How Are the Students Doing? – Interview with Kuʻulei ’21 & Kapua ’24 Rudolph
Megan Dung

From unexpectedly switching to online classes to missing their friends and teachers, how are the students doing? We sat down with Kuʻulei ’21 and Kapua ’24 Rudolph to talk about their experience at St. Andrew’s so far this school year. The sisters have attended The Priory since 2015 and their spirits are as high as ever and their perseverance continues on.

How was the transition to online classes and what did you miss about having in-person classes?

Kuʻulei: It was odd for sure. It’s a whole new experience because you’re used to moving around during the day and suddenly, you’re at home, on the computer. During breaks, we weren’t able to hang out with our friends. Thankfully, I had my sister to hang out with. Learning online does not have the same energy as when you are in-person. You can’t relate or discuss anything in the same manner that in-person instruction provides but I’m glad that we were still able to have classes because I know some kids from other schools were doing distance learning and hardly ever saw their friends and teachers.

Kapua: I agree that it was definitely odd. Not having the same “going-to-school” routine took some getting used to too.

How was the quality of instruction online vs. in-person?

Kuʻulei: Online learning felt more fast-paced than I was normally used to but I got used to it. When we were in-person, it was easier to ask for help or discuss things being said in class. When we were only on Zoom, there was less interaction between us students. Even if we were in breakout sessions with our friends, it still wasn’t the same thing as when we were in-person.

Kapua: Like Kuʻulei said before, it was weird being on a break between classes and just shutting your computer, compared to being on a break and getting to socialize, talk, and eat snacks with our friends. When we would tell our parents about our day, we never had much to share because it was just about class and not as much about how our friends were doing, or even funny little things that would happen with our friends throughout the day.

Kuʻulei: We’ve been back in-person at school for about a month now and coming back to school was great… but also so different than what we’ve been used to. We can’t be physically close with our friends anymore. All of the desks are six feet apart and when we work on group projects or ask for help, there is always distance between us. I also can’t hear anybody (with masks on)! Still, I’m glad to be back at school and with my friends.

Kapua: Yeah! Choir has also been especially hard since we have to stand ten feet apart from everyone. And half of our choir is doing distance learning on Zoom. It’s important to listen to those around you during choir, so it’s been a challenge with everyone being so far apart and online.

What are you looking forward to in the hopes that this pandemic might be over within the next year or so?

Kuʻulei: I am definitely looking forward to college! I am planning on attending Chaminade University and majoring in Forensic Sciences. When I was looking into the field, I realized it combines everything I love to do. It’s problem solving; it’s science; it’s details…but most of all, it looks like so much fun! I will be at home, which will be nice, but I can’t wait until all of this is over and we can go back to our normal lives. I miss paddling. This 2020-2021 school year was supposed to be the one year that Kapua and I could paddle for The Priory together on the same team. We both love the sport and since paddling is only a high school sport, Kapua and I were looking forward to one year of doing it together. Once the pandemic is over, I’m hoping we can still experience that even if I am graduated. 

Kapua: I am looking forward to truly “starting high school.” I feel like my eighth grade and ninth grade years were somewhat blended together, since we ended last year online and started this year online. I canʻt wait to actually be in high school.

Kuʻulei, as a junior last year, looking forward to your Ascension Day, how did you feel about all of the changes that took place to make that St. Andrew’s tradition possible?

Kuʻulei: Unfortunately the transition to online learning came during the spring of last year, which was when our class was supposed to have our traditional Ascension Day ceremony in May. I was looking forward to celebrating that day with the entire school, as well as friends, family, and alumnae, but that could not and did not happen due to COVID-19 until October of this school year. My class is resilient and rolled with the punches. We made plans, then back-up plans for those plans, and back-up plans for those back-up plans. The process for Ascension Day usually begins around November, then the actual ceremony takes place in May. But for us, we started planning in November of last year and finally had our ceremony – a year later. Everything seemed to prevent us from experiencing the special tradition that our class looked forward to for so long, but we did it and were able to celebrate Ascension Day in our own way.

Mahalo, Kuʻulei and Kapua, for sharing your back-to-school experiences with us!