Chaminade students in Dr. Brooke Carlson’s EN102 courses serve as role models, motivators, and mentors for Mrs. Mary Ann Akamine’s English classes at Kaimuki High School. Mentors help teens to improve vocabulary and sentence structure. They also support progress on reading and writing assignments. Common goals for Chaminade and Kaimuki students are self-expression, skills-building and successful performances at our signature events.
Each fall, Chaminade hosts our signature event on Sullivan Library Lawn. This special Poetry Festival is broadcasted on Chaminade Radio. As hosts and mentors, EN102 students also give Kaimuki students an engaging tour of Chaminade’s campus, prior to the poetry readings.
Each spring, Kaimuki High School hosts their signature event in their Kaimuki High School auditorium. This Shakespeare Festival features a modern, local interpretation of a different Shakespeare play each year.
Chaminade and Kaimuki collaborate on both events, and the campus communities are invited to attend.
Awesome Experience, Amazing Festival
Reflection by EN102 student Hiʻilani Alina-Kamark
Hearing “service,” people probably think of “community service,” which reminds some of us of feelings of obligation, or pain, from high school clubs and sports teams. However, the service-learning project that we Chaminade students participated in with Kaimuki High School students was vastly different from these high-school service memories. There was, for starters, no heavy lifting or getting dirty.
The annual Poetry Festival was a strikingly different experience of service that allowed me to communicate and interact with Kaimuki High School students while also making a difference.
This Poetry Festival is the finale for a semester’s worth of service-learning. It represents a collaboration between Dr. Brooke Carlson’s two Chaminade English 102 sections and Mrs. Mary Ann Akamine’s 10th-, 11th-, and 12th-grade Kaimuki High School classes. During the course of the semester, CUH students each spent six sessions mentoring, tutoring, teaching, and assisting in the KHS classrooms. This Service-Learning project affords Chaminade a chance to build a bridge between a local high school and a college whose very mission is service. To that end, this year’s Poetry Festival started with campus tours. The campus tour was, at first, a daunting task considering I would have to talk to students, and who knows what they’ll think – they might think I’m weird or something along those lines. That feeling soon disappeared once the tour began. By stepping out of my comfort zone to have a conversation with them, I felt at ease with them doing the same. They were able to ask me questions and being a group allowed for both sides, the tour guides and the students, to open up a bit more to each other.
The festival itself was also amazing – there were a lot of students, Kaimuki and Chaminade, who were there not only to share their poems, but also to support each other. People screamed and cheered as the poets were invited to the mic, creating a friendly and accepting atmosphere. Personally, it was really easy to connect with the Kaimuki students. It was only a few months ago that I was a high school student, so talking to them as a college student made me feel a lot older than I really am. We were able to connect with each other, partly because we are so close in age.
Overall, this service event really pushed me out of my comfort zone to do what I would normally shy away from. Being a freshman, it is a scary feeling to be on a new campus again and to experience finding new friends and people I can rely on. This culminating event showed me the camaraderie that our EN102 class had built; so many of us showed up to give tours, read our poetry, and support our mentees from Kaimuki. It was an experience that opened my eyes. There are amazing high school students just down the street and amazing opportunities to serve. The Poetry Festival happens every November, and we’d love to see you there next year.