasure to meet. Studying overseas changes lives in the best possible ways.
Kapi‘olani CC not only sends its students to study abroad, the College also hosts over 700 international students. How do so many find us? The staff from the Honda International Center recruit the students, primarily from Japan, China, and Korea. In February, I accompanied Takashi Miyaki to Okinawa, to meet our partner institutions and make presentations to potential students. We visited Okinawa Christian College, Naha Nikkei Business College, Meio University and Okinawa Shogaku (Okisho) High School, where we watched the mandatory karate class in action and observed four students complete their black belt exam.
In addition to meeting the staff and students at these institutions, we enjoyed many meals of Okinawan cuisine, including soft ice cream made from sweet potato.
Okinawa is well known for sweet potatoes, of course. I discovered that pork is also a hallmark of Okinawan cuisine. Pork belly and other parts of the pig are prized, including the pig’s face.
In addition to international students who come to study for a semester or more at the College, we also receive short-term visitors who come for specific program activities. We were fortunate to host a second visit by the students and faculty from the Foundation of Research & Promotion of Ainu Culture. The highlight of the visit was spending an afternoon with students in Mānele, learning about Hawaiian language and culture. The Ainu students also shared their music and dance.
Hawaiian Protocol Activities
The start of Spring semester coincides with the makahiki season, and this year, Kapi‘olani Community College marked the start of the makahiki with a traditional ceremony. Faculty, staff and students marched in two processions, culminating in the giving of offerings. The rituals and protocol were overseen by ‘Ōlohe ‘Umi Kai, a master of Hawaiian arts. We observed the preparation (dressing) of the Akua Loa, with ‘Umi explaining the significance of each part of the protocol. Students played an important role in sounding the pū in the Akua Loa and Akua Poko procession. Palakiko Yagodich as kahuna offered a Pule Hainaki to Lono with participants joining in.
Once the Makahiki ceremony was complete, the pā‘ani (games) could begin. Participants competed in traditional Hawaiian games, and winners received Lanakila awards. What a great way to start the semester!
We marked the end of makahiki and commemorated the 135th anniversary of the inauguration of King David Kalākaua and Queen Julia Kapi‘olani with the planting of 20 kukui trees in a grassy area close to the Olopua building. Under the watchful eye of botany faculty member Mike Ross, faculty and staff planted the trees in ground that had been prepared by the members of the College’s auxiliary services staff. The planting was the next step in a project that began during the Fall 2017 Ne‘epapa Kalāhū, where faculty and staff formed partnerships and selected the kukui tree that they would plant together.
A Resident Alien & An Unexpected Visitor
The College often plays host to visitors from countries around the world as well as closer to home. Every once in a while, we are surprised by unexpected visitors. Such was the case last month when a lovebird decided to take a rest on top of a trash receptacle behind the Naio building. With a donation of trail mix from the cafeteria staff, our visitor was able to have a snack before going on his (her?) way.
You know we have chickens on the campus. Lots of chickens. But there’s one resident alien chicken. Alien because of the feathered feet.