It was an exciting day in the gym today when four HPA seniors signed their National Letters of Intent. Each senior was surrounded by friends and family and presented with leis in celebration of this momentous occasion and incredible achievement.
HPA faculty member Zeke Knight captured the Ka Makani (the wind of Waimea) by starting this annual tradition that reverberates through the hearts, minds, and spirits of our students, alumni, and community.
Olympics involves the entire Upper School participating in over 100 competitive events including the Hawaii Food Bank food drive, sidewalk chalk art, THE Wall, makahiki games, Red Cross Penny Wars, tree planting, sand sculpture, Zephyr writing competition, paintball, zumba, kendama, whiffle ball, lei making, archery, etc. culminating in a raucous LipSync and stunning Talent Show.
Every year, just as the rainy spring season concludes and summer jumps forth, HPA celebrates its mighty seniors as they move into the world. On a warm Friday morning over 1,000 people pack into Castle Gymnasium to watch as the soon-to-be graduates celebrate their last time together as a class. The graduates are dressed in white, with maile leis on the men and white orchid flower leis on the heads of the women. All the students are barefoot.
The gym itself is beautifully decorated with flowers and plants from around the island. While the ceremonies feature the usual awarding of diplomas, speeches, and celebration, HPA’s ceremony is unique in that it brings the rich culture of Hawaii to an age old practice. HPA’s graduation ceremonies feature three hulas and one class song. The class song is all in Hawaiian and is directed by one of the seniors of the class. The hulas feature one coed hula, one men’s hula, and one women’s hula. These hula are given as a gift to their mentors, family, and all others who supported them through their time at HPA.
After the very unique commencement ceremonies, students and families gather outside the gym to congratulate each other. By the end of the morning each new alumnus is covered to the top of their head in leis.