The 2019 May Day celebration was held on May 3 in the gymnasium and is still resonating in the minds and the hearts of our school 'ohana. This year's theme was He Lei no 'Emalani – A Lei for Emma and it was the first May Day celebration under the direction and choreography of Kumu Ka'ilihiwa Vaughan. The gym was adorned with beautiful lei, flowers and greenery which produced a fragrant and visually spectacular experience for those in attendance.
Kumu Hiwa worked tirelessly in leading students through weeks of practice to create a beautifully choreographed performance for parents, grandparents, family and friends, faculty and staff and those watching via the event's first Facebook livestream. Each grade level performed a hula and the whole student body performed several nā mele. The Priory's Hui Hau'oli and Choir also graced the audience with stunning performances. Keao Costa, Jeff AuHoy and Po'okela Wood played music for the event and Kandace Andrade served as a guest ho'opa'a.
Kumu Hiwa did all this while also preparing for the 56th Annual Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo April 21-27. She directed her halau – Hālau Hula Ke Lehua Tuahine – in the kahiko and 'auana portions of the event and also prepared one of her students to perform in the Miss Aloha Hula competition.
"We are so thankful for Kumu Hiwa and the incredible work that she did to make this May Day amazing," Upper School Principal Nichole Field said. "We could feel the school's pride rise in the weeks leading up to May Day, and it culminated in what our families experienced on that day."
The event got underway with the introduction of each of the eight Hawaiian islands by The Priory's Lower School Principal Ka'ipo Bailey-Walsh. Mrs. Bailey-Walsh gave a brief description of each island's unique history as she introduced its princess – escorted by her father and pa'akāhili – and finally, the queen.
This year's May Day court consisted of:
Queen Kennedy Kamaile Hanohano '19, mother Bonnie U'ilani Hanohano, father Quincy Kaleo Hanohano and pa'akāhili Kahāolamaika'iolani Kauka '26 and Sienna-Navai Dung '26
Kaho'olawe princess Kara Leiko Sau Fung Ho '21, father Clinton Ho and pa'akāhili Maya Galvez '26
Ni'ihau princess Maya Alexandra Reid '20, father David Reid and pa'akāhili Katelyn Hirata '26
Lāna'i princess Alexia Danielle Santa Monica Saad '19, father Daniel Saad and pa'akāhili Sierra Lee '26
Moloka'i princess Acey Ulalia Reyes '19, father Clement Reyes and pa'akāhili Siara Sam '26
Kaua'i princess Kira Nawaianuhea Keiki Terada '20, father Alan Terada and pa'akāhili Liliana Brandt '26
O'ahu princess Shaye YuXin Nishimura '20, father Robin Nishimura and pa'akāhili Ami Yakumaru '26
Maui princess Hypatia Akary Pine '19, father Ronald Pine, Ph.D. and pa'akāhili Amara Landgraf '26
Hawai'i princess Skylin Michiko Alohilani Tokashiki '19, grandfather Vaughn Tokashiki and pa'akāhili Ariella Lima '26
One of the many highlights of the event came toward the end when the entire student body, including faculty and staff, gathered in the center of the gymnasium to perform "'Ōiwi Ē." The number received a roar of cheers and standing ovations and a plethora of social media engagement.
A new component to this year's performance was the unveiling of new hula costumes, which were part of Kumu Hiwa's vision for the school. She led a school-wide fundraiser to replenish and revive the look of May Day. Hālau Hula Ka Lehua Tuahine selected and prepared the costumes for the grand debut during the performance.
Photos from this picture-perfect day are now available on our school's SmugMug. You can also relive this year's performances by watching our YouTube highlight video, Facebook livestream, and highlight videos on our Lower Schools and Upper School Facebook parent pages.
This year's May Day celebration took dedication and commitment from all involved, and was one Queen Emma would have certainly enjoyed as it embodied her school's vision for students to Kūlia i ka Nu'u – Strive for the Highest.