Students Stop ʻŌnipaʻa Procession With Oli
Students Stop ʻŌnipaʻa Procession With Oli
Anela Akana

On January 17, all students from The Prep and The Priory, along with a few faculty and staff, stood on the lawn of The Cathedral of St. Andrew facing Beretania Street to show support of those marching in the ʻŌnipaʻa Kākou procession to commemorate the 127th anniversary of the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom. "It was so important for our keiki to make the connection," says Kumu Kaʻilihiwa Vaughan, who organized and led our school in this effort. "The history of Hawaiʻi is certainly a part of who we are today and who we will be in the future. Acknowledging these important moments promotes awareness and growth in the hearts of our keiki."

The procession started at the Royal Mausoleum and ended at the State Capitol where 2,000 demonstrators rallied. Our school stood on the side, waving and cheering for the procession. Students stood proud and raised their voices to offer their gift of oli – chanting "Eō Ke Kuini" – the procession stopped, turned to the students and listened, giving their full attention. Voices of The Prep and The Priory came together as one. The sweet melody of their voices rose up and seemed to travel far, echoing off the high-rise buildings of Downtown and through its busy thoroughfares. The words and meaning of the oli embraced each heart and in those few moments, Queen Emma's love and compassion was felt by those standing at attention. The procession seemed to be moved – tears flowed from the eyes of many – when the oli was finished, the crowed responded, "Eō!"

Those who were there to witness this exchange between the groups felt its power, but its reach went beyond that of Downtown. The students' participation in the march caught a lot of attention online – the school's social media platforms got triple the reach of audience on the videos and posts relating to the oli exchange and many of those who were in the procession captured the moment on video and posted it to their online accounts, commenting that it was a "chicken-skin moment."

"St. Andrew's carries the memories of Hawaiʻi's history," says Vaughan. "The voices of our students were felt and heard throughout the Lāhui, reminding all that the the heart of Queen Emma and St. Andrew's is still here, forever connected to this ʻĀina."

To see video, click here.

To see more photos, click here.