Seventeen-year-old Mathew Butler is well on his way to achieving his dream to become a sailing instructor. His senior project at Mililani High centers on receiving sailing certification and being able to work with younger students to have them meet minimum qualifications to sail dinghies at the Rainbow Bay Marina in Pearl Harbor. He is teaching an 18-hour sailing course to these youngsters. Continue reading
PEARL’s influence continues to grow! At Molokai High, Lyn Bonk, Uplink coordinator, and librarian Diane Mokuau, decided to give middle schoolers a head start by creating a special program in summer 2012 that would give the youngsters a taste of high school academic life. This summer program was funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers. This federal program supports the creation of community learning centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities during non-school hours for children who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools. Continue reading
Randy Ines Jr., called RJ by his peers, decided to redesign the art classroom at Castle as his senior project. He worked with community mentors including experts from Group 70, an architectural firm, and from the UH School of Architecture as well as Duane Preble, retired UH art professor. RJ studied many designs and learned about the impact of environment on behavior and learning. He surveyed his peers at Castle to determine what should go into the design of an engaging learning space for high school students.
Karen Kimura and Tiffany Yango-Au served as RJ’s faculty advisors for his capstone project. Karen said, “RJ’s personal growth and victories represented the kind of learning that happens when a student is set free to pursue his own quest for knowledge. His achievement exemplifies what happens when we get outside our four walls and our students work alongside the community.”
RJ is majoring in architecture at USC and hopes that his senior project design will someday be more than a sketch on paper.
Kiani Ballao, a recent graduate of Castle High School, has a younger brother who was diagnosed with autism. Her concern for her brother’s welfare fueled her desire to research this disorder for her senior project. She learned the Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT) that targets broad areas of a child’s development, as opposed to improving specific behaviors. According to Autism Speaks, Inc., PRT focuses on “the development of communication, language and positive social behaviors and relief from disruptive self-stimulatory behaviors. The philosophy is that, by targeting these critical areas, PRT will produce broad improvements across other areas of sociability, communication, behavior and academic skill building.”
Applying PRT strategies, Kiana assisted her brother with daily tasks, such as eating and drinking to help him develop skills he needs throughout his life. After working with her brother for six months, she noticed marked improvement in his verbal communication skills. Her research and work with her brother has inspired Kiana to pursue a possible career in helping other children with similar disorders. She is continuing her education at the University of Hawaii at Manoa where she is pursuing studies in Psychology and Communication Science Disorders to further her learning.
Rachel Wong, a student at Castle High School, researched and developed a dance and musical theater program for elementary students at Kaneohe Elementary School for her senior project. She taught classes with two other instructors three times a week for six weeks. The young students learned how to sing, dance, and perform which helped them to develop their confidence in communication skills. At the end of the school year, Rachel directed a student showcase in which the youngsters performed to popular songs, such as “Getting to Know You,” “Part of Your World,” and “Play My Music.” Students, who were typically reserved, were inspired to display their talents through the performing arts.
According to Karen Kimura, one of the senior project teachers, “Rachel basically created her own little performing arts class. She did most of the legwork by arranging a class after school at Kaneohe Elementary. The magnitude and scope of what Rachel took on was stellar. She designed this project and chose to do this while maintaining a packed senior year including being the lead in the school spring production. She had the perfect mentor in Allan Lau, one of our teachers and a theater pro.”
By creating this capstone project, Rachel discovered her own passion for teaching musical theater to elementary school children. As a result, she is majoring in both areas at Ithaca College in New York.