For Waimea Middle School, May Day is a time to bring together the community and to honor kupuna.
This year’s theme, “E ola mau na leo na kupuna,” or “The voices of the kupuna live,” highlighted the importance of the wisdom of elders to the school and to the entire community.
About 450 people attended the evening event on May 9 at Thelma Parker gym that also featured performances from the Waimea Hawaiian Civic Club, Waimea Elementary, Parker School, Hawaii Preparatory Academy, Waimea Middle School K Arts program, Alo Kehau o ka Aina Mauna, Kanu o Ka Aina and Honokaa High School, as well as performances by Waimea Middle School students.
“This year, our May Day theme celebrates the voices of the past as they connect to the present and strengthen our foundation to the future,” said Pua Case, WMS ‘Ike Hawaii resource teacher, who served as one of the emcees.
This year’s WMS court members chose an influential kupuna in their lives to honor. Their words were read during each court member’s introduction.
WMS’s queen, Harleigh Lindsey, selected her great grandmother, Mary Ann Pua’iliau Bell Lindsey. She wrote that the elder Lindsey always took care of them by making sure they had jackets, and she would use kind words with everyone.
Keawe’iwi Pilayo, WMS king, said he chose to honor his grandfather, Christopher Keawe’iwi Pilayo, because he was always positive and would say, “Beautiful, beautiful. Couldn’t be better.”
Hawaii Island princess, Kuileipualilia Aikau, honored her grandfather Solomon Naiono Aikau III.
“I will always remember my grandfather saying, ‘Pay attention in school because it will lead you to success in the future,’” she wrote in her tribute.
Hawaii Island escort, Christian Jerico Tablit, selected Elena Aggalut Aleste. He said she would say to him every day, “God bless you.”
Cianni Kekahuna, the princess representing Maui, honored her grandmother, Judy Rae Manley. The WMS eighth grader wrote that the most important thing Manley ever said to her was, “Work hard for the things you enjoy doing.”
Maui escort, Asher Robertson, honored Barbara Tepa Phillips Robertson, who he said encourages hard work and telling the truth. Her advice to him is, “Sloth hath no merit.”
Oahu princess McKella Spencer selected her grandmother, Cynthia Marie Pi’ilani Rodriques-Spencer, who the student said loved them all and told them, “Take care, drive safely home and God bless.”
Roland Afaga Jr., her escort, honored his mother, Vilma Afaga, whom he said sets a good example for him.
“Be the best man that you can be someday and help your sister no matter what,” he said his mother tells him.
Maya Gee, Kauai princess, honored her grandmother, Priscilla Liane Xu Hua Hsu, who tells her, “Cherish personal relationships and have respect for your elders.”
Kauai escort Jeren Soriano honored his mother, Jenalyn Din Valdez, who gives him the advice, “Work hard and you will achieve.”
Molokai princess, Kayla Gray, honored Kansei Miyagi, her grandfather, who taught her, “What you do on the inside will eventually show on the outside. However you treat others is a reflection of how you see yourself.”
Molokai escort, Ryan Hooley, honored his grandfather, Lyle Hooley. The young Hooley said his grandfather always encourages them to be happy, and he tries to cheer up anyone who needs it.
Lanai princess, Emma Saito, selected her grandmother, Miriam Saito. The student wrote that her grandmother blesses all the newborn family members – passing down her blessings to all generations.
Easton Chong honored his grandmother, Emmy U’ilani Bertlemann. He said she used to say, “Oh my gooshness” when people didn’t behave or wouldn’t listen to her.
Kaho’olawe princess, Carrie Alaimo, honored her grandmother, Ida Ingeburg Kauilani Hermanson. She would tell her, “Be kind and loving in your thoughts, words and actions because your thoughts will become your actions.”
Dennis Huddy-Moody, Kaho’olawe escort, chose his grandmother, Charlotte Diane Puanani Cavaco, who he said is a model to others by living out, “Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you.”
Niihau princess Celeste Souza honored Alice Bernadette Santana, who she said always blesses her.
Spencer Hess, Niihau escort, selected his grandmother, Antoinette Jessica Hess, who tells him, “Stay in school and respect everyone.”
For the first time ever, the northwest Hawaiian Islands were represented in the WMS court in the evening program. Also on the WMS court was Taylor Lewi representing Nihoa, Rayna Willis representing Mokumananana, Ariana Velsaco representing Moku Papapa, Johnna Marsh for Kauo, Antonette Fernandez for Pihemanu and Baylie Horn for Holaniku. Waimea Middle School also recognized members of the Hokulea who are part of the worldwide voyage.
At the end of the ceremony, as a tribute to the people of the school’s past, former kings, queens and court members from all classes were brought together for a photo, filling the staging area.
“This evening truly is an example of how this program belongs to the community and the school, serving to further bring us all together in unity,” Case said.
The school also had an earlier performance the same day for students, family and the community.