KS Hawai‘i fifth graders with kumu Karyl Ah Hee.
Students in Karyl Ah Heeʻs fifth grade class are reveling in how far a positive message can go. What began as an inquiry project into hurricanes evolved into an effort to celebrate perseverance by sending a message of aloha to those in need.
Affectionatley known as the 5Bfish with their tagline to swim strong, perseverance is built into this classʻ DNA. Seeing the devastation that happened when Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, they were moved
“Our class agreed that new knowledge and knowing was NOT enough, we needed to put it into action!” said Ah Hee in her blog post.
Teams mobilized to create posters on how to prepare and be safe if a hurricane is imminent and how Hurricane Harvey has impacted the world. They decided to highlight fundraising efforts with their ʻohana and come together to create a mele(song) to reach as many people in Texas as they can.
The hāumana began by asking questions including: What goes into a mele? How did our ancestors haku mele (compose songs) and why? Who are the people of Texas? What makes Texans unique? What is the culture of Texas? And, what collective message and feelings do we want to send to everyone impacted by Hurricane Harvey?
With help from Hawaiian culture kumu Pumehana Silva, engineering and technology coordinator Jason Tanaka and music kumu Cynthia Debus, the students were able to write and perform their mele – “Nā Kau a Kau.” The song title was inspired by KS’ 2017-2018 spiritual theme, “E Kūpaʻa No Nā Kau a Kau – Stand Firm In All Seasons.” (Read more about the project, how they developed the song, and see the lyrics to the song on their class blog.)
Ah Hee is also using this opportunity to teach students about the impacts of social media and how those tools work. Using a Twitter account, she began enaging with folks and asking for help in sharing the mele on Saturday afternoon. By Monday, the song had reached TV stations in Houston and continues to be shared in the Lone Star state and beyond.
To date, the mele has been posted and shared on Texas television stations KHOU, KVUE, KIII and a number of other affiliate stations. Locally, HawaiiNewsNow recently highlighted their efforts and meteorologist Jen Robbins shared the post on her Facebook page. On social media itself, the video has thousands of views and people continue to be moved by their aloha spirit, sharing with their own networks and commenting on how happy the gesture has made them feel.
Ah Heeʻs hope is if people can visit their class blog and post where theyʻre from, students can see just how far a message can go with social media.
Ah Hee has highlighted for students how social media can be used to amplify their voices as global citizens for the good of mankind.
“Social media can take us out of our class walls to make a difference in our world,” shared Ah Hee. “I want students to know that they can impact it in such a positive way...I'm trying to let them see potential.”