The following article by Daisy Draper 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 adviser Kye Haina for helping us share the news.
“This has never happened,” Headmaster Lee Ann Delima said, when she announced the results of the 2014 ʻAha Mele last night, April 17.
The senior class made KS Maui history by placing first for their third of four years competing in the arts and song showcase.
Three years ago, they made history by winning ʻAha Mele as freshmen. Their win was controversial, as that was the last year when Ka Maka o Ka Ihe was awarded based on spirit alone. The scores were determined by an amateur panel of Kamehameha alumni.
“We’ve won through all these negative vibes from everyone, including ourselves,” senior Neʻula ʻAʻarona said. “Everybody doubted us.”
But, the competition began evolving when the class of 2014 was sophomores, and three short years later, the exhibition and competition has evolved to include a panel of three professional judges who score the classes not only on spirit, now called “presentation,” but also on music and Hawaiian language. Each category is worth about a third of the total score.
Even though the class of 2014 also won as juniors last year, many felt that the they still hadn’t proven themselves, and this year was to be the ultimate test.
The seniors passed with flying colors, besting the second-place class, the juniors, by more than 10%.
After the seniors sang, Leesa Foree (’09) predicted via live chat that the “class of 2014 wins again!”
Out of a possible combined total of 132 points, each class placed as follows:
One of the judges wrote that the juniors had “good energy.” Another said about the senior class song that the “divided parts were beautiful.”
After hearing of the seniors’ win, the other classes and audience all gave them a standing ovation to congratulate them on the win.
The gym was packed with about 2,000 people. Students and spectators endured the stuffiness. Audience members fanned themselves, while the students sat still in the heat so they would have any presentation points deducted from their class.
Along with all of the spectators in the gym, nearly 200 people across the country watched the event on a live stream broadcast. Many Kamehameha Maui alumni traded chat with each other and the online commentator, Aunty Kris Galago (KSK ’89), while relatives of students, separated by distance, made up the rest of the viewership.
“Many thanks for all your hard work …. ‘Ohana from the Mainland appreciate it, especially the camera man. Loved the close ups. I was able to see my nephew Ikaika like I was right next to him. I only wish!”, said Elaine Rinck over the live chat.
After the program finished, friends, family, and students filled the courts of the gym to get pictures and give lei.
As is tradition, the junior class stayed to clean up stacking chairs and picking up rubbish from the bleachers.
Along with the class performances, the Kamehameha students also performed chants, songs, and hula for the audience.
The program began with Ke Kumulipo where Shalia Kamakaokalani was Pō and Tyra Joaquin was Ao.
Then, senior Brenden Uemura-Asao chanted ‘Ōpūkahonua, while members of the Drama Club interpreted it through different poses. Those performers were Shaylee Yamashita, Pualalea Barrows, Carolynn Krueger, Alia Hurdle, Aeris Joseph-Takeshita, Kodi Joyo, and Sean Segundo.
Then Mele a Pāku‘i was chanted by Ayla Forsythe, Chyanne Barretto, Kamaile Aipa, and Jasmine Casey, and Papa Hula performed Holo Mai Pele.
Jonah Logotala blew the pū, officially starting the program.
After students chanted Oli Aloha and sang Hawai’i Pono’ī and Ho’onani I ka Makua Mau, Keiki Kahu Aaron Morton said a prayer, and the students finished by singing Pule a Ka Haku.
Avinash Singh, the KSM high school president, welcomed the audience, and senior Lexis Viena explained the evening’s theme Ke Ola Hou.
Students then introduced the evening’s judges: Kamaka Kukona (KSK ’96) for Hawaiian language, Herbert Mahelona (KSK ’85) for music, and Charles Manu Boyd (KSK ’80), the overall judge, who scored students in all three areas — language, music, and presentation.
After Nā Mele Choir sang Pā Lehua, the competition portion of the evening began.
Then Emily Kane introduced the class of 2017 and their conductor Mariana Kaniho. They sang Holo Wa’apā.
Sarah Ikoioka introduced the class of 2016 and their conductor Mauliola Gonsalves. They sang Ka’aahi Kahului.
Shai Ibara introduced the class of 2015 and their conductor Isaac Kala. Their song was Model T Holoholo Ka’a.
The senior class of 2014 was introduced by Neʻula ʻAʻarona, and their song was conducted by four-year song director, Madison Vaught. They sang Ka Huliʻau Ana.
The online viewers were reporting “deja vu” moments as both the freshman and senior classes not only sang the same songs they had sung when they were freshmen and seniors, but coincidentally, they were also wearing the same class colors. Seniors wore orange, and freshmen wore red.
When the classes were done presenting their songs, senior Ryan Foree introduced the last songs to be performed.
The first was The Bullet Train Song, sung by the Hawaiian Ensemble and danced to by Ka Pā Hula O ʻAʻapueo.
That was followed by two student mass numbers, No Ka Moku Kiakahi Ke Aloha and Kamehameha Waltz.
After Mrs. Delima recognized and thanked all the kupuna in the audience and announced the night’s winner, and the orange ribbon was tied on Ka Maka o Ka Ihe, the evening ended with a prayer by Hope Keiki Kahu, junior, Samantha Hill, and two all-school songs, I Mua Kamehameha and the school alma mater, Sons of Hawai’i.
The entire gym stood and joined the students in singing the two beloved songs before the gym filled by milling people, hugging, congratulating, crying, taking pictures, and starting the big clean-up job.