By Kealani Beck, Grade 12 Ke Ana Laʻahana PCS
Being born and raised in the small community of Keaukaha has taught me a lot throughout the 18 years of my life. And a small school right here in my community, Ke Ana Laʻahana PCS, has had a huge impact on me.
Ke Ana Laʻahana PCS was founded and established as a school in August 2001. Its Hawaiian cultural curriculum intermingles with our present educational system. Ke Ana Laʻahana PCS strives for a higher academic achievement for each and every student no matter their ethnicity. So being told by others that Ke Ana Laʻahana PCS students won’t graduate and being labeled as “stupid Hawaiians” aggravates my wellbeing.
My great-grandfather fought through thick and thin and was involved in many discussions during Ke Ana Laʻahana PCS’s foundation. His offspring’s children were the next in line to take over his farming business and mālama ʻāina. The eldest took the initiative and took over a few acres of farming land across from Home Depot planting fruit trees such as macadamia nut, papaya and banana.
Being a senior here at the school puts a lot of pressure on myself, though the intentions are right. I have attended this school since August 2017. During middle school, I had the pleasant opportunity to welcome and guide a group from Aotearoa (New Zealand) that was visiting the island. Learning about their culture and expressing our similarities and differences as a community brought much aloha. Having more foreigners as well as others from different ethnicities come together shows a sense of unity and mālama towards each other’s beliefs.
Instead of the normal electives you’d find in most middle/high schools, at Ke Ana Laʻahana PCS our electives intertwine with our Hawaiian heritage. Some examples include papa hula, paʻikiʻi, waʻa, ʻāina, and kai. Each of these classes includes the history of our ancestors; how they’ve survived and kept their stories intact and alive till this day. Hula was used to express the mythology that has created our island – the land that provided for us way before Western culture was introduced to us. And we contributed our blood, sweat, and tears to the land and water by creating rock walls and supporting our kalo patch.
This school has offered so many opportunities that I have taken advantage of due to the fact that tomorrow isn’t promised. Many opportunities involve engaging in my culture and honoring our kūpuna before us, including participating in the Winter Solstice, Makahiki, Merrie Monarch and, Hiʻuwai which were performed early in the school year.
Our school deserves to be acknowledged with the same importance as others. Sure, our school doesn’t have a lot of students – and some show disrespect from time to time – but I strongly believe that our students deserve a chance to change and prove to their kūpuna who have fought for them to exist to this day that it wasn’t just a waste.