Why I Support Island Soldier

I invite all my friends, colleagues, and family near and far to support Island Soldier, a film documentary project that was recently launched on Kickstarter. Directed by my friend Nathan Fitch, former Peace Corps Volunteer in my country of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Island Soldier is "a feature-length documentary that tells the personal stories of young Micronesian soldiers serving in the U.S. military. The film follows them from a remote island in the Pacific to boot camp in the … [Read more...]

A Micronesian-focused Charter School in Hawaii?

I am blessed to be part of a consultancy team of doctoral students at the College of Education at UH Manoa who are working with several Hawaii-based Micronesian-serving clients on a project to study the feasibility of establishing a charter school focusing on Micronesian cultures, languages, people. Members of our team presented some of our preliminary findings and conducted focus groups with participants of the Pacific Educational Conference in Majuro, Marshall Islands. The team also paid a … [Read more...]

Kids Sharing Aloha Through Microlending

As a parent and an educator, I was very excited to receive the news from Chiefess Kapiolani Elementary School that my daughter, Keala, was selected to receive 3 awards at the school's End-of-the-Year celebration. One of these was the much coveted Legislative Award sponsored and presented by Hawaii State Senator Gil Kahele, a Kapiolani alum. This award is given to only one student per grade who exemplify the characteristics described on the certificate (see below).  And my little girl who just … [Read more...]

A New Journey Begins

I'm excited to be accepted into the doctoral program at the College of Education, University of Hawai'i at Manoa. Our orientation yesterday had a synergy likened to the buzz on my island in Chuuk when a new outrigger sailing canoe is launched on a maiden voyage. I felt blessed to have twenty five amazing pilooy (companions on a sea voyage) from different pathways with diverse experiences. We have all been paddling our individual canoes all over the world; somehow we were selected to be part of … [Read more...]

Teach for Micronesia – Survey

Teach for Micronesia (TFM) is being developed as an independent, non-profit organization with the mission of ending education inequity in the Pacific Island nation of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). Modeled after the highly successful Teach for America program, TFM aims to recruit college graduates from Micronesia and the United States to serve as paid teachers for two years and placed in high need public schools throughout Micronesia. Please help us take the quick online … [Read more...]

NY Jesuit Provincial’s Response Leaves More Questions Than Answers

Fr. David Ciancimino, SJ, the New York Jesuit Provincial recently responded to our petition on change.org to keep Fr. Francis X. Hezel, SJ, in Micronesia where he has done so much work and continues to do so. His public response which is published on The Fourth Branch website leaves much to be desired. In fact, it seems to prove what the new Jesuit pontiff, Pope Francis has condemned about the Jesuit Order and the Catholic Church's focus on "small minded rules" which the Pope says, is driving … [Read more...]

Happiness Takes… Practice?

The following is a reflection that someone recently shared on FB. I think it's worth re-posting here as it serves as a good reminder to us all that happiness is not something that magically happens to us.  According to Cindy Holbrook, happiness happens to people who practice in their lives these 21 habits. Twenty plus one. That's it? Or that many? Can we boil these habits down to one underlying habit? Happiness is knowing that my family is OK. 21 Habits of Happy People By Cindy … [Read more...]

Northwest Educators Set 10 Regional Priorities

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFDW7z8qMoI I've just returned from a week at Xavier High School in Chuuk, site of my first teaching years, to co-facilitate the Northwest Educators Summer Training (NEST) for over 70 public school teachers and principals and leaders from the poor and geographically remote Northwest Unified Schools. While the NEST was funded largely by the Chuuk State Department of Education (CDOE), this first-ever community led regional training was the first in Chuuk that was … [Read more...]

Things Pacific Islander Students Must Know Before Starting College!

A college education is a big investment in money, time, energy, and resources for any high school graduate. For the Pacific Islander students who are afforded the chance to leave the relative calm of their home islands in pursuit of a college degree, this experience is both a privilege and a daunting task. It brings honor to the family, but can also become a collective shame for failure to attain the degree. This reflection is meant for newly graduated high school students from the Pacific … [Read more...]

Hawaii Chuukese Leaders Unite over Social Issues

In a rare show of solidarity and ecumenical unity, a group of Chuukese Catholic, Protestant, and women leaders gathered this week at the Pacific Islander Student Center at the University of Hawaii at Hilo to discuss social issues and solutions unique to the Chuukese people on Hawaii Island. Iechuun Souemuenin Chuuk (Gathering of Chuukese Leaders) was led by the organizing committee comprising of Protestant leaders Sounpetak Kanter Santos (Mwichefen UUK, Uman), Sounkoa Kerat Pitiol (Mwichefen … [Read more...]