Hoʻohaʻaheo Newsletter, May 24


Our monthly online publication to highlight bright spots from across the public school system. This This issue closes out the 2022-23 school year with a special message from Superintendent to the Class of 2023.

May 24

Editorial Mission: As the Department's primary publication, we aim to live up to the meaning of ha‘aheo – to cherish with pride – by bolstering and sustaining pride in public education and touting the successes happening across our system.

Editor’s Note: This issue closes out the 2022-23 school year. Have a great summer break!

As we close this school year, I want to extend my heartfelt congratulations to our Class of 2023 graduates and their families! You each have the power to impact our community, our islands and our world for the better, and we look forward — with so much hope and pride — to all of the phenomenal things you will accomplish in the future.

I also want to express my deep appreciation for all of our teachers, counselors, administrators, and support staff who have tirelessly guided and encouraged our students throughout their journey. The Hawaiian concept of neʻepapa reminds us that this journey has been a collaborative endeavor, with the common goal of equipping our students with the skills necessary for their future aspirations, whether it be venturing directly into the workforce, pursuing higher education, joining the military, or exploring other paths they envision for themselves.

I’ve had the privilege of attending several graduation ceremonies over the past two weeks, and witnessing the immense pride and sense of accomplishment in our students has been truly inspiring. Get a glimpse of some of the excitement and pomp and circumstance in the highlight video from our Communications Branch below. Once again, congratulations to all our graduates!


We asked some outstanding graduates of the Class of 2023 to complete the sentence below.

"The best thing that happened to me this school year was __________.”

" ...planning and implementing an awesome Homecoming with no restrictions with my Associated Students of Mililani High School (ASMHS) team. It was an indescribable feeling to see the student body and faculty enjoy the old traditions that had not been seen since prior to the pandemic. Trojan Nation felt united and the whole week was truly a memorable one."

»Emma Olsson is a 2023 Mililani High graduate. She was the ASMHS president, a national competitive gymnast and Top Female Citizen Scholar Award recipient. Emma plans to attend Lafayette College as a Marquis Fellow and will double major in biology and English. She hopes to attend medical school on the East Coast before returning to Hawai‘i to work as a surgeon.

" ...the OHE Summit 2023 that I participated in as a panelist. I and two other panelists shared our own experiences and insight on cultural responsibility in front of hundreds of people. I learned a whole lot and became more aware of the things that are happening in Hawai‘i from this panel and I’m glad I had this opportunity to represent Moloka‘i, my community, my ‘ohana and my culture."

»Nāʻiwa Pescaia is a 2023 Molokaʻi High graduate. He is the son of Keoki and Mikiʻala Pescaia. Nāʻiwa plans to attend UH Maui College at the Moloka‘i Educational Center to earn his core credits. He hopes to then apply to an art program to further develop his skills in animation and dreams of one day interning at Dreamworks.

" ...accepting the opportunity of becoming Mililani High’s Senate chairperson. Having this opportunity has helped me gain skills like public speaking, confidence, organization and working with many students, panelists and adults."

»Kaiya Endo is a 2023 Mililani High graduate. In addition to student government, she was on the school’s bowling team and was part of the Chinese Club. She will attend Oregon State University and major in civil engineering and plans to come home to Hawai‘i to work at a local firm and give back to her community.

Student Spotlight

As we start to close out this school year, this section is dedicated to highlighting outstanding student achievements and accomplishments.

» Nine HIDOE juniors received the Gen. Eric K. Shinseki Award for Outstanding Leadership and Character, recognizing excellence, performance and potential in academics, athletics, community service, citizenship and leadership.

» Four Hilo High student-athletes on the Lady Vikings softball team made the grade as valedictorians.

» Highlands Intermediate placed 12th overall out of 60 teams at the 2023 Science Olympiad National Tournament in Wichita, Kansas, and earned medals in anatomy and physiology, bio process lab, and rocks and minerals.

» Shandette Namulauti is Nānākuli High and Intermediate’s first graduate to receive her high school diploma and her Associate of Arts degree through the school’s Early College Program.

» 19 Kauaʻi High graduates received $76,000 in scholarships from the Kaua‘i High School Foundation.

» 25 Waimea High graduating seniors received $41,500 in scholarships from the Waimea Alumni and Friends Foundation.

National Children’s Mental Health Acceptance Month

May is Children’s Mental Health Awareness Month. Each week we’ll be highlighting different resources and strategies centered around mental health for students and families to use.

Lāhainā Intermediate was recognized as a Here to HELP ambassador school for its efforts in certifying staff and increasing the available network of supportive adults. Trained Here to HELP adults are better equipped to engage in conversations regarding overall well-being and identify students who might be in need of mental health assistance.

Mental Health America of Hawai‘i aims to promote mental health and wellness for all ages through education, advocacy, service, and access to care. Get connected with online resources, online training or additional information and activities at https://mentalhealthhawaii.org/get-connected/.

For free, 24/7 crisis support, text ALOHA to 741741 to reach a crisis counselor via the Crisis Text Line or call, text or chat 988 to reach Hawaiʻi CARES for free crisis, mental health and substance abuse support.

Important Dates and
Upcoming Events

  • May 26 - 4th Quarter/2nd Semester Ends
  • May 26 - Last Day for Students
  • May 29 - Holiday: Memorial Day
  • May 30 - Last Day for Teachers

Community Query

We asked on Twitter and Instagram...

What’s your fave grad tradition?

HIDOE Headlines

A roundup of announcements, resources and shoutouts.

» The Department’s action plan to implement new approaches to accelerate student learning under the Board of Education’s six-year strategic plan has been approved.

» Congratulations to Sunset Beach Elementary science teacher Laura Cummings, who is among 10 teachers from eight states selected to participate in the prestigious National STEM Scholar Program.

» Hawaiʻi Marine Animal Response worked with students at Walkīkī Elementary School to gift Kaiwi the monk seal’s new pup a Hawaiian name.


Keith Hayashi


Heidi Armstrong

Deputy Superintendent

Curt Otaguro

Deputy Superintendent

Tammi Oyadomari-Chun
Deputy Superintendent


Sean Bacon
Talent Management
Brian Hallett
Fiscal Services
Annie Kalama
Student Support Services
Randall Tanaka
Facilities and Operations

Christine Shaw

Information Technology Services

Cara Tanimura

Strategy, Innovation and Performance

Teri Ushijima

Curriculum and Instructional Design



Nanea Kalani

Executive Editor

Chanel Honda

Managing Editor

Sara Miyazono
Creative Director

Derek Inoshita

Contributing Writer

Krislyn Yano

Contributing Writer



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Email: newsletter@k12.hi.us

Contact Information

Communications Branch

Phone: (808) 784-6200

Email: doeinfo@k12.hi.us

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