Four years ago, educational leaders from Hawai‘i’s K-12, early ed and post-secondary institutions pledged in a “Promise to Children” to accept the responsibility of Mālama Honua (caring for Island Earth) by empowering student agency to answer the pressing needs of a planet that is in crisis.
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.
“Hawai‘i is with us,” said master navigator Nainoa Thompson at the signing of the Promise.
And Hawai‘i is ready to be a voice for what comes next.
The Hōkūle‘a is nearing the end of its global journey to connect communities and help them rethink and engage with one another. Using the skills and knowledge of Polynesians from a millenium ago, who navigated with stars, sun, wind and current, the crews of the wa‘a showed us that solutions to many challenges are rooted in our understanding of the past, in the cultural practices that champion resource management and sustainability, in the kuleana that invigorates leaders and learners to step up and be responsible.
From Lunalilo Elementary to Kailua Intermediate to Kaimukī High, students and educators have answered the call by transforming their classrooms, campuses and community assets into living labs and canvases for deeper understanding of their kuleana, and connected with communities worldwide to share and learn from each other.
As this newsletter is going to press, I’m wrapping up a series of meetings in Raiatea while the Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia are there to ensure our schools continue to collaborate with our Pacific Island ‘ohana, and to see that reflected in our educational outcomes.
We remember that this collaboration is not only about mālama for the ocean, air and land, but mālama for people. We remember the promise to navigate the future of humanity toward vitality, renewal, and compassion.
It is ingrained in the Hawai‘i DOE’s ends policy, Nā Hopena A‘o, to strengthen the sense of belonging, responsibility, excellence, aloha, total well-being, and Hawai‘i among all those who touch our K-12 system.
As we welcome home our beloved Hōkūle‘a, we write the next chapter in this essential story.