This Saturday, May 11, Punana Leo o Waimea, along with ‘Alo Kehau o Ka ‘Aina Mauna, will be hosting Ho’ola, a free concert from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Kahilu Town Hall, across the road from Kahilu Theatre in Waimea. The event features Waimea’s finest Hawaiian entertainers, cultural demonstrations, keiki games, crafts, food and a silent auction.
Ho’ola is a fundraiser for ʻAlo Kehau o Ka ʻAina Mauna, a new and rapidly expanding public charter school in Waimea. ‘Alo Kehau, which currently offers grades K-2, is a satellite campus of Nawahiokalani’opu’u School in Keaau, one of the most successful indigenous language medium programs in the country. With plans to expand the school by one grade level each coming academic year, ʻAlo Kehau and Punana Leo o Waimea hope to make the Ho’ola concert an annual event, raising money for the school and awareness in the community about Hawaiian language programs.
Punana Leo o Waimea began in 1995 and has been a steady and successful option for families seeking rigorous, culturally based curriculum through Hawaiian language medium education. ʻAlo Kehau, which opened in the fall of 2010, has played a critical role in maintaining an option for educating Kohala, Waimea, and Hamakua area elementary age children in the native tongue of Hawaii. The support of the surrounding community is a key factor in ensuring the continuation of a Hawaiian language program for residents of South Kohala and the surrounding areas.
The Punana Leo mission, E Ola Ka ʻOlelo Hawaii – the Hawaiian Language Shall Live — is being realized in the state of Hawaii and throughout the world. When the movement began, there were fewer than 50 native speaking students under the age of 18. Today, more than 10,000 people speak Hawaiian. But, despite being an official language of the state, Hawaiian is still considered an endangered language. Schools like ‘Alo Kehau in Waimea seek to ensure the preservation and normalization of Hawaiian as a living language in the state of Hawaii.
The vision of ‘Alo Kehau is “No ‘Ane’i Ko Kakou Ola,” or “We Are of This Place.” within that statement is the idea that meaningfulness in life is measured by ones contributions to the quality and standard of life in Hawaii. ‘Alo Kehau is a place where Hawaiian language and culture thrive in a living community of families.
All proceeds from Ho’ola will go toward erecting a building to house the upper elementary students at ‘Alo Kehau, who now share a building with Punana Leo o Waimea preschool. For inquiries or to support the program, please contact Maluhia O’Donnell at 885-7166.