HONOLULU - Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi and Hawaii State Board of Education members today joined education leaders from public and private sectors in signifying their shared support for and participation with the Polynesian Voyaging Society's (PVS's) Worldwide Voyage.
Representatives from early childhood to higher education institutions gathered at the Marine Education and Training Center on Oahu's Sand Island to sign a memorandum of understanding in support of community based and sustainable education aligned with the PVS's voyaging canoes Hokulea and sister vessel Hikianalia. Titled "Promise to Children," the MOU states in part that, "We will transform our schools, empower youthful voices, and accept the responsibility of Malama Honua. We believe that by inspiring children to explore, discover and learn about Island Earth, they will navigate the future of humanity toward vitality, renewal, and compassion."
"We are ... excited that we can make the claim that Hawaii is with us," said master navigator Nainoa Thompson. He said the Hokulea, in preparation for its Worldwide Voyage, has hosted more than 20,000 school children and community members while visiting ports across the Islands.
Over the next 48 months, the Worldwide Voyage will sail 49,000 nautical miles, visiting 26 countries and 85 ports while sharing Hawaii's culture with the world. Educators are collaborating on curriculum aligned with Worldwide Voyage activities. Students will be able to embark on a virtual educational journey and participate via various technology channels and the Internet.
"This voyage not only offers lessons about world exploration and Hawaiian navigation but also the cultivation of aloha and valued Hawaiian traditions," said Superintendent Matayoshi. "We are excited to be a partner in this educational endeavor and will build upon the knowledge over the course of the next four years. We are grateful to the Polynesian Voyaging Society for including our public school students and teachers in this mission."
While the vessels are not slated to depart Hawaii until May 2014, plans for the Worldwide Voyage are already changing the lives of children such as Daniel Corpuz, who has been visiting the Hokulea as part of an educational program.
"It was only natural that I fell in love with PVS," he said about growing up near the ocean in Waianae. He said the program has engaged students with culturally relevant, hands-on learning and will help change negative stereotypes on the Leeward Coast. "As they are judging, we are learning," Corpuz added.
Follow along with the educational program on the Polynesian Voyaging Society's website at hokulea.org.
The Hawaii State Department of Education is the ninth largest U.S. school district and the only statewide educational system in the country. It is comprised of 288 schools and serves more than 185,000 students. To learn more about the Department, its goals and vision for success, visit HawaiiPublicSchools.org.