On April 4-5, Parker’s Upper and Middle School students took part in Interim, a two-day period of focused experiential learning activities. This year the students chose from several on and off-campus experiences: a teaching internship at Parker Lower School; two-day studio music recording session; working in the school garden; exploring Kealakekua and Pu‘uhonua o Honaunau; scuba diving; hiking; exploring careers in medicine and forensics; writing on location (how setting impacts writing); martial arts and self defense; a marine biology experience on Oahu; photography and film; sewing, and theater design and set construction.
The group that traveled and explored Kealakekua and Pu‘uhonua o Honaunau with science teacher Mindy Higgins and English teacher Kiyoshi Najita returned to campus full of energy and excited about their off-campus adventure. They learned about Hawaiian history and culture at Pu‘uhonua o Honaunau and focused on fun team-building activities at Kealakekua. Higgins said, “We had a great time! Our group rocked … . They learned really how to be together, work together, and enjoy each other’s company. We played group games (in which) everyone succeeded.”
Another group took a martial arts and self-defense workshop with Parker School’s Technology Director Eric Dela Rosa, who holds a black belt in Chinese Kempo. Students learned everything from blocking attacks to defending themselves with Sharpie pens to breaking bricks with their hands and wooden boards with their heads. Several of the students completely surprised themselves when they were able to break a brick or board.
“Sew Awesome” was the name of the sewing class led by science department chair Patricia Kassis and math department chair Amanda Dewey. Students learned how to thread and use a sewing machine and learned how to add “bling” to garments by hand sewing. On the first day, the students sewed baby blankets to donate to newborns in North Hawaii Community Hospital’s (NHCH) Family Birthing Unit. Several of them embroidered designs or messages such as “sleep well” or “sweet dreams” onto the blankets. Sixth grader Sara Mundon said, “This is a wonderful experience knowing that you were sewing a blanket that a child would grow up loving.”
On the morning of the second day, the sewing teachers and students delivered all the blankets they made to NHCH, presenting them to Registered Nurse Diana Leaf and NHCH Communications Coordinator Krista Anderson. Anderson said, “The donation is very meaningful to our hospital and patients. It’s great to see kids in our community get so involved to support their local hospital and we appreciate all that Parker School does to support us!”
Parker School’s Interim happens every two years, alternating with Art Start, which allows students to focus completely on one form of art for two days. Both programs give students the opportunity to take a break from the usual school schedule and immerse themselves in something about which they are already passionate or to go beyond their comfort zones and explore something entirely new.
Senior Lauren Sweere stretched her comfort zone and was one of the first to break a brick in the martial arts class. She said, “[I thought] there’s no way on earth I’m going to be able to do it …. and I broke it on my first time which was exhilarating and also really surprising considering that it’s at least two inches thick and it’s stone, so it’s kind of scary. But it was so much fun and it really shows how much strength your body can hold….it was an amazing feeling.”
For more information, please visit www.parkerschool.net.