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Recording history, reporting the truth & recognizing excellence.


Recording history, reporting the truth & recognizing excellence.


Hawaiian language class highlights positive messages through proverbs

Na Hoku staff
Braylee Riturban selected gratitude as her theme. Students used Canva to comoplete their projects.

Share and acknowledge one’s beauty. Celebrate the beauty of Aloha. Sharing is caring. 

These are short-form English translations of more complex Hawaiian proverbs the students in Hawaiian 4 want to share with the Moanalua students.

As a lead-up project in anticipation of Hawaiian Independence Day Nov. 28, Kumu Kapua Adams’ students created “shareable” flyers to convey traditional Hawaii values.

“We wanted to share Hawaiian proverbs with the students that reflected the values as passed on by our kupuna,” Adams said.

This was not an easy project.

“The students had to look at more than a thousand proverbs to select one that matched their theme and was appropriate to our campus,” Adams said.

Senior Cassidy Ferreira selected the topic of “bravery,” saying that “the Hawaiians were brave people” and she wanted to honor them.

Senior Lyla Sato selected “sharing” as her topic and “sharing is caring” as her motto. 

“My grandfather would always remind me to share with others and not to be selfish,” she said.

Sato selected proverbs that encouraged readers to reflect on the idea of sharing and “how it all comes back to you.”

This required the students to think about who their audience was. For example, some proverbs related to a specific area of Hawaii or island, Adams explained, so if the Moanalua audience was not familiar with that location, they wouldn’t understand the imagery. 

Ferreira said the class consulted the ‘Olelo No’eau, or Hawaiian language glossary to research their topics and find proverbs to march their theme. 

Junior Ioane Travis-Bagood said he selected the theme of family for its personal significance.

“Everything starts with family and then moves out,” he said. “Growing up, I learned how to communicate first with my family, and then I was able to communicate with friends.”

Adams said the class discussed a method of sharing their learning with others. They ultimately settled on posters with pull-tabs on the bottom that will be placed around campus. Each poster has a theme, and each tab has a related proverb written in Hawaiian and English.  Anyone can pull off the small tabs at the bottom of the poster and keep it as a reminder of these words of wisdom. 

“I liked working on this project because we did it together as a class,” Ferreira said.

Sato said she noticed that some students were working on their own projects but still stopped to help their classmates by giving them suggestions.

Travis-Bagood enjoyed the process and credited Kumu Adams for “keeping us in check.”

The office hallway and library have the entire set of posters, and teachers will receive one poster each to display in their classrooms.

“We didn’t want it to be overwhelming,” Adams said about the little pieces of paper that are small enough to fit in a wallet yet still convey big ideas that can inspire and motivate.

First row left to right: Cassidy Ferreira (12), Mālie Moe (11), Emele Blackmon (12), Lyla Sato (12), Hope Kahoaka (12), Kāhealani (Kamryn) Miyataki (12), Alyssa Joy Dela Cruz (12), Maila Taga (12), Braylee Riturban (12).
Back row left to right: Keawe Coelho Jr. (11), Kūlia (Josiah) Kahue-Antone (10), Azien Hahn (12), Ioane Travis-Bagood (11), Camryn Dawson (12), Tyler Manlapit (12), Kimo Lind (12) (Photo courtesy Kapua Adams)
Cassidy Ferreira wanted to honor the bravery of native Hawaiians in her poster. (Na Hoku staff)
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