The Priory and The Prep Lower School students were bustling with excitement from the moment they stepped on to campus the morning of November 16. Returning students knew the significance of the day from last year and new students were ready to experience the fifth annual Nā Kūpuna Day, a highly anticipated tradition on campus.
"I thought it was a beautiful event for all of our Lower School and The Prep families to celebrate the special people in our keiki's lives – our kupuna – who take care of our children, nurture them, inspire them and help contribute to their education in so many ways," said The Priory's Lower School Principal Ka'ipo Bailey-Walsh, who founded the event in 2014.
The early morning was spent with the program's entertainment directors – Kumu Hiwa, Stanton Haugen and Nora Oyama-Haugen – running through the numerous songs, dances and hula numbers one last time before kupuna started to ascend on to campus.
Upon arrival, the honored guests were treated to valet parking service at the front of the school. The kupuna were greeted by School Nurse Deborah Devine-Sherman, Admissions Assistant Rachel Seton and Admission Director Stephanie Jones at the registration table. As guests made their way back to the Lower School to the event's stage, they were welcomed by the school's faculty and staff, including Bailey-Walsh, The Prep Principal Winston Sakurai and Head of School Ruth Fletcher.
The crowd quickly reached a total of 400 guests, who joined parents, students, teachers and staff under the tent for the day's main event – entertainment.
The entertainment lineup started with an 'oli led by Upper School students, and then Lower School students in third through fifth grades took the stage to entertain their grandparents. The boys and girls came together for many of the numbers. Songs and dances included "Mele Kino," "Lili'u E" and "Ha'aheo." While the older elementary students were performing, the younger ones enjoyed a catered local-style lunch with their special guests in the courtyard.
Between grade level performances, After School Care delighted the crowd with numerous hip-hop numbers that got the audience moving in their seats. When it was their turn to perform, students in kindergarten through second grade dazzled the audience with their renditions of songs and dances including "Sassy Little Mynah Bird," "Thankful Song" and "A Gift to You."
After the entertainment portion of the day, students accompanied their grandparents around campus for various fun-filled activities. Among the choices were the Scholastic Book Fair, keepsake pictures, printmaking craft, yoga, bingo, a garden walk and art gallery walk. Guests were also seen eagerly checking the Lower School's office door to see if they were a lucky winner of one of the many wonderful door prizes, including centerpieces, chocolate truffles, cookies, and homemade okoshi.
"One of the most inspiring moments of the event was watching the Upper School girls perform the 'oli," said Bailey-Walsh. "It was a chicken skin moment for me and many of our guests because it allowed the families to see the path to Upper School for their daughter and what a beautiful experience it will be!"
This year's event was made possible by many caring faculty and staff, including the Business Office team, Maintenance Office team, Admissions Office team, Marketing and Communications Office team, Lower School team, the Parent Teacher Fellowship (PTF), parent volunteers, Elite Parking, Milani Restaurant, Steven Yamaki Photography and Cait Schlabach Photography.