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KS Maui Lei Day contest

May 5, 2020

Kamehameha Schools Maui staffers celebrated May Day with a special Lei Day contest featuring guest judge Kuana Torres Kahele – renown Niʻihau shell lei-maker and Hōkū Award-winning vocalist. The contest took place during the campus’ weekly “Faculty Lounge” gathering on Zoom. Employees were encouraged to wear lei to the lounge and to share a moʻolelo (story) about their lei. E hoʻomaikaʻi (congratulations) to the lei contest winners!

The guest judge for KSM’s Lei Day Contest was Kuana Torres Kahele. Contest contenders held their lei up to their video cameras so Kahele could get a closer look at their workmanship. Each entrant shared a story about their lei.

Ekela Kaniʻaupio-Crozier – KS Maui Hawaiian Culture-Based Education Learning Designer and Facilitator – hosted the online event.

Winner of the Flower Lei category was high school Administrative Assistant Ronnelle Suda who strung a lei po’o (head lei) from pikake and plumeria blossoms picked at the kula kiʻekiʻe (high school). Suda is considered an essential employee and works at school on designated days.

Winner of the Non-Flower category was Volunteer Program Coordinator Vaiana Nakamitsu who created a lei out of multi-colored tissue paper she had at home.

Winner of the Most Creative category was high school Hawaiian Culture kumu Lōkahi Antonio who fashioned a lei pūpū makaloni out of materials found in his pantry.

Winner of the Recycled category was high school Educational Assistant Dave Takahama who created a lei ʻāʻī (neck lei) out of egg cartons.

Winner of the Most Colorful category was Parent/Alumni Relations Manager Lokelani Patrick who stung a plumeria lei out of pua gathered from her yard.

Winner of the Most Thoughtful category was high school English kumu Noelani Yatsushiro, who shared a shell and bead lei made by her son.

Faculty Lounge attendees chat with contest judge Kuana Torres Kahele.

The campus’ Faculty Lounge held every Friday afternoon helps employees stay connected.

Kahele led attendees in several songs including “May Day is Lei Day in Hawaiʻi” and the rare mele “Lei of Love.” The lyrics to “Lei of Love” can be found on


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