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Parker School hosts ceremonies for new flagpoles

On Dec. 12, Parker School hosted dedication ceremonies for two new flagpoles it received as a donation from community member and Parker grandparent Woodson Woods. One flagpole stands in front of the main school building on the upper campus and the other in the middle of the lower school’s circular driveway.

As a nod to the school’s main building and theater, serving the Marines of Waimea’s Camp Tarawa between 1943-45, Marine Sgt. Robert Strickland (also senior vice commandant and chairman and CEO of the Camp Tarawa Foundation) was asked to play the bugle during the ceremony.

Kathy Painton, Camp Tarawa sergeant-at-arms, public affairs officer and chair of Camp Tarawa Docents, also attended the event. The middle and upper school students closed their ceremony chanting Malana Mai, the chant written by Queen Emma, and now a portion of which is being practiced by Big Island schools to unite the island’s communities.

Woods, a Navy veteran and patriot, thinks it is important for young people to understand what the United States flag represents and hopes his gift conveys that importance.

“The important thing is to remember the heritage of our country, particularly the representative icons, the most important of which is the American flag,” he said. “(The students) have to remember where the flag is coming from. The flag represents the United States of America, and in turn, represents the younger generations coming up through the ranks to study and understand (our heritage).”

Headmaster Sturges said, “While we’ve always flown the American and Hawaii state flags, they’ve been rather small and just attached to the front porch,” said Headmaster Sturges. “These new flagpoles are a great indication of how much we value our country and our state. Mr. Woods has really gone above and beyond with his generous gift.”

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