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 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:// 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...]

What Graduates Don’t Learn in Schools


Graduation season is upon us again. I'm struck with these life lessons which have been mistakenly attributed to Microsoft founder and billionaire Bill Gates. The original version first appeared on September 19, 1996 in an op ed piece in the San Diego Union Tribune by Charles Sykes entitled "Some Rules Kids Won't Learn in School." Rule 1: Life is not fair -- get used to it! Rule 2: The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel … [Read more...]

Chuuk’s Student Athletes Honor Local Hero Keitani Graham


As a Chuukese I am grateful to Gabe Rossi, Chairman of the Interscholastic Sports Commission (ISC) and the local member schools for their decision to dedicate their annual statewide track and field day to the memory of the late Keitani Graham, our Chuukese Olympian wrestler and youth advocate. On Friday, April 26, 2013, the ISC successfully held the 1st Annual Keitani Graham Interscholastic Track & Field Day on the same grassy field that was practically Keitani's home in his many drug-free … [Read more...]