LAHAINA -Lahainaluna High School's 44th annual David Malo Day Ho'olaule'a will be held on Saturday, April 12, beginning at 4 p.m. at the historic campus' Boarders' Field.
"Malama Kai" (Protect Our Ocean) is this year's theme, as the oldest public school west of the Rocky Mountains and Hawaii's only state-sanctioned boarding school established in 1831 will once again honor one of its first graduates and cultural patriots, David Malo.
Through selected, thematic songs and dances, the event extols the natural reefs, the deep blue ocean and the marine life that helped sustain our islands.
Lahainaluna High School teachers practice hula for participation in the David Malo Day program.
The sunset pageant features the school's Boarders' Chorus and the Hawaiiana Club, with both organizations also preparing the food for the poi supper that begins at 5 p.m., and then cleaning up the field in the heart of the campus.
The students thus reflect the philosophy that undergirds the organizations: a sense of giving, a sense of sharing and a sense of continuity. They are taught to be the stewards of the legacy
left to us from the host culture, Hawaii.
David Malo Day has its roots deep within the grounds of the campus. The late Jimmie Greig, then a surveyor for Pioneer Mill Company and a football coach at Lahainaluna in the 1960s, is the creator of this time-honored event.
Together with then-Principal Ralph Murakami, Greig designed a ho'olaule'a (celebration) as a venue to teach students the value of giving back to a community that supports the school athletically, academically and socially, and to become contributing members in a global society.
For the small, close-knit community of Lahaina, the event is a representation of the Hawaiian traditions envisioned for Lahainaluna. The co-founders selected Malo, a graduate who went on to become a teacher, superintendent of schools, an entrepreneur, a preacher, an advisor to King Kamehameha III (with whom a democratic constitution was crafted) and author of "Hawaiian Antiquities," one of the first books on the history of Hawaii to be written by a Native Hawaiian.
Upon his request and in recognizing the changing cultural tide of the islands, Malo is buried high above Lahainaluna, steps away from the symbolic "L" atop Pu'u Pa'u Pa'u (Hill of Struggle) that overlooks the campus, Lahaina Town and across the roadstead to Lanai and Molokai.
The Lahainaluna boarding program began in 1836 and continues today, offering a work-study curricula to young men and women toward a high school diploma from an accredited school. The program not only focuses on work and study ethics but also teaches the students to be resilient, resourceful, respectful, collaborative and independent.
The festivities begin at 4 p.m. with the traditional makahiki games and demonstrations, followed at 5 p.m. by a poi, laulau, lomi salmon, pineapple and beverage supper ($15), and the free sunset pageant at 6 p.m. featuring the Boarders' Chorus and the Hawaiiana Club.
Lori Gomez-Karinen, advisor to both organizations since their inception and program director, expressed that it takes a whole village to put on this traditional event: the staff at Lahainaluna, the families, the community, businesses, the Lahainaluna High School Foundation, alumni and countless volunteers from all across the islands.
"We are an island community with island values, mores and traditions, living in a diverse population and in progressive times. We are most appreciative and grateful for the excellent support and nurturing given us by our immediate community and from the island of Maui and beyond," she said.
"Indeed, we exist because of our island ohana and the values of our host culture that are deeply rooted in the school. They are a way of life for us."
Ilima Greig-Hong and Robert Pomai Krueger are the choreographers and cultural consultants; Kahaala Greig and the students lead the music; and the boarding and cafeteria staff provide instruction and direction with the food preparations and field set-up.
Call Lahainaluna High School at 662-4000 for more information.