To cultivate a strong Native Hawaiian identity to instill confidence and resiliency in our learners, Kamehameha Schools promotes participation in cultural practices, like hula.
The following article was published recently on the award-winning KS Maui student news site, “Ka Leo o Nā Koa,” The Voice of the Warriors. Mahalo to KSM journalism advisor Kye Haina for helping us share the news.
Kamehameha Schools Maui junior Jaelynn Marie Kaleʻa Nobriga won the Hula O Nā Keiki Overall Wahine Award at Kāʻanapali Beach Hotel on Saturday, Nov. 12.
“It seemed like I had to wait years for my time to dance, and that is what made me the most nervous: the waiting. However, when I finally went on stage, all my jitters disappeared, and I felt like I was alive. I felt the love that I had for hula and the love of my Kumu, hālau and family who were watching me,” Nobriga said.
Aside from the Overall Wahine Award, she also won the ʻOpio Wahine Oli award, the ʻOpio Kahiko Award, and the ʻOpio Interview Award.
Hula O Nā Keiki is a children’s solo hula competition in which participants ages 5 to 17 years compete in categories for awards and titles. Prior to the competition, the dancers are also must perform well in an interview in front of a panel of judges.
Each category is separated by kāne and wahine categories, and the dancers are organized by age. The judges give awards based on overall performance, oli, costume and adornments, and interview.
Nobriga was representing Kumu Hula Uluwehi Guerrero of Hālau Hula Kauluokalā. Guerrero won the Akoni Akana Kumu Award which is an award given to the kumu who best prepared for the competition. Guerrero’s hālau received the Friends of Mokuʻula scholarship to be used to educate people in Hawaiian culture.
According to Nobriga, she spent many months prior to the competition practicing the same two mele repeatedly, and time management was a key component in her busy life. She practiced with her kumu hula three times during the week and had four hour practices on Saturdays.
“…Through this experience, I found joy. I got to elevate my level of hula, form an unbreakable bond with my kumu and alakaʻi, and also [overcome] my fear of dancing alone and the thought that I was not good enough,” Nobriga said.
She said that although the experience was stressful, the lessons that she took from it made the whole journey worthwhile.
STRATEGIC PLAN 2020
SP2020 is a five-year strategic plan that will guide Kamehameha Schools from 2015 to 2020. The plan marks a starting point toward KS’ Vision 2040, which envisions success for all Native Hawaiian learners.
This aligns with Goal 3 of SP2020 as KS aims to cultivate a strong Native Hawaiian identity. It also aligns with Action 5 of Kamehameha Schools’ Ten Actions for fiscal year 2016-17, calling for the integration of cultural principles.
Photos by Jaelynn Nobriga.