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End of Year Events

Baccalaureate Mass

The Maryknoll Community Center’s Clarence T.C. Ching Gymnasium

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Service begins at 9:00 a.m.

Doors will open to guests at 8:15 a.m.

Class Night

Hawaii Theatre Center

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Program begins at 5:00 p.m.

Admission is by ticket only, and doors open at 4:00 p.m.


Neal Blaisdell Concert Hall

Friday, June5, 2015

Commencement begins at 5:30 p.m.

Admission is by ticket only, and doors open at 4:30 p.m.

Lei giving will take place in the Exhibition Hall. 

Maryknoll Senior Awarded Foodland’s Shop for Higher Education Scholarship

On May 12, Maryknoll Senior Misti Benoza was recognized as a recipient of Foodland Hawaii’s Shop for Higher Education Scholarship.

Each year, Foodland awards $200,000 in college scholarships to 100 Hawaii high school seniors through the Shop for Higher Education program. This statewide program runs during six weeks in February and March at all Foodland and Sack N Save stores. Since beginning in 2006, Shop for Higher Education has awarded more than 980 scholarships to college-bound seniors across the state, totaling more than $1.9 million. The purpose of this program is to help make a positive impact on the lives of college- bound students in Hawaii by addressing the need for higher education funding in our communities.

A total of one hundred $2,000 scholarships are given to deserving high school seniors across the state every year, and this year; Misti Benoza was a recipient. Benoza has been vastly influential in the Maryknoll community. She has held many leadership positions including: Student Council Vice President, Vice President of Key Club, and Team Captain of the Speech Team. She has been awarded a variety of superior academic achievements throughout her schooling career, and has also participated in a myriad of volunteer and extracurricular activities.

Please join Maryknoll School in congratulating Misti for this achievement!


Spartan Named Grand Champion at State Forensic Championships

Andrew Menor, a senior at Maryknoll High School, was recently named the Grand Champion of Impromptu Speaking at the State Forensic Championships. The event was held on April 11, 2015, and was sponsored by the Hawaii Speech League, an affiliate chapter of the National Speech and Debate Association. During the final round of the competition, Andrew spoke for five minutes regarding the topic: “Angry man cannot catch fish” to win first place. He was allowed five minutes to prepare the speech just prior to delivering it without the use of any notes. In addition, Andrew won the privilege of representing Hawaii in the National Congressional Debate Competition this summer in Dallas, Texas from June 15-20.

During the Hawaii District Congressional Tournament, held on April 4, Senator Menor researched eight different bills on topics including: defense spending, national gasoline tax, Cuban embargo, offshore federal drilling, global citizenship, suspending sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran, regulating marijuana, and State drug testing. He spoke on seven of these bills and also maintained a strong cross-fire presence to secure his win. This event was sponsored by the Hawaii Speech League.

Andrew, the son of Ron and Pat Menor of Mililani, began his speaking career as a sophomore in Duo Interpretation, before going solo in Impromptu and Congressional Debate events. He is considering a degree in law after he graduates from high school.

Please join us in congratulating Andrew on these amazing accomplishments!

For the Class of 2019 and Parents: Check It Out Night

Class of 2019 ~ "Check It Out Night"
for freshmen and parents
Monday, May 4, 2015
5:15 - 8:15 pm

Parking will be available on campus, with additional parking available at our
grade school campus (1722 Dole Street).

When you arrive, you'll be given a schedule that directs your family to
rotate through three sessions designed to help your child be ready to join
us at the high school. You'll meet key staff members that your child can turn
to at any time for help throughout the year.

Here's the schedule for the evening:

5:15 pm - Check-In / Light Refreshments / Uniform Sizing
Dennis Uniform will be onsite throughout the evening with uniform samples
that can be tried on for sizing before ordering.

6:00 pm - Welcome & Prayer
6:15 6:40 pm - Session #1
6:45 7:10 pm - Session #2
7:15 – 7:40 pm - Session #3
7:45 – 8:15 pm - Staff available for Q&A / Uniform try-ons available

Session: "Tools for School"
Get the scoop on the things you'll need to be equipped for success in the
classroom, including laptop requirements, book orders, school
supplies, and more. We'll also share information on when you'll receive
your schedule and what the daily schedule looks like.

Session: "High School Life: How It Works"
All freshmen are starting this new journey together and it's natural to have
questions about what it will be like. In this session, you'll learn
what you should know about high school so that you can fit right in to our
campus community.

Session: "Spartan Success Starts This Summer!"
Learn more about summertime opportunities (as well as things you must do before
school begins) so you can get a head start on having a fantastic freshman year.

Questions? Contact Mrs. Camille Michel, Vice Principal of Counseling & Guidance by clicking here.

May Day 2015: “Ke Ao Nani o kākou: Our Beautiful World”

Our high school May Day program will be streaming live on Friday, April 24 at 11:00 AM. Click here to watch the broadcast.  It will also be available for viewing after the live stream.

Below is the special schedule for this day. 

7:45 – 8:20 AM          Pd.1. (A)                    (35)
8:20 – 8:25 AM          Transition                   (5)
8:25 – 9:00 AM          Pd. 2 (D)                    (35)
9:00 - 9:05 AM           Transition                  (5)
9:05 – 9:40 AM          Pd. 3 (B)                    (35)
9:40 – 9:50 AM          Break                         (10)
9:50 – 9:55 AM          Transition                   (5)
9:55 – 10:30 AM        Pd. 4 (C)                     (35)
10:30 – 10:35 AM      Transition                   (5)
10:35 – 11:00 AM      Advisory                     (25)
                                   Walk to MCC
11:00 – 12:20 PM      Program                    (80)
12:20 – 12:35 PM      Walk to HS                 (15)
12:35 – 2:45 PM        Pā'ina Festival           (130)       

“Bagels with Bishop” at Maryknoll

On April 10, 2015, Maryknoll Senior Students participated in the diocesan Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry’s event, “Bagels with Bishop.”

As seniors begin to prepare for graduation and start planning for college, the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry (OYYAM) and Bishop Larry Silva assist the youth of Hawaii’s Catholic high schools over the course of a few months by engaging in the annual “Bagels with Bishop” program. The bishop provides advice geared towards assisting the students with their major upcoming life transition, including providing the teens with Catholic resources that are available for them in college.

The senior students began their morning by meeting in the Maryknoll Clarence T.C. Ching Gymnasium. The bishop led the students in prayer before beginning a delicious breakfast meal, followed by a discussion with the bishop structured around the concept of “fun and faith building.” A ‘Question and Answer’ segment with the bishop concludes the event.

We at Maryknoll School would like to thank OYYAM and Bishop Silva for spending time with our students, and for providing insight towards how they can develop a personal relationship with Christ. Our Spartans enjoyed a great morning of faith and learning. (And, of course, a handful of “selfies” with the bishop. What more do you need?)

Maryknoll School Participates in Hawaii Council of Economic Education's 2015 Economics Challenge

Twenty-eight Maryknoll students competed in the Hawaii Council on Economic Education’s 2015 Hawaii State Economics Challenge on Thursday, April 2 which was held at the University of Hawaii. Students (in teams of 4 members) participated in both the Adam Smith (AP) division and the David Ricardo (non-AP) division. During initial rounds, students demonstrate their economic understanding in challenging written tests. The final rounds of the Economics Challenge involve a “first-to-the-buzzer” format as teams answer questions on microeconomics, macroeconomics, international economics, and current events.

 In the David Ricardo division, Ethan Chun, Jonathan Lau, Cortney Okaneku, and Tasia Ramos’ team score from their written tests qualified Maryknoll for the buzzer round finals against Iolani for the state championship. Tasia Ramos opted to let another Maryknoll student—Jade Wu—take her place in the buzzer round. Although the students did not win the buzzer round, they all found the experience unforgettable and extremely worthwhile.  

Congratulations to all the students who participated in this annual Economics Challenge and to the students who placed as state runner-ups in the non-AP division!  A big thank you also to Economics and AP Economics teacher, Ms. Kit-U Wong, for preparing our students extremely well for this event!

Maryknoll Senior Awarded JABSOM Scholarship

natalie scholarshipPlease join Maryknoll School in congratulating Senior Natalie Kamada on her recent acceptance into the John A. Burns School of Medicine’s (JABSOM) Doctor of Medicine Early Acceptance Program for fall, 2015.

On March 23, Natalie shared this fantastic news with Maryknoll School’s Director of College Guidance, Mr. Larry Kekaulike. Mr. Kekaulike had assisted Natalie throughout the college research and application processes. “Natalie is an excellent academic student who is goal-oriented and driven.” Kekaulike said, “She will be remembered for being overly courteous and respectful. Natalie comes from a very supportive family. Her older sister, Nicole, also attended Maryknoll.”

Only 10 students were accepted into this program, following a highly selective process. Natalie will be under scholarship by JABSOM, which means her undergraduate degree (Bachelors of Science in Biology) will be paid for. Kekaulike, upon hearing of Natalie’s scholarship, was very excited and proud. “Other students should aspire in being focused, driven, and humble; like Natalie was here at Maryknoll.”

All of us here at Maryknoll are extremely proud of Natalie’s amazing achievement, and we are thrilled to see where this next step takes here. Congratulations, Natalie!

Maryknoll Teacher Steven Caley Named ‘Teacher of the Year’ by Veterans of Foreign Wars

Maryknoll U.S. History teacher Steven Caley has been named ‘Teacher of the Year’ by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). Each year, three exceptional teachers are recognized by the VFW for their outstanding commitment to teach Americanism and patriotism to their students. The VFW annually recognize the nation’s top classroom elementary, junior high, and high school teachers who teach citizen education topics at least half of the school day in a classroom environment, and promote America’s history, traditions, and institutions effectively. Maryknoll School is proud to announce that the VFW has chosen to recognize Steven Caley as the 2015 high school division ‘Teacher of the Year.’

Having served in the Army infantry as an M60 machine gunner, Mr. Caley knows what it means to serve his country and embody patriotism. Caley has taught History for 17 years, American History for the past 6 years, and he has served Maryknoll for 9 years, teaching U.S. History. He consistently shows a commitment to his students and his nation by creating a classroom environment that fosters an understanding of national pride. At the beginning of his U.S. History class Caley asks his students, “What does it mean to be an American?” Throughout the course of study, the class revisits the question during different time periods and in regards to different peoples. “On the last day of the course the students answer the same question again,” Caley said, “and it is so powerful to see how they have evolved. Their evolution as students during my class mirrors that of our nation’s history: it is one facing the unknown, embracing adversity, with long periods of growth followed by challenging setbacks, mistakes, celebrations, excellence, and a continued desire to always improve. To read their responses makes me proud to be a teacher and an American.”

Commander Ron Lockwood of the VFW Post 8616 oversaw the nomination of Caley for the ‘Teacher of the Year’ award. “Mr. Caley’s nomination for Teacher of the Year was by Maryknoll based upon his efforts.” Lockwood said, “Mr. Caley had the entire student body asking questions to political candidates, and then lead them outside to hold a ‘Get Out and Vote’ sign-waving campaign. Having an entire school behind this project shows outstanding leadership skills and the ability to motivate people. The best thing people can take away from this is that Mr. Caley is a dedicated professional that pushes his students to excel. By offering new opportunities to learn, he helps prepare Maryknoll students for the years post high school.”

After being named ‘Teacher of the Year’ Caley said, “It really hit me at the award ceremony. I feel a deep respect for the members of the VFW, and to have them applaud me felt wholly undeserved, but so appreciated by me. My favorite memory of the awards celebration will be seeing my five-year-old daughter beaming with pride when I received the award. Earlier in the day she had received the ‘Dancer of the Day’ award at her jazz class, and when the ceremony ended she said to me, ‘Daddy, I am so proud of you! Teacher of the Year is almost as good as Dancer of the Day!’ I just laughed and agreed with her.”

According to Lockwood, “Mr. Caley is passionate about his work and family.” And while Caley has always held these traits, he was inspired to become a teacher after a specific realization. “I was an intern in the United Nations in India after college,” Caley said, “and we often engaged in conversations about the key to human development. Some diplomats would say the key was a strong economy, or good infrastructure of the government, or democracy. I always believed that the key to human development was education. With education; a strong economy, governmental infrastructure, and democracy are all sustainable, but without education none of them can last. With that epiphany, I decided to become a teacher.”

Caley has been instrumental in teaching students at Maryknoll how to celebrate their nation within the school community. “My philosophy is to teach students how to think, not what to think.” Caley said, “Many of the issues that our students will face in their lifetime are not even problems yet. So we need to create learners who can critically think and adapt in the 21st century.”

Please join Maryknoll School in congratulating Mr. Steven Caley on being named ‘Teacher of the Year’ by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. We are honored to know and work with such an exceptional man and educator.

Team Takes Third in Science Competition

A great achievement was made by a distinguished group of Maryknoll students on Saturday, February 21.

Ethan Chun, Jonah Chun, Kaleo Ogura, Matthew Choy, Trevor Lau, and Andrew Millard participated as a team in the first ever UH Manoa Regional Science Olympiad. The team worked very hard to prepare for the tournament, and their hard work paid off. The Maryknoll team was awarded third place! Congratulations Spartan Scientists, on a fantastic success. 

A huge thank you to UH Manoa for hosting the tournament. Also, thank you to the Hawaii State Science Olympiad for creating a program that promotes the scientific excellence of our students. We are immensely proud of our team!

Students Learn Physics Principles by Constructing Rollercoasters

On November 3rd, Mr. Hickel's freshman physics students built and showcased their very own roller coasters. Combined classes met in the library to create an amusement park right here on campus. The prototype roller coasters allowed the Smart Spartans to demonstrate their knowledge of the different forms of energy. Other teachers came by to hear the students explain their work, along with their ingenious coaster names to include "Coaster Rica," and "The Procrastinator."


Halloween Lesson in WuHan, China

Right now, Maryknoll School's Baron Kimura (grade 9), Thomas Root (grade 10), Mrs. Myrna Spurrier (Art), and Dr. John Trowbridge (Spanish, Chinese) are part of the ENVOY team in Wuhan, China. They will be in Wuhan Changqing No.1 School from October 25 to November 7, teaching English and American culture, and learning about the Chinese way of life as well as their education system. Most recently, the seventh grade students in Wuhan Changqing No.1 School have had been learning about Halloween! You can keep up with the team by following their blog here:

Spartan Spirit Week

Spirit week is always sensational here at Maryknoll! Middle school and high school students alike were able to participate in various prideful activities. To add a little change to our normal routines, students were able to dress up to match spirit week themes. We had days like Military Monday, Twin Tuesday, Western Wednesday, Tourist Thursday, and Show-Some-Class Friday(students wore class shirts).

Friday was very exciting for the students because there was an amazing banner competition between the classes, topped off with thrilling dodgeball games between homerooms.  The eighth graders won the banner competition for the middle school, while the junior class won for the high school. Ms. Higa’s freshman homeroom competed with a fierce drive and rallied the freshman together during the semi-finals (pictured). At the end of the day, a senior homeroom claimed their trophy for winning the dodgeball series. Throughout the week, our students expressed their pride when learning, praying, and playing together. We are one school and one team. Go Spartans!

Welcome Back to a New School Year!

We are excited to welcome back grades 9 to 12 on the high school campus! Renovation of the library have been completed, while work on the front office continues until October.  During this time, the front office has been re-located to room 115, and the health room is in room 201.

Here is the schedule for the first day of school on Wednesday, August 20, 2014.

7:45 – 8:40 AM         Flag Raising & Prayer                                
8:40 – 8:45 AM         Transition to class      
8:45 – 9:20 AM         Period 1                  
9:20– 9:25 AM          Transition to class      
9:25 – 10:00 AM       Period 2               
10:00 – 10:05 AM     Transition to class      
10:05 – 10:40 AM     Period 3                 
10:40 – 10:45 AM     Transition                  
10:45 – 11:20 AM     Period 4               
11:20 – 12:05 PM    Lunch                 
12:05 – 12:15 PM      Advisory                   
12:15 – 12:40 PM      Walk to MCC            
12:40 – 1:40 PM      Prayer Service       
                                  Senate Assembly
1:40 – 2:00 PM          Walk to HS                

As we start off the year, listed below are some important dates to keep in mind.

  • August 22: Opening School Year Praise and Worship Service
  • August 25: Yearbook and ID Picture Taking, Grades 9-11
  • August 29: Summer Reading Seminar: Moloka'i
  • September 4: Summer Reading Seminar: Farewell to Manzanar
  • September 4: Senior Parent College Night
  • September 5: All-School Anniversary Mass
  • September 10: Grades 9 & 10 Parent Night
  • September 11: Grades 11 & 12 Parent Night
  • September 12: Spirit Day Pep Rally
  • September 12: Welcome Back Dance!
Freshman BBQ and Freshman First Day Kicks Off New School Year

Maryknoll School's Class of 2018 kicked off the new school year with a Freshman BBQ that was held on Friday, August 15 at the MCC Gym from 11 AM - 1 PM. There was fun and games and an opportunity for the students to meet their freshman advisory teacher.  

The second event for the Class of 2018 is the Freshman First Day on Tuesday, August 19.  Only the freshman are on campus on this day so that they can become familiar with their class schedule, locate their lockers, configure their laptops to the school network, participate in team building activities, and much more. Below is the schedule for this day. 

The schedule for the day is as follows:

6:30 - 7:55 AM          Pancake Breakfast and Campus Tour
7:55 - 8:00 AM          Morning Prayer and Flag
8:00 - 8:30 AM          Introduction of Teachers and Administration
8:30 - 9:00 AM          Tour of 1st Quarter Classrooms
9:00 - 9:10 AM          Break
9:10 - 9:15 AM          Introduction of Freshman Advisory Teachers
9:15 - 9:55 AM          Rotation #1: Advisory Picture and Lockers
10:00 - 10:40 AM      Rotation #2: Advisory Time
10:45 - 11:25 AM      Rotation #3: Laptop Configuration
11:30 - 12:15 PM      Rotation #4: Team Building Activities
12:15 - 1:00 PM        Lunch and change into class t-shirts
1:00 - 1:15 PM          Walk to Maryknoll Community Center Gym
1:15 - 1:25 PM          Welcome by President Perry Martin
1:25 - 1:45 PM          Games
1:45 - 2:10 PM          Zumba
2:10 - 2:20 PM          Alumni Talks
2:20 - 2:30 PM          Closing

Freshman advisory teachers, the Student Senate, Team Upperclassmen, and high school administrators are excited to welcome the freshman onto campus on Tuesday.

Exchange Students Learn About Aviation

Maryknoll Exchange students from China earned their wings at the Pacific Aviation Museum on Thursday, July 17, 2014. Here, they learned about flight simulation, robotics, going to the moon, building a rocket, and much more. In teams made up of Chinese and American students, the students would present what they had learned to an audience consisting of their mentors, parents, friends, and even Maryknoll School President, Perry Martin, who was there to congratulate them. They were given their wings at the pinning ceremony that came after their team presentations.


Check out some of the photos!

Robotics Inspires at Maryknoll

Varrick Suezaki, from Maryknoll's class of 2014, recently finished off the project he had been working on for the last six months. The graduate built his own robotic arm from scratch using a generic microprocessor board (called Arduino), servo motors, and generic electronic components. Dr. Eugene H. Guillian, who had overseen the project, tells us, "He encountered many obstacles, but stuck with it and built something quite amazing. On the way to completion, he learned a lot, and he is well on the way to becoming an expert in electronics and robotics." Varrick will be passing on his project so that the Spartans after him are able to have a head start on more sophisticated projects. We thank Dr. Guillian for continually supporting our students, and congratulate Varrick on this exceptional feat!

You can watch Varrick Suezaki with his robotic arm here.

High School Students Help Homeless Keiki


What are you doing on your summer vacation?

Maryknoll High School students spent a sunny Saturday afternoon on June 21st helping Project Hawaii, Inc. -- a non-profit organization that directly assists homeless keiki in Hawaii through activities such as an educational summer camp and providing them backpacks and school supplies at the start of the school year.

Project Hawaii depends solely on contributions from the public to run its activities. During the “fishnetting” activity near the First Hawaiian Bank in Pearl City, Maryknoll students collected donations from cars during red lights. In just an hour and a half, the students raised more than $570.

Said Magin Patrick, co-director of Project Hawaii, Inc., “It was our pleasure working with such a wonderful group. We really enjoyed having them…and we did an awesome job!!! Your group was able to help us raise $573.52 towards our summer camp adventures. That really is a great amount of money to add to our goals.”

High school students have several more opportunities to volunteer for this activity. The more, the merrier! (And the more money raised to support our homeless children in Hawaii.)

Saturday, June 28 – Pearl City
Saturday, July 5 – Pearl City
Friday, July 11 – Kapolei
Saturday, July 12 – Pearl City

To sign up, email Mrs. Michel at A consent form will be emailed to you. Consent forms must be signed and returned two days prior to the date on which you would like to volunteer.

Graduation is almost here!

Baccalaureate Mass is in the Maryknoll Community Center’s Clarence T.C. Ching Gymnasium on Thursday, June 5, 2014. Service begins at 9:00 a.m. Doors will open to guests at 8:15 a.m.

Class Night is at the Hawaii Theatre Center on Thursday, June 5, 2014. Program begins at 5:00 p.m. Admission is by ticket only, and doors open at 4:00 p.m.

Graduation is at the Neal Blaisdell Arena on Friday, June 6, 2014. Commencement begins at 5:30 p.m. Admission is by ticket only, and doors open at 4:30 p.m. Lei giving will take place in the Exhibition Hall. 

Xavier Imperial is a Recipient of the Kaimana Awards & Scholarship Program

Maryknoll students work especially hard to better themselves, their school, and their communities, but there are always students who go above and beyond expectations. Xavier Imperial, class of 2014, has proven his dedication and his heart and won himself an HMSA Kaimana Award.

The Kaimana Award and Scholarship program honors students for their excellence on and off of the field. Only 21 students in the state of Hawaii are granted awards that can be used toward college tuition, room, board, or books. These students will have competed on an athletic team recognized by their league, in Xavier’s case, the Interscholastic League of Honolulu (ILH). During their time in the league, recipients have earned points in athletics, academics, sportsmanship, and community service. Athletes who lend their talents to give back to those in need are just the type of recipients that the program looks for.

Additional requirements for recipients include: maintain a grade point average of 2.75, belong the graduating class of 2014, participate in at least one sport recognized by their league during their high school career, write a short essay, and submit two letters of recommendation. We congratulate Xavier on his proven excellence, and we thank him for representing the Maryknoll Spartans with such positivity!

Living Noblesse Oblige - Christina Simpson - High School Teacher of the Week

Teacher of the Week: Christina Simpson

Living Noblesse Oblige

            If you ask the right questions, you’ll find the many of our teachers have generations of connections to Maryknoll School. Ms. Christina Simpson is one example of this. Ms. Simpson has been a teacher at Maryknoll School for six years now; however, both her father and mother are both alumni of Maryknoll School, she attended Maryknoll School as a child, and now her daughter is a student Maryknoll School. Three generations of Spartans are proud to be a part of such a special place.

            Born and raised nearby Maryknoll, Ms. Simpson’s father worked as an investigator and her mother as a union representative. Ms. Simpson attended Maryknoll Grade School for a few years and eventually graduated from Kaiser High School. In high school, she was actively involved in the Speech Team, Drama Club, Color Guard, and Band. She fondly remembers playing the cymbals in band as a percussionist.

            When it was time to graduate from high school, Ms. Simpson wanted to study in the fields of law or education. She eventually chose teaching. After graduating from the University of Hawaii with her BA in English and Post Baccalaureate degree in Secondary Education, Ms. Simpson worked at Mililani Middle School for three years as an 8th grade English teacher. She later moved to Moanalua Middle School to teach English there for five years. Finally, after locating an ad in the paper for an English teaching position at Maryknoll School, Ms. Simpson did not hesitate to return to the school she once attended as a child.

            Ms. Simpson enjoys teaching English. She also loves being an advisor. She takes pride in being with her current advisory class for three years while guiding them on their way to graduation. As a former division coordinator, Ms. Simpson did not have her own advisory class until Mrs. Smitherman took over that role, so she truly appreciates having the opportunity to foster relationships with the same group of students on a daily basis for three years.

            In the picture above, Ms. Simpson displays her fun-loving side by taking part in a treasure hunt earlier this school year with other faculty members of Maryknoll School. It is clear to see the Ms. Simpson knows how to have fun and we are appreciative of the fact that she has chosen to return to Maryknoll because of her desire to live our school’s motto of “Noblesse Oblige” by giving back to the community she grew up in. Mahalo Ms. Simpson for being a part of our Maryknoll family!  

Living Noblesse Oblige - Sara Smitherman - High School Teacher of the Week

Teacher of the Week: Sara Smitherman

Living Noblesse Oblige

            Like a few other teachers currently employed at Maryknoll School, Mrs. Smitherman came to Maryknoll from the island of Maui. Born a raised in Kula, Mrs. Smitherman enjoyed her childhood years at Kula Elementary School, Seabury Hall Middle School, and finally, St. Anthony High School on Maui. As a teenager, Mrs. Smitherman loved playing soccer, camping, and hiking, but did not initially see herself as an educator. In fact, after graduating from high school, Mrs. Smitherman put college on hold for several years to work in various capacities before finding her way to Maryknoll School as an English teacher. In retrospect, she believes the long road she took that led her to teach at Maryknoll has only made her more appreciative of the fact that she now works in an amazing school that builds students into 21st century learners, leaders, and citizens of character.

            Before finding her way to Maryknoll School, Mrs. Smitherman worked for Kaiser Permanente as a service agent informing patients about the status of their medical insurance. She did not find that position satisfying to her and soon Mrs. Smitherman became an editor for an archeological company. However, she began to miss being in an educational environment after being away from school for several years and soon returned to college with hopes of someday becoming a school teacher. While in college, Mrs. Smitherman worked at Mid-Pacific Institute each summer and tutored students at the University of Hawaii.  After receiving both her BA in English and MA in English at the University of Hawaii, Mrs. Smitherman located an ad in the newspaper stating that Maryknoll School was looking for an English teacher. Soon after her interview, she was hired and we have benefited greatly from her presence here in the last five years.

            Since working at Maryknoll School, Mrs. Smitherman has taught many courses as an English teacher, including American Literature, Writing for College, AP Language and Composition and much more. She has also served Maryknoll as a leader in the positions of Department Head, Grade Level Coordinator, Co-Senior Project Coordinator, and Hiking Club Advisor. Interestingly, Mrs. Smitherman was also advisor of the Zombie Club for a few years. Unfortunately, she said with a laugh that membership in the Zombie Club “died out” eventually.

            What Mrs. Smitherman loves most about working at Maryknoll School are the people there. She remembers the joy of working with Sister Sarah, a Maryknoll Sister who showed her the beauty and essence of the Maryknoll mission, much the same way Jared Kaufmann did when he was teaching history at Maryknoll. She also recognizes the energy that has been brought to Maryknoll with new faculty members and administrators on board.

Mrs. Smitherman says she has grown much since working at Maryknoll because of the many opportunities she has been provided while working at Maryknoll. Mrs. Smitherman’s recent trip to China to visit our sister school, Jin Yuan High School in Shanghai, is just one example of this. During her three weeks there, Mrs. Smitherman taught students English using many of the pedagogical strategies used here in the United States when teaching students new content and skills. She also learned many new things from Chinese educators and students there that we can consider adopting at Maryknoll School in the future. Mrs. Smitherman was the perfect choice of teacher to send to China because of her openness to learn new concepts and share them with others. This is one of many characteristics that make Sara Smitherman so special. Her passion for learning and sharing that knowledge is a prime example of our school’s motto “Noblesse Oblige.”  

May Day 2014: “He ali'i ka 'aina, he kauwa ke kanaka: Land is chief, people are its servants”

May Day 2014

Our high school May Day program will be streaming live on Friday, April 25 at 11 AM. Click here to watch the broadcast.  It will be available for viewing after the live stream.

Maryknoll Students Honored at the 2014 Hawaii Council on Economic Education

Several exceptional students represented Maryknoll in the Hawaii Council on Economic Education (HCEE) 2014 Economic Challenge, and took home two awards.

The challenge that took place on April 2 was divided into two separate competitions: the Adam Smith division for AP students, and the David Ricardo for non-AP students enrolled in courses with economic concepts. Initial rounds of the competition include written tests, while the final rounds include “first-to-the buzzer” question rounds for the teams to showcase their knowledge and critical thinking skills. Maryknoll students Heather Acidera, Katherine Guevara, Natalie Kamada, Chad Saito were the runner-up team in the David Ricardo Division (pictured below). Alex Lee was Maryknoll’s individual high scorer in this division.

Our runner-up winners from the Adam Smith division included Xamantha Curameng, Chloe Fortuna, Xavier Imperial, and Gwendilyn Liu. Xamantha Curameng was Maryknoll’s individual high scorer in this division.

Living Noblesse Oblige - Troy Kamiya - High School Teacher of the Week

Teacher of the Week: Troy Kamiya

Living Noblesse Oblige

            The importance of being there for others is a principle our Maryknoll Sisters have passed down to both our students and teachers here at Maryknoll School since its inception in 1927. That spirit lives on today at Maryknoll High School and is exemplified by the hard work and dedication sociology teacher Troy Kamiya has invested into helping others throughout his journey in life.

            Mr. Kamiya was born in Kaneohe and later moved with his family to the town of Kaimuki. He attended St. Mark’s Lutheran School until he was accepted to Punahou School in the 4th grade. While in high school, Mr. Kamiya enjoyed playing football and being a member of the Punahou track team. His fondest memories of high school are related to his experience as a Junior Leader in Kaimuki each summer when Mr. Kamiya would lead children in helping them to become young adults. During the school year, Mr. Kamiya also worked at various places like TCBY Yogurt and Chucky Cheese. Even at work, Mr. Kamiya found himself surrounded by children either wanting to eat yogurt or play video games. In retrospect, Mr. Kamiya wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. He loved being with kids so much that he even dressed up as Chucky Cheese a few times while working in Aina Haina just so he could see the joy in the eyes of the children there.

            After graduating from Puanhou School, Mr. Kamiya thought he would study the courses needed for him to become a school counselor. For that reason, he began taking many sociology courses. After four years, he attained his BA in Sociology from the University of Hawaii Manoa while working at the same time as Kaimuki’s YMCA Program Director. While in this position, Mr. Kamiya made the decision to eventually become a teacher because he was told by many people that school counselors, much like the position he held as program director, spent most of their time processing paperwork instead of being with kids. For that reason, Mr. Kamiya eventually applied for a teaching position at Maryknoll School and was hired soon after. He has been a teacher here ever since.

            At Maryknoll, Mr. Kamiya began as a substitute teacher, study hall facilitator, and also administered exams to students. In time, a position as social studies teacher opened when Della Au, sister of current principal Darcie Kawamura, left Maryknoll School for a career as a politician. Eventually, former sociology teacher Mr. Eackman retired and Mr. Kamiya took over the job of teaching sociology at Maryknoll School. Over the years, Mr. Kamiya has been actively involved at Maryknoll as an assistant coach of the Maryknoll’s varsity basketball team and Senate Advisor just to name a few.

            Mr. Kamiya loves working at Maryknoll School because he believes that like his former alma mater, Maryknoll School develops strong academic skills in their students. In addition to this, what makes Maryknoll School even more unique is that it also graduates students with a desire to make a difference in their respective communities. Through various projects, activities, and assignments, Mr. Kamiya does his best to teach his students that lesson and he is so proud of the many Maryknoll graduates that have continued in life with a desire to help those in need.

            We thank Mr. Kamiya for committing his life to helping children and young adults reach their full potential. In this way, Mr. Kamiya has lived our school motto of “Noblesse Oblige” and we are ever so grateful for him and his work. Thank you Mr. Kamiya for being a part of our Maryknoll family for so many years.

Living Noblesse Oblige - Suzeth Carreon - High School Teacher of the Week

Teacher of the Week: Suzeth Carreon

Living Noblesse Oblige

            Suzeth Carreon, Religion teacher at Maryknoll High School since 2001, is seen in the picture above sharing her thoughts during a faculty discussion about school culture at Maryknoll High School and what can be done to help our students make the most moral and ethical choices in their lives. Others take interest in hearing Mrs. Carreon because she exemplifies what it means to be of service to God, others, and to live as Jesus did.

            Born and raised in the city of Manila, Mrs. Carreon’s mother worked as a librarian and her father as an entrepreneur in the Philippines. She attended Bonifacio Elementary School as a young kid, where she found her passion for dancing and singing. She took her talents with her through to Canossian College, an all-girl Catholic high school where she continued sharing her talents with others. After high school, Mrs. Carreon applied to Manuel Quezon University, where she attained an undergraduate degree in Foreign Service (better known in the U.S. as International Relations).    

            Mrs. Carreon could have become a foreign ambassador like some of her classmates did after graduating from college. Instead, she chose to support her husband who worked as a Civil Engineer and travelled to Samoa to raise her family. Mrs. Carreon’s time in Samoa made a big impact on her. All three of her children were born and raised in American Samoa. During her time there, she found her passion for teaching and taught the subjects of English, Language Arts, American Literature and Writing at Samoana High School and South Pacific Academy. After attaining a scholarship to study at the University of Hawaii-Manoa, Mrs. Carreon made the decision to move to Hawaii with her family to complete her MA Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction in 1995. Soon after, she attained a teaching position at St. John the Baptist School on Oahu and taught Religion, Language Arts and Social Studies from 1999 to 2001. The next year, she was hired at Maryknoll School to teach Religion and she has been here ever since.

            Over the years at Maryknoll, Mrs. Carreon has taught many religion courses including Morality, Catholic Social Justice, and more. She appreciates the smallness of the campus, where students can get to know each other very well. Mrs. Carreon is thankful for the opportunities Maryknoll has given her to grow as teacher and as a person. She is most proud of Maryknoll’s commitment to teaching students about Catholic values. Along with Campus Ministers Leo Delgado and Christopher Casupang, Mrs. Carreon has led eleven Kairos retreats and one Emmaus retreat. In addition to this, she has exposed hundreds of our students to God’s Works of Mercy by asking students to join her in feeding the homeless, visiting the sick and more.

            Mrs. Carreon takes her job very seriously and spends many hours planning and prepping lessons to be used in the classroom with her students. She lives for the glory of God and wants to “teach like Jesus, love like him and live like him.” We thank Mrs. Carreon for being an example of “Noblesse Oblige” for our students by continuing to live a life of service to others. Mahalo Mrs. Carreon for being an important part of our Maryknoll family for so many years and for modeling the Christian values that makes Maryknoll School so special.

Hawaii Business Magazine Recognizes Maryknoll School as one of Hawaii’s Best Places to Work

Hawaii Business Magazine honored Maryknoll School by naming the institution one of the Best Places to Work in Hawaii, for the fourth year in a row.

In the April 2014 issue of Hawaii Business, Maryknoll was recognized not only as one of the best places to work, but also the most family-friendly medium-sized employer, the top non-profit employer, and the only school to be recognized for any award on this year’s list.

“As Hawaii’s largest Catholic School, we recognize the impact our employees have on such a tremendous number of youth.” Said Loryn Guiffre, Maryknoll School Director of Marketing, “It is in our belief that maintaining a healthy environment for our staff will help to do the same for our students. We believe that happy teachers make for happy students!”

Maryknoll is guided by the motto “Noblesse Oblige,” meaning, “To whom much is given, much is expected.” Maryknoll School employees work as leaders in our community, continually growing with traits of professionalism, creativity, pride, service, and the ability to nurture dreams in themselves, as well as and others. Maryknoll’s 166 staff and faculty members understand that each child deserves caring, respectful, strong leaders to help them instill those same values into their own lives.

You can find Maryknoll School featured on the pages of the Hawaii Business Magazine April 2014 issue. We appreciate all our staff and faculty members, and all that they do for our school, students, and Maryknoll community.  Read more here:

Living Noblesse Oblige - Natalie Morey - High School Teacher of the Week

Teacher of the Week: Natalie Morey

Living Noblesse Oblige

“Courageous” is an adjective often used to describe a Spartan. Many would say that Natalie Morey has been a true Spartan as an educator, not only because she graduated from Michigan State University as a Spartan or taught English for 33 years at Maryknoll School as a Spartan, but Mrs. Morey has led Maryknoll School courageously through its transformation into an Essential School and has played a large role in its success over the years. When reflecting on the scope of achievements Mrs. Morey has accomplished at Maryknoll School, there is no doubt that she lives our school’s motto of “Noblesse Oblige” and we are blessed that she is part of our family.

          Born and raised on a large farm in Michigan, Mrs. Morey did not appreciate her quiet and simple life at the time, but she certainly does now. It was as at the age of six in Emerson Elementary School when she was inspired by her first grade teacher to become an educator. Mrs. Morey liked her first grade teacher so much that she would purposefully write letters backwards just to see Mrs. Gierman’s pretty red marks on her school work. Mrs. Morey eventually attended Ionia High School where she graduated 5th in her class of approximately 240 students. Much like today, Mrs. Morey was very active as a high school student. She served time in student government, the Young Republican’s Club, the Debate Team, and was committee chair for various events like the prom. When it was time to choose what college to attend, Mrs. Morey’s first choice was Northwestern University, but she did not want to burden her family with the financial burden associated with attending a school with such a high tuition. Instead, Mrs. Morey chose to attend Michigan State University and she is very proud of the strong education she received there as a Spartan. Initially, Mrs. Morey thought of teaching history or math. In the end, she received a B.A. Degree in Communication-Education, Teaching Minors:  English, Social Studies and an M. A. Degree Equivalent:  Graduate Work in English and Education at Michigan State University and the University of Hawaii.

Mrs. Morey was employed as a substitute teacher in Michigan while working on her graduate degree at Michigan State University. However, one day she and her husband made the brave decision to move to Hawaii without any ties to friends or family in the islands. Mrs. Morey’s first teaching job in Hawaii was at Star of the Sea School as a high school English Teacher. A year later, she became an adjunct professor teaching Speech at the University of Hawaii. During this time, she also received an M. Ed. Degree: Educational Leadership in the Pacific Basin. She eventually found a home after interviewing with former principal Jared Kaufmann for the position of English teacher at Maryknoll High School. Thirty-three years later, Mrs. Morey continues to teach English, but has added far more to her list of responsibilities since signing on.


           Mrs. Morey points to the wonderful professional development she received when Maryknoll High School became an essential school. She did such a fine job of absorbing the educational strategies used in essential schools that she eventually provided workshops and lectures across the nation on educational topics like effective assessments, integrated curriculum and project-based learning just to name a few. Within Maryknoll, Natalie has been and continues to lead by example by working in various capacities including Accreditation Co-chair, Head of the English Department, Dean of Faculty, Academic Dean and more. 

            Over the years, Mrs. Morey appreciates the many wonderful and interesting people she has had the pleasure of working with, including former priests, sisters, teachers and students. There have been changes at Maryknoll School over the years, but she firmly believes Maryknoll’s students continue to show great potential as was in the past. Mrs. Morey believes that all students can learn. In return, many of her former students and colleagues have recognized her talents by writing letters of support as part of the nomination process for various educational awards. Just recently, Mrs. Morey became the recipient of the NCTE’s CEL (Conference on English Leadership) Leadership Achievement Award.  This is the first year they have given this particular award, as the organization “identified a need to extend our leadership awards to embrace the types of leadership we observed among our candidates.”   

            Today, Mrs. Morey credits much of her success in life to her husband, Roger, who has been a constant source of support to her. In her spare time, Mrs. Morey enjoys reading and gardening. She also continues to love teaching and helping students to become the best people they can through providing them an environment where they are given the executive function to make decisions for themselves and learn from them. As Academic Dean of Classic Literacies, Mrs. Morey also mentors new teachers and administrators as seen in the picture of Mrs. Morey with new vice principal of Maryknoll Grade School and co-chair of Maryknoll’s accreditation team, Mrs. Chris Loomis.

Mrs. Morey’s journey as a Spartan has led her to move from Michigan to Hawaii and from English teacher to award winning educational leader and lecturer. Her hard work and perseverance has helped shaped Maryknoll School and the lives of those who have been students, teachers and administrators here. Thank you Mrs. Morey for your example of noblesse oblige in action by showing the courage to faithfully lead Maryknoll School to success for so many years.

What Color is Your Parachute For Teens Workshop

What Color is Your Parachute For Teens Workshop

Monday, April 14
6:00 to 7:30pm

Sacred Heart Church  |  1701 Wilder Ave
Parking available after 5:30pm on Maryknoll Grade School Courts - Enter via Dole Street

Maryknoll School’s Counseling & Guidance Department invites high school students, parents, and educators to spend an evening with Carol Christen, career strategist and co-author of What Color is Your Parachute? For Teens.  Author Carol Christen will share findings from more than a decade of research as to how students can make their personal and professional dreams come true with smart college and career planning. 

For more information and to register by April 10, visit:

Questions? Contact Raymi Faria, College and Career Program Coordinator at 808.952.7225 or


Natalie Morey of Maryknoll School to be honored by NCTE

The National Council of Teachers of English Conference for English Leadership (CEL) will be recognizing Maryknoll’s own Mrs. Natalie Morey as Hawaii’s 2014 recipient for the Achievement Award.

It is an honor for Maryknoll to have Mrs. Morey, the current Dean of Classic Literacies and the Co-Coordinator of the Senior Project. She has also filled the vital role of Co-Chair of our Western Association of Schools and Colleges Accreditation in 2008, and then again in February of this year. As an outstanding professional, she simultaneously teaches classes in nonfiction and college composition, along with advanced placement and language composition.

Morey received her B.A. in Communication-Education, English, and Social Science from Michigan State University and then continued onto earn her M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from the University of Hawaii. She has been a part of the Maryknoll family since 1981. We are thankful to Natalie Morey for her lessons, care and dedication over the years.

Living Noblesse Oblige - Kit-U Wong - High School Teacher of the Week

Teacher of the Week: Kit-U Wong

Living Noblesse Oblige

           When meeting Ms. Kit-U Wong, you may make the assumption that she is a very shy and reserved teacher at Maryknoll School. However, Ms. Wong is a mover and shaker both figuratively and literally. Not only is Ms. Wong an avid ballroom dancer and speaker of various languages, but in her three years at Maryknoll School she has led students to achieving high marks on AP exams, competitions and more as an Economics and Statistics teacher, assistant coach of Maryknoll’s Math Team, and advisor of Maryknoll’s chapter of the National Honor Society. How could such a young and relatively new teacher make such a significant difference at Maryknoll School in just a few years? Like many of our alumni who have become teachers at Maryknoll, she was inspired by those who modeled what it means to be a Maryknoll School educator and wants to provide her students today the same opportunities she had because of the impact those mentors had on her.

            Ms. Wong began her journey in life when she was born in Macau, China. In the second grade, she moved to Hawaii with her family and attended Lunalilo Elementary School. Ms. Wong continued her education at Stevenson Middle School until she was accepted to Maryknoll School as an 8th grader. In high school, Ms. Wong was co-captain of the Math Team, editor-in-chief of the school literary magazine The Toad, and took part on the Electric Vehicle Team that was the precursor to today’s Robotics Club.  She was also a member of the Chinese Club, the Japanese Club, the Drug Awareness Group, and the National Honor Society. For someone with so many talents and interests, determining what to study in college was a bit of a challenge.

Ms. Wong chose to attend a liberal arts college in California called Scripps College, which is part of the Claremont Colleges. She enjoyed studying math, economics, foreign languages, and English, but she eventually graduated there with a BA in Economics with a minor in Japanese. In the end, her experience as a student at Maryknoll High School learning economics with Mr. Suzuki was highly influential in leading her on the path of pursuing that major in college. When Mr. Suzuki called Ms. Wong shortly after she graduated from college to see if she would be interested in interviewing for a teaching position at Maryknoll School, Ms. Wong’s educational journey came full circle. Soon after, she began teaching economics and statistics at Maryknoll School and she hasn’t looked back since.

            This is Ms. Wong’s third year of teaching at Maryknoll School and she shares that she still has much to learn from the teachers here at Maryknoll who continue to inspire her today. She says she enjoys teaching Statistics and AP Statistics because she sees the many interdisciplinary connections her students make and it is rewarding when students realize that math is useful and interesting instead of difficult and dry. Ms. Wong also enjoys working with students outside the classroom as assistant coach for Maryknoll’s Math Team, advisor of Maryknoll’s chapter of the National Honor Society, and assistant coach of the It’s Academic Hawaii Maryknoll team.

            Ms. Wong recently received a scholarship to attend the Klingenstein Summer Institute sponsored by Columbia University in New Jersey. She attended a two-week conference there this past summer where she learned about many educational topics including a concept called Critical Friends Groups. This year, Ms. Wong is piloting a CFG here at Maryknoll School to help strengthen our professional learning community.

            There is no doubt that Ms. Wong loves learning, and ultimately, that is one of the reasons why she has been a very successful teacher at Maryknoll School in such a short time. Her desire to learn is contagious and it is easy for her students to see that passion she exudes because Ms. Wong lives it each and every day here at Maryknoll School both in and outside of the classroom. Thank you Ms. Wong for continuing the work of those that came before you here at Maryknoll School by exemplifying what our school’s motto of Noblesse Oblige really is.  

Living Noblesse Oblige - Kelly Grant - High School Teacher of the Week

Teacher of the Week: Kelly Grant

Living Noblesse Oblige

            If it looks like these two gentlemen in the picture above are having fun playing a game of pick-up basketball, you are correct. Kamakana Linquist, Maryknoll student-athlete to the left, is amazed at how well his basketball coach and P.E. teacher Kelly Grant still has a few nifty moves as a basketball player, even with over thirty years separating these two Spartans. What Kamakana may not know is that he is in the process of defending someone who truly knows what it means to be a winner because Mr. Grant has been a champion his entire life. By returning to his alma mater, Mr. Grant now shares his championship know-how with his students.

            Mr. Grant grew up near Kapahulu Ave. and attended Ala Wai Elementary School, Washington Middle School, and finally, Maryknoll School after becoming a Spartan in the 10th grade. In high school, Mr. Grant spent most of his time playing sports. In his three years at Maryknoll School, he graduated making history at his alma mater by being a member of both football and basketball state championship teams in the 1980s. He also excelled in track and field as a high jumper. In addition to his involvement in athletics, Mr. Grant took time to have fun with friends while at Maryknoll and was a member of the infamous Kazoo Crew that played music with their kazoos for captive audiences.

            When it was time to go to college, Mr. Grant attended Hawaii Pacific College (now called Hawaii Pacific University). During his college years, Mr. Grant worked as a flight attendant for Hawaiian Airlines and as an assistant basketball coach at HPU for his former high school basketball coach Toni Sellitto. Mr. Grant graduated from HPU with a BA in Human Resource Development. Through teaching the game of basketball as coach, Mr. Grant developed a desire to be an educator and entered the RISE program in the Department of Education and became a Special Education teacher after receiving his 5th year professional development degree. He taught at McKinley, Pearl City, and Kaimuki High School. At Kaimuki High School, Mr. Grant became State Champion again in 2007, but this time it was as a coach.  In 2010, Mr. Grant was offered the opportunity return to his alma mater as a P.E. teacher. In his two years of coaching basketball at Maryknoll, the Spartans have won an ILH championship and ended their last two seasons placing 2nd and 3rd in the state.  

            Today, Mr. Grant enjoys working with many of his former classmates at Maryknoll School who have become teachers and administrators. He particularly takes joy in having practices in Maryknoll’s own air-conditioned Clarence T. C. Ching Gymnasium because he can still vividly recall playing basketball on the same hard courts seen in the picture above.

Maryknoll’s championship spirit is back with help from the arrival of Mr. Grant. His desire to continue practicing our school’s motto of Noblesse Oblige has led this Spartan to return home and we are very thankful.  

Living Noblesse Oblige - Brad Koki - High School Teacher of the Week

Teacher of the Week: Bradley Koki

Living Noblesse Oblige

            The proverbial phrase and cliché “patience is a virtue” perfectly fits Brad Koki’s experience at Maryknoll School. Mr. Koki has been an art teacher at Maryknoll School for nineteen years, but it took some time before this former graduate found his way back to his alma mater.

            Mr. Koki was born and raised in Honolulu. He attended public school until he was accepted into Maryknoll School after enrolling there in the 7th grade. During his high school years, Mr. Koki played sports like football and basketball; however, his first love was art. As far back as he can remember, Mr. Koki wanted to be both an artist and a teacher. For that reason, Mr. Koki attended the San Francisco Art Institute after graduating from Maryknoll and soon found himself working at St. Andrew’s Priory as an art teacher. Mr. Koki taught art at St. Andrew’s Priory for 19 years, but when Maryknoll came calling, he made the choice to come back home with the promise that he would be provided an art room in time.

            The good news for Maryknoll School is that the arrival of Mr. Koki was more than just a homecoming of a former graduate. For the last 19 years, Mr. Koki has inspired many students to become artists themselves. Amazingly, Mr. Koki did his work without the use of an official art room. During Mr. Koki’s first 15 years as an art teacher at Maryknoll School, he used a traditional classroom to teach art. Although learning art in a general classroom is seen in many schools, instructing students in one can be a challenge for teachers like Mr. Koki who chooses to expose students to the skills required when creating various types of original art. One example of this is how Mr. Koki spent 15 years at Maryknoll driving his students’ pottery to a kiln on Kona Street. Although it was close in proximity to Maryknoll School, driving his students’ pottery to and from the kiln was an experience in itself because it took a great amount of driving skill to keep the pottery from breaking due to the many potholes encountered along the way. Mr. Koki also shared that for 15 years, he did not have a chance to rest during morning break like most teachers do because he used that time to fill up buckets of water that were used each day to clean paint brushes, etc. As seen in the picture held by Mr. Koki above, students and teachers affectionately called those buckets his “Flintstone Sinks.” Finally, Mr. Koki’s patience paid off when the Maryknoll Community Center was built and one of the old locker rooms was converted into the 21st Century Art Room he currently teaches in. This new art room has 10 pottery wheels instead of the two previously housed in the old classroom he formally used. Now, when it comes to finding a kiln for his students’ pottery and water to clean paint brushes, Mr. Koki needs to look no further than across his desk.   

Today, Mr. Koki finds great joy in seeing his former students start their careers as artists and art teachers. Mr. Koki himself is an accomplished artist whose paintings were purchased by the State Foundation of Culture and the Arts and featured in the Artists of Hawaii Show several times. However, Mr. Koki’s main focus continues to be his students and we are grateful for his dedication to Maryknoll School after all these years and all the ways his story exemplifies our motto of Noblesse Oblige.

Living Noblesse Oblige - Dr. Joseph Laszlo - High School Teacher of the Week

Teacher of the Week: Dr. Joseph Laszlo

Living Noblesse Oblige

            If you’ve been on the high school campus lately, you’ll recognize a significant change in the environment there. Everywhere you turn, blue containers that collect recyclable bottles and cans are close by. When entering Maryknoll High School from the parking lot, turn right just before the statue of Mary and walk towards the freeway. There you will see a large compost bin and an aquaculture station as shown in the picture above. Beside the strawberry plants beginning to grow are teachers Ed DaSilva to the left and Dr. Joseph Laszlo on the right. Both are the advisors of a new club started this year at Maryknoll School led by Maryknoll students called EPS or the Environmental Protection Squad. Together with the guidance of Mr. DaSilva, Dr. Laszlo, assistance with the delivery of recyclable materials from Maryknoll’s Civil Air Patrol, and help with collecting used paper by our high school students in the National Honor Society, Maryknoll High School can proudly say that its campus is an example of what urban sustainability looks like. Much of the progress that has been made in this area is directly related to the influence of one of our new teachers at Maryknoll School, Dr. Joseph Laszlo.

            Dr. Laszlo was born and raised in South Bend, Indiana near Notre Dame University. His father worked for the famous automobile company Studebaker building cars. As a child, Dr. Laszlo would often walk into the factory where his father worked and watch with awe as cars were assembled piece by piece. Since that time, he has always been fascinated with discovering what makes things work. This love for learning led Dr. Laszlo to be a successful student in school while attending Oliver Elementary and Middle School from Kindergarten to the 8th grade and later Washington High School. As a high school student, Dr. Laszlo played the trumpet in band, and also was part of the Drama Club and church choir. However, Dr. Laszlo spent most of his time taking part in science-related activities like being a member of the Future Teachers Club and helping as an intern in Biology classes. Early on, Dr. Laszlo knew he would someday become a science teacher. Four years after graduating from high school, Dr. Laszlo left Purdue University with a Bachelors of Science in Biology with a minor in English Literature to pursue his dream of teaching in California.

            Dr. Laszlo’s first teaching position was as a middle school science and math teacher in Los Angeles. Soon after, he discovered that schools in Hawaii were looking for teachers. In 1966, Dr. Laszlo flew to Hawaii where one of his high school teachers from Indiana picked him up at Honolulu Airport and showed him around Oahu before making the trip to Kohala High School where he taught science for the next 25 years. In 1992 Dr. Laszlo moved to Oahu and attained a graduate degree in Curriculum and Instruction in 1995 at the University of Hawaii while working there at UH Lab School. For the next five years, Dr. Laszlo taught at Radford High School and won the Presidential Award in Teaching in 1999 as an A.P. Biology teacher. For the next six years, Dr. Laszlo returned to the University of Hawaii working in the Physics Department writing labs for science students while also completing doctorate degree there. After graduating with a Ph.D. in Education with an emphasis on Science, Dr. Laszlo worked for the Institute for Teacher Education with the task of evaluating science and math teachers and also spent two years as the writer of a very successful series of articles in the Honolulu Advertiser called Dr. Gadget's Science Machine. After lecturing at the University of Hawaii, Dr. Laszlo missed teaching high school students and began looking for a teaching position in town. That’s when Ed DaSilva told him about an opening at Maryknoll High School for the position of A.P. Biology teacher. Soon after interviewing for the position, Dr. Laszlo was chosen to be a part of the Maryknoll team.

            Dr. Laszlo came to Maryknoll School as a seasoned and award winning teacher, but he is quick to say that the learning curve at Maryknoll High School is very high due to the high use of technology and the many responsibilities teachers have at Maryknoll School. With the second semester on its way, Dr. Laszlo is finding his rhythm once again as a teacher and is now focusing on doing what it takes to help his students identify their goals in life and reach them. He continues to ask his students individually if they have a plan for life after college. Of all his accomplishments, Dr. Laszlo is most proud of the fact that many of his former students have gone on to become science teachers. He hopes to inspire a new group of students here at Maryknoll to take their love of science to become medical doctors and more.

Dr. Laszlo started his journey in life next to one of the most prestigious Catholic Universities in the world in South Bend, Indiana. Today, he is now working in Hawaii’s largest Catholic School and is truly living our school’s motto of noblesse oblige by making a difference in the lives of many students here through inspiring them to enter the field of science and to also practice sustainability. Thank you Dr. Laszlo for being a part of our Maryknoll family.  

Japanese Students place 2nd and 4th in Japan Wizards Competition

Congratulations on the 4th place finish of the Beginning Team (Christopher Freitas, Uilasho Francisco & Sage Tong) and 2nd place finish of the Advanced Team (Maya Kanetake, Daneil Nilo & Erika Wong) in the Japan Wizards Statewide Academic Team Competition held today at Kapiolani Community College! There were 135 students and 45 teams that participated.  Thank you to Sensei Rie Mizumura for her work with preparing our students for this competition & the support and encouragement she gave to them!

Japan Wizards Competition is a challenging, fun-filled academic team competition for Hawaii's high school students that tests students' general knowledge of Japan and Japan-related fields. The competition is sponsored by the Japan-America Society of Hawaii (JASH), a nonprofit organization with the mission of promoting understanding and friendship between the peoples of the United States and Japan through the unique and special perspective of Hawaii.

For more information, check out JASH’s website, Website:   


Maryknoll Civil Air Patrol Squadron at Legislative Week in Washington D.C.

Civil Air Patrol Cadet Squadron Deputy Commander Ugale poses with cadets at the Pentagon, as part of their participation in CAP 2014 Legislative Week and Winter Command Council. 

We are proud to have Hawaii Civil Air Patrol Wing Commander, Colonel Jeffrey Wong and Maryknoll Squadron Deputy Commander, Captain Christopher Ugale lead our cadets by participating in the 2014 CAP Legislative Week and Command Council Board Meeting in Washington D.C. from February 23rd to March 1st. Leaders of the Hawaii Wing and Maryknoll Squadron, as well as our cadets, are meeting with members of the US House of Representatives, US Senators, and visiting many historical monuments, sites and museums that pertain to the US Federal Government civics, aerospace education and overall American history.


Living Noblesse Oblige - MIchelle Nakanishi - High School Teacher of the Week

Teacher of the Week: Michelle Nakanishi

Living Noblesse Oblige

            With the recent success of our Spartan athletic teams and the building of our twenty-one million dollar Clarence T.C. Ching Gymnasium, Spartan pride reigns strong at Maryknoll School. There have also been several people directly responsible for bringing back that recent resurgence of Spartan pride and one of them is a former graduate of Maryknoll School and current physical education teacher Michelle Nakanishi.

            Ms. Nakanishi grew up in Pearl City, but she made the drive into town each day by attending Bingham Tract Elementary School from kindergarten to the 6th grade and Maryknoll School from the 7th grade on. As a student at Maryknoll, Ms. Nakanishi took part in many sports including volleyball, softball, and track & field. In addition to her involvement in various sports, Ms. Nakanishi also spent time on the Yearbook Committee, Winterball Committee, and the Japanese Club while in high school. When it was time to attend college, Ms. Nakanishi’s desire to become an athletic trainer led her to apply to the University of Hawaii-Manoa to attain a degree from the School of Education there in Kinesiology.

After graduating from and eventually going back to school at UH Manoa to attain a second degree in Travel Industry Management, Ms. Nakanishi spent the next several years of her life working as an athletic trainer at Gold’s Gym and 24 Hour Fitness while concurrently working full-time at Dole Ballrooms and the Marriot Hotel. Ms. Nakanishi’s enjoyment found in working with others and the love she also felt for her alma mater made it easy for her to accept the offer given to her to become a part-time physical education teacher at Maryknoll School in 2010. After proving herself as a teacher, Ms. Nakanishi was offered a full-time position as physical education teacher and has been here at Maryknoll School as a faculty member ever since.

            Now that Ms. Nakanishi has returned to Maryknoll, she continues to see what has always made her alma mater so special. For her, an athlete at Maryknoll School can be a big fish in a small pond, so opportunities are boundless. She sees this each day after school as an assistant baseball coach for the Spartan Boys’ Baseball Team. In classrooms, teachers take the time to get to know everyone and regardless of their grade level, students become friends with each other. In addition to this, Spartan Pride is growing thanks in part to Ms. Nakanishi’s leadership as Senate Advisor in the high school. Homecoming in the last few years has become an all-school event in the Maryknoll Community Center with class representatives dressed in tuxedos and evening gowns and classes taking part in competitions that exhibit school pride. Ms. Nakanishi gives credit to many people at Maryknoll for bringing back some of the older traditions previously celebrated here. In the future, she plans on continuing to work with others to create new opportunities for our students to build their own traditions here at Maryknoll.

            In the picture above, we recently celebrated Ms. Nakanishi’s birthday along with other members of our high school faculty. When Ms. Nakanishi is not at the high school campus, you will also often see her at the grade school teaching physical education classes in the Clarence T. C. Ching Gymnasium or walking her two children Brayson and Brianna to their second grade classrooms.  Although much of the work she does is behind the scenes, we appreciate her dedication to Maryknoll School and the spirit of noblesse oblige she models for our students each and every day. Thank you Ms. Nakanishi for living noblesse oblige and being an important part our Maryknoll family.    

Living Noblesse Oblige - Jeff McGivern - High School Teacher of the Week

            At Maryknoll School, we were recently praised by our visiting accreditation team for not only providing rigorous and relevant learning opportunities for our students, but for also creating an environment where meaningful relationships can take place between all the members of our community. For Jeff McGivern, religion teacher at Maryknoll High School, building relationships begins with serving others and he has lived our school’s motto of Noblesse Oblige his entire life.

            Born and raised in Hawaii Kai, Mr. McGivern attended St. Patrick’s School for his first two years of education and Holy Trinity School from the 1st grade to the 8th grade. He spent his high school years at St. Louis School where he eventually graduated from in 1982. In high school, Mr. McGivern excelled in sports like basketball, volleyball and track. However, he found his greatest joy in tutoring students at St. Patrick School. Although one may assume based on his love for teaching and serving others that Mr. McGivern would enter college to eventually become an educator; instead, he chose to follow in his father’s footsteps and become an entrepreneur.

            Mr. McGivern initially attended a Jesuit college called Regis University in Denver, Colorado as a Business major. After some time, he began to miss being with his family and transferred to another Catholic school called St. Martin’s University in Olympia, Washington to be with his brother. On his first day at St. Martin’s, he met his future wife, who attended school there as a scholar athlete playing basketball. Mr. McGivern eventually moved back to Hawaii, where his love for service to the community led him to change his focus of study in college to sociology. In 1988, Mr. McGivern graduated with a BA in Sociology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

            From 1988 to 2002, Mr. McGivern worked in various capacities from sales to marketing, but he devoted most of his free time to serving his community through his role as an educator teaching catechism and confirmation courses at St. Anthony of Padua in Kailua. He also led many youth retreats through his work with the Basic Christian Community of Hawaii. After attending a retreat with his wife Heidi at the Worldwide Marriage Encounter at St. Stephen in 2000, Mr. McGivern received a clear message from God that his purpose in life was to make a difference in the lives of children by becoming a teacher. After patiently waiting, through the power of the Holy Spirit, he was offered the position of Campus Minister at Maryknoll High School.

            Mr. McGivern enjoyed his time as a campus minister at Maryknoll. Of the many experiences that took place, he remembers most the way a great number of students took part in religious activities from providing community service, to retreats and reconciliation. His fondest memory was a prayer service called Roses in December in which students reenacted the true story of the Martyrs of El Salvador. With help from former drama teacher Stephanie Conching, students performed in Rogers Hall and touched everyone with their story of the Maryknoll Sisters who gave their lives in the service of others. One of his duties as campus minister was to teach a course called Introduction to Catholic Christianity. There, Mr. McGivern proved that he was also a talented instructor and was eventually asked to step into the role of classroom teacher on a full-time basis. As a religion teacher, Mr. McGivern continued his focus on servicing others by attending Maryknoll’ s Majuro Mission and educating Marshallese students each summer alongside Maryknoll students.

            Today, Mr. McGivern feels blessed to be working alongside his wife Heidi as educators and his three children who currently attend Maryknoll School. He continues teaching his students the value of service to others by taking them to feed the homeless and encouraging them to participate in government on issues affecting our community. One year, all of the members of Hawaii’s Senate gave Mr. McGivern and his students a round of applause for the work they did at hearings taking place at Hawaii’s State Capital Building. Finally, Mr. McGivern takes great joy in seeing the personal and academic growth of his students during their four years of stay at Maryknoll School. In particular, Mr. McGivern loves hearing from his former students that some of their most memorable experiences at Maryknoll were those that involved activities centered around service.

            In the picture above, Mr. McGivern is seen with his son Matthew. Beside him is the statue of Mother Mary that is at the center of Maryknoll School both physically and spiritually. If you look even more closely, you will see a pink pin on Mr. McGivern’s shirt. Mr. McGivern wears this pin in memory of his mother who died of breast cancer when he was only 11 years old. It is no wonder that the center of Mr. McGivern’s life has been a desire to be there for his family and his community, much the same way Mother Mary was there for him throughout his life. Thank you Mr. McGivern for living noblesse oblige and being an important part our Maryknoll family.    

Living Noblesse Oblige - Charlene Martin - High School Teacher of the Week

Living Noblesse Oblige

            Mrs. Charlene Martin seems relatively shy when asked to speak about her many accomplishments at Maryknoll School as a teacher. For someone who has been a leader at Maryknoll School for thirty-five years, there is long list of achievements she could share. For those who know Mrs. Martin, it comes as no surprise that this quiet leader would rather spend her time focusing on others because that is one of the characteristics that makes her so unique. Like the Maryknoll Sisters, Mrs. Martin is devoted to being servant leader.

            Mrs. Martin was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. She attended Pearl Harbor Elementary School and later Radford High School. What may be a surprise for some is that Mrs. Martin enjoyed singing and acting in high school. She was also very active in clubs. In particular, Mrs. Martin was the song leader of the Spirit Club at her alma mater.

            Since the second grade, Mrs. Martin new she wanted to be a teacher. When she graduated from high school, she chose to begin her educational studies at Winona State University and completed her undergraduate degree in Secondary Education/Social Studies at Chaminade University with minors in both Sociology and Psychology. When she graduated from college, she received a phone call one day from former Principal of Maryknoll School, Mr. Jared Kaufmann, and was hired to teach math and social studies soon after.

            For her first thirteen years at Maryknoll School, Mrs. Martin taught both math and social studies. She can still recall working with Sister Borgia Ann McGee who was Head of the Math Department when she was first hired. Sister McGee made sure that this new social studies major was prepared to teach math and Mrs. Martin appreciated that. During those years, Mrs. Martin began one of her first leadership roles as Advisor of the Dance Committee. As advisor, she helped to coordinate almost all of the dances that took place at Maryknoll School. In those years, Maryknoll students enjoyed dances each month in Rogers Hall.  When Andy Corcoran became principal, the Senate took over the responsibility of planning dances and Mrs. Martin began her long run as the Sophomore Grade Level Coordinator here at Maryknoll School. Today, Mrs. Martin continues to lead the Sophomore division through the many traditional events associated with Maryknoll’s sophomores including the Sophomore Banquet and more.

            Mrs. Martin has many fond memories of Maryknoll School. There are far too many for her to remember, but one lasting memory for her is when she joined Joe Miller, Sr. Borgia and various Maryknoll students to visit Leahi Hospital, a long-term care facility near Fort Ruger. There she, Mr. Miller and her students sang Christmas carols for the patients there. Today, Mrs. Martin finds great joy in meeting her former graduates that often say to her, “Do you remember me?” Of those, she recalls meeting her former student Pali Ka’aihue, Na Hoku Hanohano Award winning musician and graduate of Maryknoll School at the Honolulu International Airport. She was honored when Pali offered to send her a CD of his. This could be due in part because Mrs. Martin still loves to sing and dance like she did in her high school days at Radford. Over the years, Mrs. Martin stated that she lost her singing voice due to the many years of teaching and the stress placed on her vocal cords. However, she still loves dancing and shares her passion for it as Advisory of the Korean Dance Club today. She can also be found listening to her favorite recording artists and attending plays and concerts due to her love for music.

            In the photograph above, Mrs. Martin is leading her students in an activity she developed in her psychology class on the study of trust-building. It was very difficult to get a clear picture of her because she kept moving so quickly from one place to another while guiding her blindfolded students safely throughout Rogers Hall. When asked about why she kept moving so quickly, she expressed that her focus was not on the camera. She was more concerned about her students avoiding all hazards and leading them on the right path. For someone who has dedicated her life to serving others, this comes as no surprise.  

Thank you Mrs. Martin for being a part of our Maryknoll family for so many years.    

Facebook: Habit or Addiction?

Students Connie Tu, Christine Galang, and Micah Bagayas wrote this compelling short essay as part of a project in Mrs. Martin's class, exploring the potentially addictive nature of social networking in the 21st century. 

     Facebook is almost like a friend, appealing to us, in many different ways, like allowing us to understand world news, connecting us to other people, feeding our voyeuristic natures, and seeing us as important individuals, by liking and posting photos.  Facebook starts as a habit, first by commenting and liking different posts, but as the actions grow quicker and the thought of Facebook is perpetually embedded in our mind, the social networking site becomes an addiction. Though Facebook is not entirely addictive, the things people do on it and how they respond to those actions, will ultimately decide if that person is addicted or not.

     Facebook users ultimately do four things, liking, posting, commenting, and sharing, which allows us to feel attached with said person’s friend list, but these actions alone do not make Facebook addictive. These actions are simply repetitive habits; they are a series of learned behaviors and human choices.  Facebook, itself, does not speak to the users, telling them to stay logged on.  As an example, artists draw and compile works for a living, this action of a tool on paper, though people might associate this with an addiction, it clearly isn’t.  The artist is simply repeatedly creating different things, which becomes a habit, therefore by using the same logic, Facebook is a habit as well.

     As social networking becomes relevant to ourselves in every day life, mobile phones have become enabled to check Facebook if connected to a WiFi, or a Network in general, which gives Facebook users another way to feed their habits.  They, after hours and hours of checking their Timelines and Feeds at home, they are reduced to do the same thing on the go.  Though, these habits are not entirely Facebook’s fault.  Facebook users who are known to be online more frequently than the normal amount of time, usually have another problem that stems from an outside source.  For these people, Facebook is an outlet; it is used to avoid dealing with certain real-life problems such as, work, school, or personal issues.

     Once the habitual line, between using Facebook as an outlet or a hub for social interaction, is crossed, Facebook is considered an addiction.  While there is nothing wrong with using Facebook, there are some people who overuse this social website.  These people tend to overshare and check their accounts whenever possible.  Oversharing is the issue where one uses Facebook as a journal. There is no privacy when one overshares; they are unable to judge what’s appropriate or not.  The basis of sharing about ourselves is not wrong, because it fulfills our own social needs, but once we regret what we share, we are attempting to satisfy the engagement of sharing.  This is the point of Facebook becoming an addiction.  Checking Facebook, is a way to stay connected to others and their lives, but once someone constantly log on to view Feeds, while completing daily activities, the person is addicted.  One, when doing this, ultimately becomes distracted and finds it hard to be present during this time.

     In summary, Facebook is habitual.  Of course, there is a line that can be crossed, like other social networking sites, but Facebook itself is not an addiction.  The way a person uses Facebook, decides on whether they are addicted or not.  Therefore, Facebook is a habit that, when used in the wrong and hurtful way, can become an addiction.

Living Noblesse Oblige - Steve Caley - High School Teacher of the Week

            Academic Dean and history teacher Steve Caley has dedicated his life to the service of others. Mr. Caley has thrived here at Maryknoll School, where service is at the heart of what makes both this school and his story so unique.

            Steve Caley grew up in the small blue-collar town of Bremerton, Washington. His grandfather was stationed there many years ago in the Navy and chose to stay. As a child, Mr. Caley attended Naval Avenue Elementary School a block away from the shipyard where the U.S.S. Missouri was docked before eventually finding its way home to Hawaii. Mr. Caley later attended Olympic High School, where he played basketball, golf, and ran on the cross country team. For fun, Mr. Caley enjoyed competing in the Knowledge Bowl each year at Olympic High.

After graduating from high school in 1989, Mr. Caley joined the Army to serve his country and also finance his education. After a two year commitment that took him to both Georgia and Kentucky, Mr. Caley attended Western Washington University, where he received his undergraduate degree as a History major with a minor in Political Science. At the time, Mr. Caley was considering a career in law or international relations, leading him to accept an offer to work for the United Nations Development Program in New Delhi, India.

In New Delhi, Mr. Caley worked to secure rights for women by reviewing bills proposed by government officials in India and articulating them to his colleagues in the UN. He also worked to protect the tiger and rhinoceros population in India by meeting with villagers there to ensure that their needs were met. Although Mr. Caley did his share to help the people of India, he began to realize that the greatest impact he could make in society was to educate children. At that moment, Mr. Caley decided to become a teacher and moved to Hiroshima, Japan, the same place he had visited as an exchange student in high school. Mr. Caley enjoyed living and teaching in Japan, but he also wanted to further his education, so he eventually returned home to Washington to attend the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. There, Mr. Caley not only received his graduate degree in Secondary Education with an emphasis on History and English, he also met his future wife, who was born and raised in Hawaii.

When Mrs. Caley was offered a teaching position at her alma mater, Punahou School, Mr. Caley chose to support her by moving to Hawaii and leaving his job as a teacher at Clover Park School, a CES school in Lakewood, Washington. Soon after, Mr. Caley began searching for an Essential School in Hawaii to work at and immediately found Maryknoll School. Betsey Gunderson and Darcie Kawamura, former Principal and Vice Principal of Maryknoll School, were delighted to find someone with experience working in an Essential School. More importantly, they also recognized they had found someone dedicated to serving others. For that reason, Mr. Caley was offered the position of history teacher at Maryknoll School and has thrived here for the last eight years as a teacher, coach, and leader.

When asked what his fondest memories are of Maryknoll School, Mr. Caley needed some time to think. For him, there have been many incredible moments at Maryknoll School. From coaching our basketball team to an upset win in the state playoffs, to watching his students present their Senior Projects in front of the entire school, to conversations about history with former Maryknoll graduate, teacher and principal Jared Kaufman, to stepping in as Interim Vice-Principal, Mr. Caley has found himself a very good fit here at Maryknoll School and he is delighted to be here.

Today, Mr. Caley enjoys spending time with his wife and two children at home in Mililani. He proudly wears his Seattle Seahawks attire each day to school and is amazed by the school spirit that has been growing steadily in the last few years here at Maryknoll. Mr. Caley sees a bright future for Maryknoll School and is honored to be a part of a team that prides itself on living the motto Noblesse Oblige by serving others here in Hawaii and throughout the world, much the same way he has his entire life.

Thank you Mr. Caley for being a part of our Maryknoll family.   

Maryknoll Team Competes in 2014 Hawaii Science Bowl

     Seniors Shane Bassett, Michaela Yamashita, Heather Acidera, Xavier Imperial and Junior Matthew Choy competed in the 2014 Hawaii Science Bowl on January 25, 2014 at Honolulu Community College. Twenty teams participated in 16-minute buzzer rounds.  The Maryknoll Team was matched with teams from Roosevelt, Miliani, Hanalani and Waipahu High School in the Honua division.

     Beginning in 1994, the Hawaii Science Bowl encourages student involvement in math and science activities, grooming them for future successes in science and math career fields.

Mrs. Lily Lu’s Class Visits the Taiyuan Puppet Theater Company

     Our 10th grade Mandarin students from Mrs. Lily Lu’s class visited the Taiyuan Puppet Theater Company on Monday, January 27th at the East West Center. To complement their studies, the students learned about the world of Chinese puppetry and Taiwanese Glove Puppets, as part of a collection from the Lin Liu-Hsin Museum in Taiwan.  The World of Chinese Puppets Exhibition runs from January through May 11, 2014. Please visit for more information.

Living Noblesse Oblige - Mason Donald - High School Teacher of the Week

            Much like our students, each teacher at Maryknoll School is uniquely special. As for English teacher Mason Donald, his wealth of talents and interests, experiences in life, and most of all, his passion for teaching and learning makes him invaluable.

            Mr. Donald was born and raised in Kailua, Kona. He attended Kealakehe School from Kindergarten to the 12th grade. In high school, he was president of the math team, a member of the student council, and also participated as an athlete on the track and field team. In addition to his busy school life, Mr. Donald spent his teenage years working on various farms planting tomato, coffee, and hydroponic lettuce. At the age of fifteen, Mr. Donald began practicing Hinduism by meditating, chanting, praying, and taking part in discussions as part of a small Sangha, or Hindu community, on the Big Island. When it was time for Mr. Donald to decide which college to attend, he made the hard choice of turning down his acceptance into Boston College and other universities on the U.S. Mainland to stay close to home and continue practicing his Hindu faith by attending the University of Hawaii-Manoa. He originally wanted to study law; however, Mr. Donald chose instead to expose himself to several topics of study.

            At the University of Hawaii-Manoa, Mr. Donald was inspired by his English 101 professor to become a teacher. Soon after, Mr. Donald made the choice to attain a BA degree in English, Religion and Anthropology. During that time, Mr. Donald continued to work while attending college as a desk receptionist at UH for four years and later as a waiter at Spices on King Street. When it was time for him to begin working on his graduate degree, Mr. Donald chose to stay at UH and eventually received an MA degree in English with a focus on Composition and Rhetoric. Fortunately for Mr. Donald, his hard work soon paid off after receiving notification that he was hired by Maryknoll School to teach English after long-time Maryknoll teacher Diane Lee made the decision to retire.

            For Mr. Donald, Maryknoll School has been a perfect fit. Besides the many friends and colleagues he has made at Maryknoll School, Mr. Donald enjoys being with his students and appreciates the fact that Maryknoll’s identity is centered on the idea of serving others and exploring the teachings of God. He has taught many courses since working here, including, World Literature, Literature through Film, Creative Writing, Science Fiction, and Writing for College. As for his hobbies, Mr. Donald spends his free time hiking, reading, enjoying good food, and watching movies. Of the many accomplishments his students have achieved, he is most proud of the fact that they continue the work of former English Teacher Frankie Lucas through the publishing of one of the oldest high school publications in Hawaii called The Toad. As the Advisor of the literary magazine The Toad for the past several years, Mr. Donald has collected original works of art created by Maryknoll students and has showcased them in our own literary magazine each year. Now, for the second year in a row, The Toad has won the American Scholastic Press Association’s Most Outstanding High School Literary Art Magazine Award thanks to the dedication Mr. Donald and his students have put forth.

By sharing his unique qualities, strong work ethic, and desire to help our students achieve, Mr. Donald truly exemplifies our school motto of Noblesse Oblige. Thank you Mr. Donald for being a part of our Maryknoll family.   

Living Noblesse Oblige - Shawn Higa - High School Teacher of the Week

            When students who are new to Maryknoll read the name Shawn Higa on their schedules, they often believe this math teacher is a male due to the spelling of her first name. However, Ms. Higa’s fun-loving personality finds her students’ reactions amusing when they discover on the first day of the school that their assumptions about her gender is incorrect. Even after meeting Ms. Higa, students are amazed to see there is more to this math teacher than meets the eye.

            Ms. Higa grew up on the island of Oahu in Wahiawa. She stayed close to home during her childhood years by attending Wahiawa Elementary and Middle School and eventually graduating from Leilehua High School.  What comes as a surprise to some is that Ms. Higa is also an athlete who played soccer, volleyball and cross country in high school. Aside from excelling in sports, her dream was to become a teacher after finding inspiration from a math teacher named Mr. Fukuda. Ms. Higa can still recall Mr. Fukuda’s intense approach to teaching in her Trigonometry class during her sophomore year of high school. He would often bang his hands on the wall and say “I love this stuff!” all the while sweating because he was so passionate about learning math.

When it was time to start thinking about college, Mrs. Higa knew she wanted to study in the field of education and also play soccer for the university she attended. Unfortunately, she was injured in her senior year of high school and did not receive the scholarship offers in soccer that some thought may have come her way. For that reason, Ms. Higa attended the University of Hawaii and tried to make the soccer team there as a walk on while working towards a degree in education. At the University of Hawaii, Ms. Higa eventually attained an undergraduate degree in Education with an emphasis in teaching math and a graduate degree in Curriculum Development. Due to her athletic ability, steady work ethic and perseverance, Ms. Higa made the UH soccer team as a walk on and helped take the UH Wahine soccer team to its first WAC title.

While working on her Master’s degree at UH, Ms. Higa began teaching math for three consecutive summers at Maryknoll High School. During that time, Ms. Higa proved to be a competent teacher with a bright future as an educator. For that reason, she was offered a position at Maryknoll School as an Algebra and Geometry teacher and she has been here now for three years honing her craft with the help of wonderful mentors like Lance Suzuki and others. Today, you will find her creating rigorous and relevant activities for her students like challenging them to create their own dream home by applying the lessons they’ve learned in geometry class. Ms. Higa has always been a winner and we are proud to have her on our winning team here at Maryknoll High School. By fully developing and sharing her talents with others, Ms. Higa truly exemplifies our school motto of Noblesse Oblige.

Living Noblesse Oblige - William McFeeley - High School Teacher of the Week


            Much like the Maryknoll Sisters, one common theme found among our faculty members at Maryknoll School is their desire to help others. Since 1992, Mr. William McFeeley has been more than just a science teacher at Maryknoll School. Mr. McFeeley takes pride in the many things he has done along with his students to make a difference in the lives of people here in Hawaii and elsewhere.

            Mr. McFeeley grew up in the town of Nanakuli on Oahu. He attended both Nana I Ka Pono Elementary and Nanakuli High School. As a teenager, Mr. McFeeley became interested in learning about the environment. After hearing that Oregon State University offered excellent courses in environmental studies, he chose to attend college there. After nearly eighteen months of studying in Oregon, Mr. McFeeley made the decision to move back to Hawaii to find a new topic of study that would allow him to be of better service to others. While attending the University of Hawaii, Mr. McFeeley discovered something that would change his life forever. He found his passion for teaching.

            Mr. McFeeley eventually graduated at the University of Hawaii with a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education and a specialization in Science. However, prior to graduating, Mr. McFeeley felt that his years in public school did not adequately provide him with the metacognitive skills he needed to be successful in learning. In other words, he was not taught to learn how he himself learns best. After many hours of study in college, Mr. McFeeley utilized his strengths to create study habits that led to an incredible experience for him in school and he wanted others to share that same feeling as students. Specifically, he wanted to return to Nanakuli High School as a teacher to share this new knowledge with the students there so they would not have to face the same challenges he did after graduating from high school. Fortunately, Mr. McFeeley did exactly that after graduating from college and worked as a middle and high school science teacher at Nanakuli High School. There, he implemented the FAST (Future Achievers of Science and Technology) science program, where he created much of the materials and lesson plans needed for his students to take part in it. However, he soon discovered that may of his students were too distracted by their involvement in fights, gambling, and other unfortunate activities that kept them from focusing on their studies as he had asked them to. After being discouraged by this as a teacher, he spent some time working outside of the educational field. Nevertheless, his passion for helping others as a teacher led him to determine that he would be a better fit as a teacher in a private school setting. Soon afterwards, Mr. McFeeley interviewed with Maryknoll School and has been a science teacher here ever since.  

            After being hired at Maryknoll, Mr. McFeeley entered Maryknoll students into many contests including the HAIS Science Fair and various robotics competitions. In retrospect, he is most proud of what he and his students have done to assist others in our community and around the world. Among their many charitable works, Mr. McFeeley and his former advisory students collected water bottles each day in school and used the money attained from that to sponsor a child living in poverty in Africa. Although his advisory students have moved on after graduating from Maryknoll, Mr. McFeeley continues to contribute money to this child who is now twelve years old.

            Today, Mr. McFeeley is Science Department Chairperson at Maryknoll School and works very hard to enter his students into robotics competitions as seen in the picture above. In addition, Mr. McFeeley takes time to teach our students not only the content involved in studying science, he also teaches his students how to become successful learners in school that give back to their communities whenever possible. By teaching our Maryknoll students these lessons, Mr. McFeeley truly does carry on our legacy of Noblesse Oblige.

2014 Wo Summer Study Abroad Program

Senior Lorelei Zabanal considers her selection as a 2013 Wo Study Abroad Scholar a risk and a blessing.

"Of all the places in the world, Africa would usually not be one's first pick of destination," said Lorelei. "This was the most ambitious thing I've ever done. During my stay, I took cold showers daily, washed my own clothes, witnessed Muslims practicing Ramadan, walked everywhere, and rarely had internet."

Lorelei was one of four Maryknoll students who participated in last summer's study abroad program. Since 2012, Maryknoll School has participated in Punahou School's Wo International Center's Summer Study Abroad program offering juniors and sophomores a unique educational opportunity in service and global citizenship by visiting countries such as Africa, China, Japan and Costa Rica.

"Living and learning in a country thousands of miles away from home helped me to push past my comfort zone," said Lorelei. "I loved spending time with people in a culture so different from mine. My favorite part of the trip was simply spending time with my host family. It was fun trying to communicate with kids who spoke a different language; neither of us understood the other. I realized that speech is not always needed - I could still have fun with the kids by playing games with them, eating, dancing, or even going to the beach by my house."

The Wo Scholars returned from their destinations world travelers, critical thinkers and inspired to dedicate themselves to a profession of service.

"Having a first-hand experience with this kind of lifestyle made me realize that I'm incredibly blessed to live in America and to have so many opportunities," said Lorelei. "Noblesse oblige - the best way to thank everyone for what I have been given is by giving back to the greater community. One day, I want to join a nonprofit organization working to better the conditions of developing countries. I hope to share my knowledge and talents with others, and provide them with resources previously out of their reach."

Applications and details for the 2014 Wo Summer Study Abroad program are available online and in the front office. Students must complete an application and write a brief essay demonstrating their interest in participating in the program. Application deadline is Friday, January 17, 2014.

For more information, please contact Glenn Medeiros, Vice Principal of Academics and Faculty at 952-7203 or


Rigorous and Relevant 21st Century Learning – Art Through History with Ms. Lee


      In November, Ms. Lee took her Art Through History students to the Honolulu Museum of Arts. The students selected a work of art they connected with for their Formal Analysis essay. Along with their essay, students also analyzed the museum in a reflection by looking how the exhibitions were set up (lighting, space, arrangement of art works). The students turned in their Formal Analysis essays the next week. In their Formal Analysis, students analyzed their selected art work in terms of color, line, composition, style, depth, space, etc. Three of her students chose works by local Hawaii artist Ryan Higa. His works are found in an Artists of Hawaii 2013 exhibition.

     After such a positive response from her students, Ms. Lee emailed Mr. Higa and told him about how her students responded to his work and he was more than welcome to visit her students. While visiting them, he spoke about his work (and projected images of them), his art process, being an artist in Hawaii and answered all our students’ questions. He even drew one of his characters from his art work on the white board. He also asked Ms. Lee for the formal analyses from the students who chose his work. Ms. Lee sent him the documents and he responded thoughtfully to their work. Below is one segment of that email:

“Kahealani’s essay is very thorough and insightful.  I’m glad that she’s able to identify and read the multiple layers that are in the work.  And despite not knowing exactly what story was being told, she was able to bring her own experience and imagination into the work and find meaning.  That’s not something that everyone is able to do when experiencing art.  I also liked how Sean thought that ‘Lovely Keeps’ may have looked like faces ‘moaning in sorrow’.  Unexpected readings like that are often the most fun and helpful for me to hear.”

     By exposing her students to various forms of visual art in real-world settings and challenging them to interpret them accurately utilizing the skills and content they learned in class, Ms. Lee has provided both a rigorous and relevant lesson for her students. Mahalo Ms. Lee for all of your hard work.

Living Noblesse Oblige - Captain Christopher Ugale - High School Teacher of the Week

            Many people are not aware that it was once mandatory of for all male students at Maryknoll School to join the Civil Air Patrol. After a twenty year hiatus, thanks to the work of President Martin, Major General Wong, Col. John Henry Felix, Col. Jeffrey Wong, Darcie Kawamura and several others, the Civil Air Patrol is back at Maryknoll School offering opportunities to both male and female students to serve their community, learn about aeronautics, and become 21st century leaders as CAP cadets. The most important step in the process of bringing back the Civil Air Patrol to Maryknoll successfully was to find the perfect CAP instructor. Luckily for Maryknoll, Captain Christopher Ugale has spent almost his entire life preparing for this opportunity and agreed to take the challenge this year of bringing back CAP to Maryknoll School.

            Christopher Ugale spent his childhood years growing up in Kaneohe attending St. Ann’s School from Pre-Kindergarten to the 8th grade. He continued his education at Saint Louis School where he found his passion to become a leader. In preparation for that goal, Capt. Ugale served his school and community in various capacities as class president and member of the drill team, color guard, Kings Guard, JROTC, and CAP. Before graduating, Capt. Ugale made the choice to become a pilot and study criminology. After being accepted into several universities, Capt. Ugale chose to stay close to his family and attend Chaminade University to study criminology and attain his pilot license. While in college, Capt. Ugale worked for Hawaiian Airlines and later at Proactive Technologies as a Tactical Video Capturing Systems Operator. While working at the latter, Capt. Ugale was approached by high ranking CAP members to instruct our new Maryknoll cadets. Although he seriously considered becoming a remote piloted aircraft pilot in the Air Force, Capt. Ugale ultimately chose Maryknoll School instead.

            In his short time at Maryknoll School, Capt. Ugale has done much with our cadets. By teaching classes Monday through Friday and sometimes on the weekends, Capt. Ugale invests much of his time creating the best possible learning environment for our CAP cadets. From assisting our veterans at the Hale Koa Hotel and the Hawaii State Veteran’s Ceremony, to attending leadership training seminars at the Pacific Aviation Center and the U.S.S. Missouri, to serving our school through presentations of our country’s colors and assisting with parking at several Maryknoll events, feedback has been pouring in about how our CAP cadets are growing as leaders who represent Maryknoll well. In the near future, Maryknoll students will be meeting with politicians and famous CAP members in Washington D.C., attending military balls, taking part in our own Maryknoll School Drill Team and will eventually fly planes too.

            Captain Ugale understands fully through his many years of education in Catholic institutions of learning that the core of what makes a Catholic School special is its ability to provide our youth with the modeling needed for them to learn to live like Jesus did by serving others. CAP provides our students more opportunities to serve our community much like Captain Ugale has done his entire life. We are thankful that Captain Ugale is now a member of our Maryknoll family and we pray that he will continue to inspire our students to be the 21st century leaders, learners and citizens of character we expect them to be.

Living Noblesse Oblige - Cari Ann Honda - High School Teacher of the Week

             If people look closely, they will discover that many teachers working at Maryknoll are former alumni of the school.  What others may not know is that several of our teachers were born and raised outside of Oahu. In particular, a few of them grew up on the outer islands of Hawaii. One example of this is our current Teacher of the Week, Ms. Cari Ann Honda.

            Ms. Honda was born on Maui and attained her education there at Wailuku Elementary School and later at Baldwin High School. At a very young age, Ms. Honda knew she wanted to be a teacher much like her mother and father. However, it was not until she met her high school chemistry teacher that Ms. Honda found her passion for chemistry. When it was time for her to graduate from high school, Ms. Honda chose to attend the University of Hawaii at Manoa and eventually attained a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education with Chemistry as her focus of study.

            As part of the certification process in becoming a teacher, Ms. Honda worked at Farrington High School instructing students in chemistry there. Although her experience working at Farrington High School was extremely valuable, she feels very blessed that Maryknoll High School offered her a teaching position as a chemistry teacher soon after she graduated from college. Ms. Honda is now in her second year of teaching at Maryknoll High School and works very hard to make learning chemistry as exciting as it was for her when she became fascinated with the subject as a teenager in high school on Maui.  

            Ms. Honda believes that Maryknoll School provides her students a safe environment in a community of caring people. She has not been at Maryknoll very long, but she already feels like a part of the Spartan family thanks to the close relationships she has built with members of our faculty and staff. She appreciates working in an educational institution where she has the freedom to create new ideas and implement them in her classroom.  It is not unusual to find Ms. Honda at Maryknoll several hours after school each day writing lesson plans and developing lab activities for her students. In the picture above, Ms. Honda helps her students understand chemistry by teaching them to use a Calorimeter to find out how much caloric energy is found in certain foods. Students are then challenged to build their own Calorimeters to make their learning more rigorous and relevant.      

            The spirit of Noblesse Oblige is found in Ms. Honda because she has dedicated her life to serve others in the field of education, much like her father and mother. Growing up, Ms. Honda witnessed her parents working late nights and on weekends correcting student work and developing lesson plans and was perfectly aware of the sacrifices they made as teachers to educate our youth. However, Ms. Honda stayed focus on her goal of becoming a teacher since she made the choice to take that career path in elementary school and is now making a great difference in the lives of our students here at Maryknoll. Thank you Ms. Honda for being a part of our Maryknoll family.  

Living Noblesse Oblige - Eilliott Chamizo - High School Teacher of the Week

                    One of our goals at Maryknoll School has always been to produce servant leaders. In the case of Elliott Chamizo, graduate of the class of 1961 and current English teacher at Maryknoll School, his life has been one of a leader, teacher and educator throughout the world.

            Mr. Chamizo grew up in Honolulu and attended St. Augustine Grade School in Waikiki. When it was time to attend high school, he was interviewed by Sister Margaret James, former Principal at Maryknoll High School, who told him that he would be a perfect fit for the school. Soon after, he was accepted to Maryknoll where he learned from the sisters there the power of serving others. After graduating from Maryknoll, he attended Seattle University in Washington where he received an undergraduate degree in Speech and Journalism.

            Inspired by the Maryknoll Sisters and President John F. Kennedy, Mr. Chamizo joined the Peace Corps in 1966 and was sent to Belize (formerly British Honduras) in Central America where he met once again with the Maryknoll Sisters who were serving the people in bordering Guatemala. He began his work there in an all-girls Catholic school in Belize City called St. Catherine’s Academy where he taught Business Education. Once he experienced what it was like to be a teacher, he made the decision to leave behind his original goal of someday becoming a newspaper reporter or journalist and focus on becoming the best teacher he could be. For that reason, he joined the National Teacher Corps after his time was completed with the Peace Corps and earned his graduate degree in Education at San Francisco State University in California. While there, he taught at Sanchez Elementary School in San Francisco, but his desire to assist others around the world once again led him to Germany. There, Mr. Chamizo was a teacher for three years at Neubrucke American School and a principal for another five in Kerpen American Elementary School near Cologne, Germany. Eventually, his family needed his assistance here in Hawaii, so Mr. Chamizo chose to return home. During that time, Sister Dolores Rosso was in the process of retiring as Alumni Director and Mr. Chamizo was asked to take over the position. Although he enjoyed his experience working with alumni, he missed being in the classroom as a teacher. A teaching position opened up at Maryknoll High School soon after and Mr. Chamizo has been teaching English here ever since 1981.

Mr. Chamizo has served as Yearbook Advisor during all of his years at Maryknoll School. Of the many memories he has of Maryknoll, he is thankful to many of the Maryknoll Sisters who inspired him in many ways. He also takes pleasure in staying in contact with many of his former students through taking part in lunches, dinners, weddings, and baptisms. Unfortunately, he has also had to attend the funerals of some of his former students. In particular, he misses his good friend and former colleague Jared Kaufmann, who spent time with him at Maryknoll High School as a student, fellow teacher, and mentor. Mr. Chamizo also has fond memories of working with Mary Beth Sandla (former Drama teacher), Diane Pike-Bourne (English Dept. teacher and former Peace Corps volunteer), James Wong (former Math teacher and Peace Corps volunteer) and Sister Philip Neri.

            It is easy to see Mr. Chamizo continuing to live the spirit of Noblesse Oblige as seen in the picture above at this year’s Maryknoll Alumni Memorial Mass. Like each candle lit for every Maryknoll graduate that has passed on, Mr. Chamizo reminds us who came before us, who we are, and the servant leaders we know our future graduates will be.

Maryknoll Represented at the 2013 National Federation for Catholic Youth Conference

Three of our Spartans, Natalie Kamada, Jedd Andrade, and Angelica Bustamente attended the National Federation for Catholic Youth Conference (NYCY) in Indianapolis from November 21 to 23. At the conference, over 23,000 high school age youth and their chaperones from around the country heard presentations by leading speakers on various topics including prayer, the sacraments, social justice, servant leadership, cultural diversity, transitioning to college, and more. Students also engaged in a wide variety of service activities. Congratulations to Natalie, Angelica and Jedd, who are living out Maryknoll School’s motto Noblesse Oblige, “to whom much is given, much is expected.”

Living Noblesse Oblige - Jennifer Bauer - High School Teacher of the Week

           Perseverance is a word often associated with our Maryknoll Sisters. The same can be said for many of our teachers at Maryknoll School. In particular, Mrs. Bauer, Academic Dean of Religion and Cultural Expression and Spanish language teacher has persevered in life by raising her two children, learning a new language, attaining a graduate degree, and becoming a school leader.  

            Jennifer Bauer was born in Guam, but lived in places like the Philippines, Nebraska, and Illinois until she returned to Guam to graduate from high school. There, Mrs. Bauer knew she would someday be a teacher, but she did not know exactly what she would teach. She loved acting and thought someday may be a drama teacher; however, after marrying at a young age, she made the decision to dedicate herself to raising her two children before finishing college.

            When the time was right for her family, Mrs. Bauer decided to finish her college degree. Although she enjoyed theater, Mrs. Bauer also felt a great desire to learn Spanish. After initially attending Gonzaga University, she completed her undergraduate degree as a Spanish major at the University of Hawaii. Soon after, she worked at UH teaching Spanish 101 and 102 and eventually attained her graduate degree in Spanish Literature after also completing graduate work in Oaxaca, Mexico. While working as a graduate assistant, one of Mrs. Bauer’s former classmates told her that Maryknoll School was looking for a Spanish Teacher. Seven years later, she not only teaches Spanish at Maryknoll, she also oversees our Language, Religion, and Art Departments as Academic Dean.

            Mrs. Bauer has many delightful memories during her years at Maryknoll School. From taking her Spanish students on a service learning trip to Costa Rica to visiting various countries in Europe with them, Mrs. Bauer enjoys most the people she works with on a daily basis at Maryknoll School, including her students, teachers and especially her two children Kani and Sage. She holds great admiration for the work our Campus Ministry does and supports them whenever she can as an Emmaus and Kairos leader. She also appreciates teaching in an Essential School like Maryknoll because of the block system used that allows for deeper learning. As a leader, Mrs. Bauer has led the Senate and presented at the ACTFL conference.

            Mrs. Bauer is living Noblesse Oblige because she is a shining example to others of what someone can do with hard work, dedication, leadership, and most of all, perseverance. Thank you Mrs. Bauer for your leadership. We are blessed to have you on our team. 

Living Noblesse Oblige - Deanne Lee- High School Teacher of the Week

Deanne Lee

            Sometimes people spend their entire lives reaching for their dreams without ever experiencing them. In the case of Deanne Lee, she knew exactly what her goal was after graduating from Maryknoll High School and worked hard to make her vision of becoming a history teacher at her alma mater a reality.

            Deanne Lee entered Maryknoll Grade School as a fifth grader and thoroughly enjoyed her years as a student there prior to becoming a freshman. However, it was her experience in high school that led her to eventually become a teacher. In particular, three teachers at Maryknoll High School made all the difference. Fortunately for us, all three people are still employed at Maryknoll High School. According to Deanne, “Mrs. Kawamura, Mrs. Morey, and Mr. Suzuki were amazing teachers that inspired me to become a history teacher at Maryknoll School.”

            When Ms. Lee graduated from high school, she knew that she would study history at the University of Hawaii with the hope of one day teaching that subject at Maryknoll School. In particular, Ms. Lee loved studying art history and travelled to various countries in Europe during her college years to see in person the artwork she loved so much as part of an educational opportunity the University of Hawaii provided its students at the time. After graduating with a BA in History, Deanne continued her studies at the University of Hawaii and attained a graduate degree in Secondary Education with a focus in History. Soon after, Ms. Lee was hired by Maryknoll School as a teacher. Deanne currently teaches American History and Art History at Maryknoll High School and is enjoying every moment of it.

            Ms. Lee says that her years as a student at Maryknoll School shaped her character and prepared her academically for college and for life. Today, she works hard to emulate the teachers who provided her those same opportunities. When Ms. Lee is not writing lesson plans or correcting papers, she spends her free time reading, writing, ballroom dancing, and cooking.

            Deanne Lee is living our motto of Noblesse Oblige by giving back to the school that has brought her so much. As seen in the picture above at the Honolulu Museum of Art, Ms. Lee’s students are captivated by all they are learning from her. Thank you Ms. Lee for choosing to return to Maryknoll and for making the commitment to inspire others in much the same way your teachers at Maryknoll did for you.     

Living Noblesse Oblige - William Rauckhorst - High School Teacher of the Week

            It is rare to hear the words Honolulu and Cleveland spoken in the same sentence because both are often seen as polar opposites. However, we at Maryknoll High School are proud to have adopted a Cleveland native here in Hawaii as our math teacher and his name is William Rauckhorst.

            Mr. Rauckhorst spent his first ten years of life in Cleveland, Ohio. When his father was offered a position with Catholic Charities here on Oahu, Mr. Rauckhorst soon found himself living on the island of Oahu attending Star of the Sea School before eventually graduating from Iolani School with a desire to study engineering or math. Mr. Rauckhorst then attended Santa Clara University, where he attained his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering. For the next five years, Mr. Rauckhorst was employed at two engineering firms here in Hawaii doing work both for Hawaiian Electric and Pearl Harbor.

            Although Mr. Rauckhorst was compensated well for the work he did as an engineer, he did not find his job fulfilling. In fact, he had previously thought of becoming a math teacher at the high school level, but those close to him had successfully persuaded him to continue on the engineering path. In time, Mr. Rauckhorst made the decision to take a leap of faith and become a high school teacher. His first choice was Maryknoll School and he has found much happiness teaching math here.

            Mr. Rauckhorst personifies what it means to live the spirit of Noblesse Oblige because he chose to put others before himself by becoming a teacher and leaving his engineering career to inspire students to love learning math. Like the Maryknoll Sisters, Mr. Rauckhorst believes in the Maryknoll mission. This past summer Mr. Rauckhorst took part in that mission by spending three weeks on the island of Majuro in the Marshall Islands educating Marshallese students there along with our Maryknoll students. Although Mr. Rauckhorst has only been teaching here for two years, he has already shown a strong commitment to Maryknoll and we are blessed to have him as a part of the Maryknoll family. 

Come to the Cabaret

After classes, student performers from the high school walk a couple of blocks down Punahou Street to Central Union Church to rehearse for Spartan Cabaret 2013.

"Spartan Cabaret is a showcase of student talent through singing, acting, music and dancing," said stage manager and director's assistant, Gwendilyn Liu. "There will be a lot of Broadway songs, show tunes, freestyle breakdancing, Hula and then I think we're going to have some classical music."

"I'm excited," said choreographer and performer Kani Severson. "This year we are reviving a lot of what we did my freshman year. A lot of the songs are the same, but it's a totally different set list.  I choreographed a few numbers."

This year's show in particular stirs emotions of excitement and melancholy for seniors Gwendilyn and Kani. Spartan Cabaret is the first of several final performances for them at Maryknoll School.

"It's a little bittersweet," said Gwendilyn. "We do have a senior song. So all of the seniors are going to go up and sing. There are about four, five seniors who have been performing since freshman year and even before that when the grade school did cabaret with us."

If there's one thing director and drama teacher, Elitei Tatafu, Jr., has taught them and the other performers, it's to give their all with each performance, on-stage and off.

"When I entered cabaret, I looked up to Mr. Tatafu. I still look up to him a lot," said Kani. "He has been a super huge influence in my whole evolution as an actor and performer. I owe him a lot. I'm in community theatre a lot, and he's very involved in that community too. We were joking because sometime soon we're going to be (performing) as equals. It's going to be funny."

'Life is a cabaret ol' chum so come to the Cabaret." ~ Cabaret (1972)

Spartan Cabaret performances will be at Central Union Church on Fri., Nov 22 at 4:00 pm; Sat, Nov 23 at 6:00 pm; and Sun., Nov 24 at 4:00 pm. General Admission: $5; Students/Teachers: $2.

Living Noblesse Oblige - Ashley Putnam - High School Teacher of the Week

Living Noblesse Oblige

Being there for others is the Maryknoll way. As Maryknoll School’s athletic trainer and teacher, Ashley Putnam lives that mission each and every day by assisting our Maryknoll athletes when they are injured and also teaching them what it takes to live a healthy lifestyle.

Ms. Putnam is new to Maryknoll School, but she has spent many years preparing for the position she currently holds as athletic trainer. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Ms. Putnam graduated from high school as a cross country, track, and diving star with the hope of someday becoming an athletic trainer. To achieve the goal of both studying and being an athlete in college, Ms. Putnam enrolled into Denison University in Granville, Ohio where she attained her undergraduate degree in Athletic Training while competing in cross country and track for her school. Immediately after graduating, Ms. Putnam successfully completed her certification exam to become an athletic trainer and began looking for schools to continue her education with. She applied to the University of Hawaii with the hope of being accepted into their graduate program to study kinesiology. Soon after, she was accepted and moved to Hawaii. Once here, she applied to Maryknoll School to be our athletic trainer and this is her first year as a faculty member.

During the school day, Ms. Putnam teaches upperclassmen at the high school a course called Healthy Lifestyles. Wanting to create lessons that are rigorous and relevant, Ms. Putnam challenges her students to develop a one-week diet and exercise plan they can use when they go to college that will help them to avoid what students affectionately call the “Freshmen Fifteen.” To do this, students are also asked to utilize computer software to track quantitative data in the form of calories to develop a personalized plan based on their own specific needs. Students will be presenting their plans to parents as part of their final exhibition.

            Ms. Putnam’s day is not complete at the end of each school day. Immediately after school, Ms. Putnam attends as many sporting events as possible to provide our Maryknoll students the assistance they need to prevent injuries and help them when they are injured. Ms. Putnam can’t make it to every athletic event, but she has analyzed the data in relation to each sport played at Maryknoll and the injuries that occur in each respective level. When choosing what sporting event to attend, she uses this data to help her make the best decision possible.

            What Ms. Putnam loves most are our students. She feels very welcomed since arriving here at Maryknoll and is often surprised at how well our students treat her. Ms. Putnam sees the potential of our athletic teams and is very excited about the year to come. We at Maryknoll are equally excited to have Ms. Putnam as a member of our team.


2013 ILH Varsity Kayaking Champion - Micah McGivern

Maryknoll School is proud to celebrate our Spartan champion, Micah McGivern! Congrats to high school student McGivern who is the 2013 ILH Varsity Kayaking Champion. Micah was also awarded a medal for being the overall ILH Sprint Kayaking champ. He had an undefeated season in both the sprint and distance. We are very proud of him! Here he is pictured with him mom and Maryknoll High School teacher, Mrs. Heidi McGivern.

Rigorous and Relevant 21st Century Learning – Learning to Fly


The photo above shows a Maryknoll student with his quad helicopter. He and his partner built it from scratch.  The only thing bought from a store was balsawood.  Everything else they gathered was available in school:

  • Old Capsella kit motors
  • Recycled Styrofoam
  • Robotics batteries
  • Electrical wires
  • Duct tape

The quad helicopter did not fly, but it came close!  When all four motors were powered up, there was enough lift to reduce friction, causing the helicopter to start rotating clockwise. Some may see this result as a disappointment, but Dr. G. believes getting as far as they did was an accomplishment in itself.  

Below are a few examples of the rigorous learning of advanced ideas that took place in Dr. G’s Aeronautics class in the First Quarter of the 2013-2014 school year.

  • Electric circuits – the students tried out various types of batteries.  They learned about Ohm’s law (relating current, resistance, and voltage).  They learned about series circuits (the more motors you connect to the circuit, the slower they move because each motor shares the same voltage, so the voltage gets divided).  They learned how to overcome this by using multiple power sources.
  • Angular momentum – The helicopter started to rotate clockwise when powered.  That is in reaction to the motors, which were spinning counter clockwise.
  • Lift, and more electric circuits – When the motors were first connected, there was air blowing upward.  Students realized that to get lift, you need the wind to go downward.  They figured out that they needed to reverse the polarity connecting the motors to the batteries.
  • Right and Left handed propellers – Did you know that propellers come in right-handed and left-handed varieties?  In order to keep the helicopters from spinning, you need to counter-rotate opposite pairs of motors.  But if you use all right-handed propellers, one will push up while the other will push down.  The solution: you need propellers twisted in opposite directions.

The concepts above are difficult to learn by simply reading, writing, and talking about them.  By working on projects like these, students learn these new ideas by creating products they are familiar with, thus making their learning both rigorous and relevant.

Thank you Dr. G. for providing our Maryknoll students that opportunity. 

Living Noblesse Oblige - Dr. Eugene Guillian - High School Teacher of the Week


Have you ever wondered what it would be like to learn physics and aeronautics in high school from a physicist educated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who has worked in underground labs around the world collecting particles of atoms and detecting neutrinos? Maryknoll students can answer that question very easily because the teacher they affectionately call “Dr. G” fits the description above perfectly.

Born and raised in Japan, Dr. G. graduated from high school at American School in Japan with the hope of studying physics or math in college. Dr. G. attended Pamona College to study physics, but he did not feel challenged by what he was learning there and applied soon after to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to study physics. Although Dr. G. felt for the first time like he was an average student in most of his classes, he continued to excel in school. When he completed his undergraduate degree in physics at MIT, he immediately wanted to become a high school teacher; however, he was influenced by many others to become a researcher and eventually attained his Ph. D. from Michigan University.

Dr. G’s career soon sent him around the world. He conducted research at the Fermi Laboratory in Chicago maintaining a shutter mechanism that collects particles of atoms. He then continued his research as a Research Associate at the University of Maryland. Later, he worked in an underground lab in an old zinc mine in Japan detecting neutrinos in water. He was then hired briefly by the University of Hawaii to study cosmic rays and later worked underground again in a Canadian copper mine doing more research. After traveling so many miles working in various countries and states, Dr. G. finally made the decision to follow his heart and become a teacher by moving back to Hawaii and attaining his teaching certification.

When it was time for Dr. G. to make a decision about what school to teach at, Maryknoll School was one of the few willing to provide him that opportunity. After four years of teaching at Maryknoll, he is very happy with his decision to be at Maryknoll because he feels that Maryknoll School is serious about making teachers better and provides many opportunities for professional development. He also appreciates the relationships shared between teachers at Maryknoll and sees much potential in the students he teaches.

Like the Maryknoll Sisters who gave up much to serve others around the world, Dr. G. believes wealth does not always lead people to happiness. Instead, seeing students grow to become human beings that make a difference in society is what brings him joy. Thank you Dr. G. for living “Noblesse Oblige” by sharing your talents with our Maryknoll students as their physics and aeronautics teacher. 

Living Noblesse Oblige - Christopher Coats - High School Teacher of the Week

Chirstopher Coats

Attend any Maryknoll School event today and it is likely that you will find Christopher Coats behind the camera capturing many of the special moments shared between students, parents, and teachers at various ceremonies traditionally celebrated as part of the “Maryknoll Experience.” For almost 20 years at Maryknoll School, Mr. Coats has done much to identify, nurture and capture the talents of our students by teaching guitar, ukulele, general music, music appreciation, videography, film studies, photography, graphic arts, and more. For someone so dedicated to highlighting the achievements of others, it may be surprising to some that Mr. Coats is an extremely talented artist and athlete who could have spent his life in front of the camera. Instead, Mr. Coats has chosen the path of Noblesse Oblige by sharing his knowledge and talents with others and Maryknoll School has benefited from that decision.  

Mr. Coats spent his high school years in San Diego, California competing in skateboarding competitions, playing the guitar, and surfing.  When his father moved to Oahu, it was only natural that Mr. Coats followed him to Hawaii to study classical guitar at the University of Hawaii and spend his free time surfing in paradise. After a few years, Mr. Coats attained his undergraduate degree in Music Performance (Classical Guitar). After graduating, he immediately began teaching courses in classical guitar at the University of Hawaii, Mid-Pacific Institute, and Chaminade University. During that time, he also met the famous classical guitarist Carlos Barbosa-Lima and was inspired to analyze his arrangement and transcription techniques. This led Mr. Coats to eventually attain his graduate degree at the University of Hawaii in Music Theory.

While working on his degree in music theory and becoming certified in the Suzuki method of instruction, Mr. Coats met a few students from Maryknoll School and soon approached Andrew Corcoran, former principal at Maryknoll High School, to teach guitar. Mr. Corcoran, a fan of classical music, asked him to join Maryknoll soon after as a part-time teacher. One year later, Mr. Coats became a full-time instructor teaching General Music, Music Appreciation and Ukulele.

In time, teachers of technology-related courses left Maryknoll School and someone was needed to step in. Realizing Mr. Coats is a very talented artist, he was asked by the Administration to learn more about using computer-based software to teach courses like Film History and Photography. With the objective of training himself and others to use technology effectively in the classroom, Mr. Coats attained his second graduate degree in Educational Technology at the University of Hawaii in 2006. Now, Mr. Coats teaches exclusively technology-related courses that involve the creation of visual arts that include video/film production, the creation of websites, and more. Other teachers also benefit from his knowledge through individualized training sessions he provides them as they learn to create their own websites on Moodle. In the picture above, Mr. Coats is spreading his knowledge of creating film with teachers from across the state of Hawaii at the Schools of the Future conference at the Hawaii Convention Center on October 17 and 18, 2013.

              Mr. Coats has lived our motto of Noblesse Oblige by sharing his talents with Maryknoll School when called to do so. Many of his students have gone on to be successful musicians and artists through his tutelage with several of them winning contests with their video productions. Mr. Coats' dedication to extend himself professionally by teaching various courses and the sacrifices he made to educate himself accordingly were highly influenced through conversations he had with Maryknoll Sisters Patrice Kehoe and Rosario Daley, who taught him that people lead by example. For almost 20 years, Mr. Coats has led by example and although he is often hiding behind his camera, we recognize and appreciate what he has given and continues to provide Maryknoll.  

Living Noblesse Oblige - Lily Lu - High School Teacher of the Week

               Our Maryknoll Sisters left New York nearly a century ago to help “make God’s love visible” throughout the world. They started their work in China and eventually spread their mission throughout the continents of Asia, South America, Africa, and more. For Lily Lu, Maryknoll School’s Mandarin teacher for the last 31 years, she believes God’s desire for her was to be a bridge between the East and West. As a teacher, adjunct professor, and artist, her belief in noblesse oblige has helped her to accomplish that objective.

Born in China, Lily attended school both in Beijing and Taipei. After graduating from high school, she attended the Free Pacific English Institute in Saigon, Vietnam to perfect the English language. Soon, she moved to the islands and studied painting and drawing at the University of Hawaii, where she earned her undergraduate degree. After working as a fashion illustrator for The Ritz, Lily began focusing her energy on teaching Mandarin as a lecturer at the UH Principal of Guang Hwa Chinese Language School and as a part-time teacher at Maryknoll, Punahou, and Kamehameha Schools. Eventually, she chose Maryknoll to be her home and has been here ever since.

Lily has accomplished much in her life. She played an integral role in the creation of the First Chinese Church of Christ on Oahu. In addition to this, she received the Outstanding Teacher of the Year award from the Hawaii Association of Language Teachers in 1999.  She is most proud of her two sons. One of them currently works as a senior designer for Yahoo and the other is a police officer with the Hawaii Police Department.

Today, Mrs. Lu enjoys reading, listening to music, and traveling with her husband. She has many wonderful memories of Maryknoll School, including the various ways in which students have celebrated Chinese New Year and the accomplishments of her former students that have excelled after leaving Maryknoll School. In particular, Arron Wong was valedictorian for his class at UCLA, while some of her students attended the Hong Kong Technical College for Schooling. One student even started a successful lighting fixture business in Guangxi, China. In all, what she enjoys most is former students coming back to visit her after being away from Maryknoll School for many years. Even today, Mrs. Lu meets Maryknoll graduates for lunch in Chinatown for dim sum and talk-story sessions.

Mrs. Lu has lived our motto of Noblesse Oblige. Through the efforts of people like Lily, Maryknoll now offers Mandarin to students from kindergarten through the 12th grade. She has helped to build relationships between ourselves and the people of China through her support of both cultural and educational exchanges in the years that she has worked as a teacher here at Maryknoll School. With our new sister school in China, her vision continues to grow for Maryknoll School and we are truly grateful to her.

Micah McGivern, Paddler in the 61st Annual Moloka’i Hoe Race

          On Sunday, October 13th, high school senior, Micah McGivern, will participate in the 61st Annual Moloka'i Hoe Race (Moloka'i to O’ahu). Micah paddles for Lanikai Canoe Club. With determination and dedication, he trains every day from 5:30 a.m. to 6:45 a.m. on the Ala Wai, and then trains at Lanikai from 5:00 pm to 8 p.m. This is the first time the O’ahu Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association allows paddlers under the age of 18 to participate. In addition, this is the first year that Ocean Paddler TV will live-broadcast and live-stream this event. So tune in here on Sunday, October 13th, at 1:30pm and cheer on Micah via the Ocean Paddler Television livestream! 

Maryknoll Senior Competes in Miss Hawaii Teen USA Pageant

Jazlyn Baptista

In the midst of maintaining classes, student Senate and community service responsibilities, Jazlyn Baptista competes (and wins!) in pageants.  This Sunday, October 13th, Jazlyn will compete in the Miss Hawaii Teen USA pageant. 

Q: How does it feel to be selected into the Miss Hawaii Teen USA pageant?

JB: At first, it was overwhelming! I knew from past experiences participating in pageants is a huge commitment - financially, physically and mentally.  No one really thinks of pageants as a tough process but trust me, when you put yourself in the position to be're pressured to become the best version of yourself possible.

Q: How were you selected?

JB: I entered the pageant just three weeks before the pageant date. A contestant dropped out of the competition, and I was asked to fill her space. I honestly was not planning on competing but I would have been insane not to take this amazing once in a lifetime opportunity.

Q: How long have you competed in pageants?

JB: I've been doing about one pageant a year since I was 12! I won Miss Hawaii Junior Teen America then competed in Miss Junior Teen America. I was third runner up in Miss Hawaii Junior Teen Princess and second runner up in Miss Oahu Teen Filipina. 

Q:  What's next for you?

JB: Hopefully, I'll be crowned Miss Teen USA 2014 at nationals in Las Vegas and receive a four year college scholarship! I plan to major in either Business Management or International Business. As for pageants, that chapter will be ending. However, I'll still find ways to give back to the community and keep in touch with my pageant sisters.

The Miss Hawaii Teen USA pageant will be this Sunday, October 13 at The MODERN Hotel in Honolulu. Limited tickets are available at the door. Vote for Jazlyn as your "Fan Favorite" on the official Miss Hawaii Teen Facebook page by "liking" her contestant photo. The program will also air on KHON2, November 2nd at 7:00 PM.

Japan Day

Japan Day

Freshmen and sophomore Japanese language classes visited the Hawaii Tokai International College for Japan Day. Students participated in a variety of classes such as Bon Dance, Calligraphy, Crafts, Ikebana, Kimono, Soroban and Tea Ceremony, to learn more about Japanese culture.

"All the classes were very exciting because it wasn't only listening to the speakers but also experiencing the culture with our whole body," said sophomore Hayato Kamata.  "For example, for the Tea Ceremony, we ate sweet crackers and drank tea, which were delicious. For the Bon Dance, we danced until the class ended, and for Calligraphy and Crafts, we created different types of artwork using Japanese tools like fude and sumi."

Rigorous and Relevant 21st Century Learning – Lance Suzuki’s Urban Plan Project


Urban Plan

           Mr. Lance Suzuki, award winning economics teacher at the high school, is adept at creating lessons that are rigorous and relevant. In particular, the Urban Plan is a realistic, engaging, and academically demanding project in which students learn about the fundamental forces that affect development in the United States

          Specifically, the Urban Plan is a three week long simulation where students work in groups to develop a plan for redeveloping a hypothetically blighted urban area.  Each student assumes a specific role (i.e. project manager, marketing director, etc.) and has to incorporate economic concepts in their proposals.  In addition, like real-life development teams, student teams must balance many complex and interlocking elements:  profitability, practicality, city requests, neighborhood satisfaction, and aesthetics.

          While developing their plans, real urban planning professionals – including professors, architects, urban planners, and real estate developers – come in to ask questions and give feedback.  At the end of the process, student groups present and defend their plans before a panel of urban planning professionals, who select a winning plan after an oral presentation and questioning.

          Mr. Suzuki has been participating in this program since 2006. He finds it to be a great way to integrate economic concepts that students have learned within a real-world scenario, making it relevant to our students. In addition, the rigorous problem solving aspect of this activity makes it one that involves the use of higher-order thinking skills that will prepare Maryknoll students to be 21st century learners and leaders.

Thank you Mr. Suzuki for providing our Maryknoll students this opportunity!

Living Noblesse Oblige - Dr. John Trowbridge - High School Teacher of the Week

John Trowbridge 

To whom much is given, much is expected. New-to-Maryknoll teacher Dr. John Trowbridge was born with an intellect that has led him to earn his Ph.D. and learn to speak several languages. Today, Dr. Trowbridge is teaching Spanish at Maryknoll High School and he is every happy to be here.

Originally from Long Island, New York, Dr. Trowbridge graduated from Portledge High School uncertain as to what he would study in college with so many interests in mind. After attending the University of Vermont and Washington University in St. Louis, Dr. Trowbridge graduated with a double major in philosophy and Asian languages. Soon after, Dr. Trowbridge was accepted to Ohio State University where he earned a Master’s degrees in East Asian Languages and Philosophy. For a year, Dr. Trowbridge lived in Taiwan attending National Taiwan Normal University. He eventually chose to attain is doctorate degree at the University of Hawaii after receiving a scholarship from the East-West Center, where he also worked as a graduate assistant.  

Dr. Trowbridge has worked in various capacities as a professor at Kapiolani Community College, Hawaii Pacific University, and the University of Hawaii-West Oahu. He also worked for Hawaii International Child, a non-profit adoption agency using his foreign language skills to communicate with others internationally. In time, Dr. Trowbridge felt he could make the greatest difference in the lives of others by being an educator of youth. After teaching elementary students at Hahaione Elementary School, Dr. Trowbridge has chosen to make his new home Maryknoll School and we hope to have him here for a very long time.

Dr. Trowbridge is living our motto of Noblesse Oblige because he is sharing his love of learning and languages with our Maryknoll students as their Spanish teacher. Thanks for choosing Maryknoll School Dr. Trowbridge!   

Living Noblesse Oblige - Joe Miller - High School Teacher of the Week

Joe Miller

Educator, musician, philosopher, theologian, and soldier for social justice; Joe Miller, religion teacher at Maryknoll School, personifies what it means to live the Maryknoll way by utilizing his talents to glorify God and to make a difference in the lives of others. It is not uncommon for Joe Miller to bring together students, teachers, and administrators to share their gifts. In the picture above, Mr. Miller organized a one-hour presentation at last weekend’s BILAC conference at Chaminade University by rehearsing a team of musicians from Maryknoll to perform with him. At school, Mr. Miller can be found leading our All School Masses in the Clarence T.C. Ching gymnasium, singing our school’s alma mater at the end of special events, creating imaginative projects for his students in class or sharing food, laughter, and stories in the faculty workroom at lunch.

Mr. Miller graduated from Damien High School and originally thought he would study Marine Biology in college when he was accepted to Gonzaga University. His love for Hawaii eventually led him back home to the University of Hawaii where he received his BA in English.  During his time at UH, he was inspired by the Marianists and Maryknoll sisters who often visited the Newman Center at UH now called the Holy Spirit Parish. After watching other Catholics fighting for social justice, Mr. Miller began working for associations built to assist people in our community like the Model Cities Program and Hale Kipa. Soon after, he was persuaded by several Maryknoll sisters and Marianists to go back to Gonzaga University where he attained a MA in Theology.

For the next fifteen years, Joe taught religion at Maryknoll School, St. Louis School and at Schofield Barracks as the Director of Religious Education. In 1990, Mr. Miller chose to return to Maryknoll School and has taught religion here ever since. It was the Maryknoll sisters once again that led him back to Maryknoll School as he witnessed them helping those in need near Kuhio Park Terrace. In fact, it’s the spirit of the Maryknoll mission that has kept him here so long. From the creation of the Majuro Mission over twenty years ago, to becoming a member of the Coalition of Essential Schools, Maryknoll School’s focus on social justice is what Mr. Miller loves so much about our school.

Mr. Miller is living our motto of Noblesse Oblige because he harnesses his talents and those of others to inspire and assist people in our community by making God’s love visible. It is clearly evident that our Maryknoll sisters wanted Joe here and we are happy to have him as a member of our team.

Living Noblesse Oblige - Rie Mizumura - High School Teacher of the Week


             A few seconds before the picture above was taken, Ms. Mizumura, standing in the middle of those two gentlemen, was awarded a gold medal as winner of Maryknoll High School’s Faculty Scavenger Hunt in Waikiki. Much like the popular television show Amazing Race, teachers were tasked with finding clues that lead them from one place to another, ultimately challenging them to cross the finish line first with the win going to the group with the most points earned along the way. This winning team had a secret weapon. Mrs. Mizumura has been on an amazing race around the world for many years and she continues to spread her aloha to others throughout the globe as Maryknoll School’s Japanese teacher since 1987.

Rie left Japan for Hawaii at the tender age of eight. When she arrived on Oahu, she did not speak a word of English. By the time she graduated from Leilehua High School, she not only spoke English fluently, she was also part of the Future Teachers of America club, knowing early on that one of her aspirations was to someday become a teacher.  Soon after graduating from high school, Rie attended the University of Hawaii. In her third year of college, she also attended Sophia University (Jochi Daigaku), a prestigious Catholic university in Japan. Eventually, Rie graduated from the University of Hawaii with her B.Ed. and M.Ed. Her ability to speak both English and Japanese fluently was in high demand within the travel industry at the time, so she moved to the island of Kauai to work there as an interpreter at the Coco Palms Hotel and taught Japanese language to flight attendants at Aloha Airlines. However, her desire to become a teacher began taking her career in a new direction.

Rie eventually was offered a position as an adjunct professor at Kauai Community College teaching Japanese. During her time there, she created KCC’s first Japanese language courses. She also spent time teaching Japanese at Kapaa High School on Kauai. She moved back to Oahu and taught Japanese to Outrigger Hotel employees and was an adjunct professor at Leeward Community College for several years. Finally, in 1987, Ms. Mizumura was able to find a home teaching at Maryknoll High School. She has been a Japanese teacher at Maryknoll for over 25 years. During that time, she has taken Maryknoll students to Japan on exchanges almost every year.

Although Ms. Mizumura has been around the world working for Aloha Airlines, going to school in Japan, and taking students on exchanges for many years, her fondest memories of Maryknoll School are the many visits she has received from her former students. Stephanie Lum, a former graduate of Maryknoll School, still looks up to Mrs. Mizumura as someone who made a major impact in her life as a student at Maryknoll School. There are many more alumni with similar stories about Ms. Mizumura. Nevertheless, Rie continues to travel the world each year on exchanges to Japan while organizing travel plans for visitors to Maryknoll from other schools. Rie works hard to keep students excited about learning Japanese language and culture and many of them excel in learning Japanese because of her.

Some may say that Ms. Mizumura has been on an amazing race since she left Japan at the age of eight. The good news is that her belief in Noblesse Oblige has led her to become a fantastic teacher at Maryknoll School and we are the real winners because she is a part of our team.

Maryknoll Senior Recognized as 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program Semi-Finalist

Senior Shi Qin "Jerry" Su places among the nation's highest-scoring participants in the 2014 National Merit Scholarship Competition.

"It's a pretty big thing to me," said Jerry. "It's a national honor and not too many people are getting it. I really want to thank a couple of teachers like Mr. Suzuki and my advisor including Mr. Donald who helped me a lot. Thank you to the school for such a good opportunity."

Born in Shanghai, China, Jerry enrolled at Maryknoll School in the ninth grade. From the start, his teachers realized his academic potential and fast-tracked him into upper level math and science courses.

Jerry's accomplishments include placing second in the State Math Bowl tournament and Economics Challenge, and recognition as a National AP Scholar. "Academically, I center on intellectual interests on social sciences in general, especially on political science and economics. I took related courses at school and self-studied a couple of AP's that intrigued me in this field."

During the summer, Jerry participated in a summer school program at Columbia University in New York. "Academically, my passion is really political science. I went to a summer school program where there were lots of European students, and I had an intense debate regarding if the modern dilemma of government and society could be resolved by high taxation."

Mr. Uy Lives Noblesse Oblige

          Every teacher is unique when it comes to his or her teaching style, but all educators want their students to learn and succeed. This summer Mr. James Uy, math teacher at Maryknoll High School, received news that his students did both.

          A mixture of 21 juniors and seniors in his AP Calculus classes all passed their AP exams with eight students receiving a score of five, eight with a score of four, and five of them earning a score of three. “The passing rate is caused by their desire to succeed. I instilled in their minds that desire." Mr. Uy and each one of his students dedicated five weekdays of Easter break to study from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The good news is that their hard work and dedication paid off.

          Mr. Uy is living out our motto of Noblesse Oblige—“To whom much is given, much is expected” because he inspires our students to be the best they can be. 

Kapi‘olani Medical Center Construction Alert

Starting Monday, September 9, 2013, the H1 Punahou Street exit (east bound) will be closed to traffic turning left onto Punahou Street and going straight onto Bingham Street.

The H1 west-bound freeway entrance will also be closed between the hours of 9 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. Construction will take place Monday through Friday during these hours, and is anticipated to be completed within two weeks. 

As part of Kapi‘olani Medical Center for Women and Children’s 15-year master plan expansion, overhead electrical lines are being placed underground. Part of this process includes upgrading existing electrical cable so that the State Department of Transportation drainage pump station (which keeps the freeway from flooding during heavy rain) will have a reliable power source.The contractors will have electronic messaging signs on the freeway to notify motorists of the detour and appropriate directional signs will also be posted on Punahou Street.

Should you have any questions or concerns, please call Kapi‘olani Medical Center’s construction information hotline at 808-535-7669 or visit their website at for the latest updates.Thank you for choosing Maryknoll School, and for your understanding in this matter.

Living Noblesse Oblige - Kristie Nourrie - High School Teacher of the Week


 The Long Journey Home

Kristie Nourrie is a first-year teacher at Maryknoll School, but she has been a part of the Maryknoll family for many years and believes she has come back home to stay.

Mrs. Nourrie graduated from Maryknoll School in 1991 and can still recall fond memories of events like Field Day and Shakespeare Day. Soon after graduation, Mrs. Nourrie attended the University of Hawaii to study art and literature. After graduating, Kristie was persuaded to enter the hotel industry by those close to her. After several years of working at the Princess Kaiulani Hotel, Mrs. Nourrie chose to raise her three children at home with the values she learned as a child both from her family and in school.

In time, Mrs. Nourrie discovered her passion for working in the educational field when she chose to return to the workforce as a substitute, youth leader, and choir director at Kailua Missionary Baptist Church and after also teaching at Pu’uhale Elementary School. Soon, Kristie made the decision to pursue her goal of becoming a teacher and attain a graduate degree in secondary education with the hope that she can fill her days doing what she loves best: spending time with children, studying literature, and utilizing her artistic talent. Teaching high school students was the perfect avenue for Kristie to be able to do all that and more.

When it was time to select a school to complete her certification requirement as a teacher, Mrs. Nourrie chose to go back to her alma mater and work under the tutelage of one of our very talented English teachers, Mrs. Sara Smitherman. During that period of time, Kristie displayed the potential to be an outstanding teacher. Based on her performance in the classroom, she eventually was offered the opportunity to teach at Maryknoll School as a full-time faculty member.

The picture above represents a teacher who loves being with her students and has finally found her way back home after several years of searching to share her talents in the spirit of noblesse oblige. Welcome back home Mrs. Nourrie!

Meet Our New Faculty and Staff

Join us in welcoming our newest faculty and staff to the Maryknoll School 'ohana:

 Mrs. Chanel Asagi is the new art teacher. She studied at the University of Hawaii and received her bachelor's degree in arts. She is a fixture at many craft fairs, displaying her plush dolls for sale. This is her first year teaching, but she was a substitute for the Art Department last school year. Mrs. Asagi also enjoys attending the theatre, relaxing at the beach and spending time with her pet dog, Bear. She believes "Every student is capable of achieving greatness."



Mr. Carl Berger comes to Maryknoll via our partners in the Manoa Punahou Catholic Community, Sacred Heart Church and Saint Pius X Church, of which he has been a member for over twenty-five years. He also serves as catechist, instructing minors seeking the sacraments of baptism, reconciliation, first holy communion and confirmation for full initiation into the Catholic faith. Mr. Berger graduated from Our Redeemer Lutheran School and the University of Hawaii-Manoa and is currently pursuing his master's in pastoral theology from Chaminade University. He joins our Religion Department.


Ms. Keiko Burgess joins our World Language Department teaching Japanese language. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in Japanese literature from Kokugakuin University in Tokyo, Japan. She is certified by the Intercultural Institute of Japan and the Hawaii Department of Education to teach Japanese language to grades K-12. Ms. Burgess is also a former television and radio reporter for the Tohoku Broadcasting Corporation.



Mr. Karl Honma was born and raised on the Big Island in the town of Waimea. He earned his undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Hawaii-Hilo and his master's degree in educational foundations from the University of Hawaii-Manoa. Mr. Honma was the first educator from the state of Hawaii invited to grade Advanced Placement (AP) examinations in the field of psychology. As an athlete, Mr. Honma won two NAIA district 29 cross country championships while at the University of Hawaii-Hilo and was inducted into its hall of fame as well as the Big Island Athletic Hall of Fame.


Dr. Joseph Laszlo joins the Science Department teaching biology. He is the 1999 recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching for High School Division. He also wrote the popular Dr. Gadget's Science Machine column appearing on the KidNews page of the Ohana section in the Sunday Honolulu Advertiser. Dr. Laszlo earned his master's degree in teacher education and curriculum studies and a doctorate in curriculum and instruction with a specialization in science education.


Ms. Danielle Miller joins our Counseling and Guidance Department as a school counselor.  She is a graduate of the University of Hawaii-Manoa earning a bachelor's degree in sociology. She also has a master's degree in marriage and family therapy and is a licensed marriage and family therapist. Ms. Miller has a background in social services, mental health and school counseling. Ms. Miller recently worked as school counselor with St. Ann's School in Kaneohe. When not working, Ms. Miller enjoys participating in outdoor activities, water sports and traveling.  


Dr. Sean Moroney holds a master's degree in physics from New York University and doctoral degrees in engineering mechanics from the University of Illinois at Chicago and chiropractic from Western States Chiropractic College. He has extensive teaching experience at the college and secondary level primarily in physics and mathematics. Dr. Moroney joins our Science Department teaching physics.


Mrs. Kristie Nourrie is a graduate of Maryknoll School and received her bachelor's degree from the University of Hawaii-Manoa. She recently graduated with her master's degree in secondary education with a focus on language arts from Grand Canyon University. This is Mrs. Nourrie's first year of teaching at Maryknoll. She enjoys spending time with her family at the beach, in church and creating fun times with lasting memories.



Ms. Ashley Putnam is the head athletic trainer in Maryknoll School's Athletics Department. She earned a master's in kinesiology from the University of Hawaii. Prior to arriving at Maryknoll School, Ms. Putnam provided athletic trainer services to Le Jardin Academy. She joins our Physical Education Department as a part-time instructor.



Dr. John Trowbridge joins the World Languages Department teaching Spanish. He previously taught Asian, Western and cross-cultural comparative philosophy courses at the University of Hawaii-West O'ahu, Hawaii Pacific University and Kapiolani Community College. He has also taught Mandarin Chinese to children in grades K-5 at Haha'ione Elementary School, as well as privately to adults and children of all ages. In addition to Mandarin Chinese and Classical Chinese, Dr. Trowbridge also has an extensive background in Spanish and Ancient Greek. In his spare time, he enjoys philosophizing, learning the guitar, science fiction and spending time with his four children.


Living Noblesse Oblige - Franklin Gonzales - High School Teacher of the Week

Franklin Gonzales

Remember the old saying never judge a book by its cover? Franklin Gonzales, religion teacher at Maryknoll School, seems like your typical religion teacher at Maryknoll– faithful, well educated, highly intelligent, and a seasoned instructor. However, there is more to Mr. Gonzales than meets the eye.

During his high school years, Franklin earned the name “Speedy Gonzales” after running circles around Kamehameha School’s basketball boys who towered over him. His abilities as an athlete earned him a scholarship to play basketball at the University of Hawaii-Manoa. Unfortunately, Franklin was injured during his sophomore year with the Rainbows and was forced to stop playing basketball. Fortunately, Speedy Gonzales focused all his energy on studying by graduating in a little over three years as a double major with degrees in both Anthropology and Psychology. Impressive? Speedy Gonzales was just getting started.

Within a span of several years, Franklin received a graduate degree in Oriental Medicine, built his own home, and taught Religion and Social Studies at both St. Louis School and Sacred Hearts Academy. Moreover, he also worked in accounting, became a case worker for the Department of Human Services, a State Tax Office Tax Return Examiner and clerk, and even spent time as a Comptroller and Home Owners Warranty Administrator for the Building Industry Association. Finally, in 1991, Franklin found a home at Maryknoll High School and has been teaching religion here for almost 25 years.

Since joining Maryknoll, Franklin has coached every level of girls and boys Spartan basketball teams. In addition, he has a passion for playing Brazilian music on the guitar, piano, and especially on his baritone ukulele. He can be found strumming his ukulele today in his classroom, the faculty workroom, and at our monthly All School Mass.

Our motto at Maryknoll School is summarized in the classic French phrase “Noblesse Oblige.” Simply put, it means “To whom much is given, much is expected.” Franklin has and continues to live by this principle and inspires his students to do the same by fully utilizing their talents.

Living Noblesse Oblige - Ed DaSilva - High School Teacher of the Week


"Noblesse Oblige" is our school motto, and Ed DaSilva is truly living it.

Maryknoll High School science teacher Ed DaSilva and his wife Margaret Mize, professor at Chaminade University, were volunteer teachers at Our Lady of Nazareth Primary School this summer in Kenya, East Africa. The school is located in the middle of one of Nairobi’s largest slums where thousands live in poverty.

For two weeks, they traveled each day to reach the school, an oasis of learning for 2,000 children of Catholic, Muslim and other faiths to teach Science and English to students in grades five through eight. Their remarkable effort in traveling to the other side of the globe to improve the lives of these children is "Noblesse Oblige" in action.

According to Ed, it was one of the best experiences any teacher could ask for.Thank you Ed and Margaret for making God's love visible throughout the world!

K9-Assisted Narcotics Sweeps and Security Cameras

We are pleased to announce that Maryknoll School is implementing the use of K9-assisted search sweeps starting this fall at our high school. This is a proactive effort to keep your children safe. The canine searches will occur unannounced and periodically over the course of the academic year while students are in school. If a dog does track down narcotics, the findings will be dealt with as a school administration issue. 

Maryknoll is taking a stand and ensuring that we maintain a drug-free environment. Any drug or alcohol use on campus is strictly prohibited and we will continue to teach your children to be responsible citizens of character. The random canine sweeps offer our administrators a means to successfully locate and remove drugs from campus. Such sweeps also offer the opportunity to gather narcotics-related intelligence, while serving as a deterrent for students who may otherwise attempt to bring drugs into school. To complement this new safety effort, we are also in the process of installing security cameras around campus. We look forward to serving your families this school year and providing your children with the quality education and character development you have come to expect from Maryknoll School. If you have any questions, please contact our Vice Principal of Student Life and School Culture, Mrs. Toni Nishida-Chock, at or 952-7318.

Does your child dream of flying? Learn about Maryknoll's Civil Air Patrol Cadet Squadron

Civil Air Patrol

Does your child dream of flying? Exploring the skies? Here at Maryknoll, we’re about to turn that dream into a reality. This fall, all current and incoming high school students can enroll in the Civil Air Patrol (CAP). This challenging and rewarding program is exclusive to Maryknoll students and is the only one of its kind in the nation.

As a cadet, your child will join a squadron that meets Monday through Thursday after school for one hour (4 hours per week). Upon completion of the course, the cadet will receive one-half credit. We are also offering a Friday night course, in the case that your child cannot meet Monday through Thursday. The Friday course is for two and a half hours after school, and all cadets are welcome to join that class to get ahead in the program.  Cadets will study and take written tests, maintain physical fitness and demonstrate their commitment to the core values of leadership and integrity. Upon completion of one year, a half credit elective will be awarded through the course for the student.

“It’s not just about learning how to fly—that’s an addition,” says deputy commander Christopher Ugale. “The main focus of the cadet program is to advance you through leadership, self-discipline and community service. You’ll live out the core values of the air force, which is integrity first. It’s been two years of hard work and planning for Dr. John Henry Felix and President Perry Martin,” said Ugale, who is one of three CAP instructors. Dr. John Henry Felix, squadron commander and instructor, says, “[Students] are not obliged to join the military; they can become civilians or they may want to attend military academies. But we are in pursuit of excellence, making young men and women leaders.”

For information about the Maryknoll Civil Air Patrol Cadet Squadron, please contact Christopher Ugale at or 952-7233. 

Maryknoll Grad Makes "Lemonade" at the 2013 'Ohina Short Film Showcase

Emerald Leong's film career continues to rise.  Her short film "Lemonade" was the only high school student film selected into the 2013 'Ohina Short Film Showcase.  With only two weeks before she leaves to attend Huntington College in Indiana, Emerald took time to give her alma mater an interview:

What is the story of Lemonade?

Lemonade is about a rivalry that started when a boy and girl were very young. Years later, they still try to one-up each other this time with lemonade.  They are always in competition between themselves.

How did you come up with the story idea?

I am not really sure how the story came about.  It was the end of junior year and the gang wanted to do another video for the summer.  Christianne and I were sitting in Mrs. Smitherman's room for an open. [Sidebar: Christianne is fellow graduate and 2013 Class Valedictorian Christianne Michel.]  It just came to us.  Sort of like, "Hey, we're doing a film in the summer. And the summer is hot and people drink lemonade during the summer...."  Christianne said something like "Oh, wouldn't it be cool if they were in a rivalry and were trying to see who would sell the most lemonade?"  Then we kept going at it.  The whole script was done in that period.  

How long did it take to film?

Filming took one hot day which amazes me.

How does it feel being the only high school student film selected for the showcase?

I really didn't think much of it because we wrapped up this project over a year ago.  Now that  it's soaked a bit, I am very honored that they would show something that we did just for kicks and giggles.  I think it's definitely an accomplishment, and we are all very excited.

Where can we see more of your work?

I have a YouTube channel called LastMinuteProductionsHawaii.  I might start a blog or something later.

What's next?

I hope to finish this summer a short film I've been working on, and I am going to Huntington University in Indiana this fall for film studies and production.

You can catch "Lemonade" at the 2013 'Ohina Short Film Showcase, August 23-24 at the Doris Duke Theatre, Honolulu Museum of Art. Tickets are available for purchase online.

Student Schedules for 2013-2014 School Year

Student schedules can now be viewed on NetClassroom.  Mailings for each grade level are being mailed home.  In addition to student schedules, the procedure for schedule changes, course offerings and enrollment numbers, daily bell schedule, booklist as well as important class information are included in the packet.

Books can be purchased from Maryknoll School's virtual bookstore with MBS Direct beginning July 24. Free shipping on purhcases over $99 or more is in effect from July 24 - August 10, 2013.  Click here to check out the 2013-2014 booklist.

The mailing for each grade level can also be found on the 2013-2014 SY HS Information page.

If there are questions about the start of the school year, please call the front office at 952-7203 or email  We look forward to seeing freshmen on their first day on August 20 and all students on August 21! 

Maryknoll High School Students Spreading Noblesse Oblige Around the Globe


Since 2012, Maryknoll School, in partnership with Punahou School’s Wo International Center, provides a study abroad program to Maryknoll sophomores and juniors each summer to take part in it.

This year, Maryknoll students are engaged in a variety of unforgettable activities and experiences that exposes them to different cultures found in a wide range of countries around the globe. This year, four of our Maryknoll School students were selected to attend the exchange program thanks to a generous scholarship provided by Jim Wo. Angelica Bustamante was selected to go to Costa Rica. Rachel Ramos and Nikka Sonido are traveling to Japan. Finally, Lorelei Zabanal is visiting Senegal.

Here at Maryknoll School, we take pride in giving our students opportunities to become 21st century learners, leaders and citizens of character. We are confident that Angelica, Rachel, Nikka, and Lorelei will share those skills with the many people they meet this summer throughout the world.

Anthony Ng Awarded a prestigious National Honor Society Scholarship

On May 1, 2013, Maryknoll High School Senior, Anthony Ng, was awarded a prestigious National Honor Society Scholarship by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). Ng was chosen out of over 4,000 applicants for this honor. Out of 200 finalists across the country, only 53 state winners were selected.  Each winner will be awarded a $1500 college scholarship.

Participating high school National Honor Society chapters from across the country nominated two senior students to compete in this year’s program. Finalists were selected on the basis of their leadership skills, participation in service organizations, clubs and other student groups at school and in the community; and their academic record. As a regional winner, Ng is recognized as one of the top 53 NHS members in the nation this school year.

“We are proud to recognize Anthony for his outstanding achievements and contributions to our school and community,” said Darcie Kawamura, Maryknoll High School Principal. “Students nominated for the NHS scholarship not only demonstrate academic excellence, but also extraordinary dedication to service and leadership, traits that truly exemplify our school motto Noblesse Oblige, ‘to whom much is given, much is expected.’ “

Mission to Majuro


Each summer, a select group of Maryknoll High School students participate in a service project tutoring teenagers and completing work projects at Assumption School on Majuro in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. The Maryknoll Sisters have now left Assumption School. However, our Maryknoll students continue their work by visiting Majuro each summer as part of an exchange, which is as much a cultural experience for the them as it is an outreach to the Micronesians. The program is an expression of the school's motto, "Noblesse oblige," which faculty and students translate as, "To whom much is given, much is expected." Please keep our students in your prayers as they make a difference in the lives of others around the world. 

Last year's Maryknoll Majuro Team created a video production of their experience in the Marshall Islands, serving the people of Majuro at Assumption School. Please click on the link below to see and hear that amazing story in their own words.

Maryknoll Speech Team Finishes Season Strong

Pictured are the Maryknoll Speech team 2012-2013 qualifiers for the State Tournament, held on April 20, 2013.
Back row:  Michaela Yamashita, Andrew Nilo, Wesley Kamikawa, Nicole Choy, and Chris Chow
Front row:  Katherine Guevara and Theodora

The Maryknoll Speech Team finished its 2012-2013 season on a high note.  Seven students qualified for the State Speech Tournament, and competed in Duo Interpretation, Program Reading, Impromptu Speaking, and International Extemporaneous Speaking.  After four rounds of competition, Wesley Kamikawa emerged as victor in not just one, but two events:  fourth place in International Extemporaneous speaking and first place in Impromptu.  His achievement was recently acknowledged by the Honolulu City Council , which presented Wesley with a special certificate of recognition. 

The Maryknoll Speech team is a member of the Hawaii Speech League, that sponsors monthly speech and debate tournaments for both private and public schools throughout the state.  In addition, many students on the Maryknoll Speech team have earned membership into the prestigious National Forensics League, a national honor society for speech and debate.    Currently the Maryknoll team has a membership of forty-five students.  Practices are once a week, after school on Wednesdays with  Mrs. Fran Wong, coach.  The new season will begin in August 2013; those who wish to join the team are welcome to do so by attending the first day’s meeting yet to be scheduled.  Inquiries can be sent to:


High School Senior Wins 1st Place in the State for Impromptu Speaking

Wesley Kamikawa, a senior, won first place in the State for Impromptu Speaking by earning high marks during his final round of competition at the State Speech Tournament, held on April 20, 2013 at Punahou School.  What led to this momentous achievement?

It was in 7th grade that Wesley’s natural talent for presenting before an audience first caught his public speaking teacher’s eye. But when she suggested that he join the speech team, he declined.  A few years later, the same invitation was issued by his sophomore American Lit teacher, who also happened to be the high school speech coach.  Although Wesley declined again, he was persuaded to attend a speech tournament at Kaiser High School to perform community service.  Wesley became an emergency substitute that fateful Saturday morning, when he and a fellow classmate, Reuben Pascual, were asked to fill in for a duo team who weren’t able to compete.  Reuben and Wesley simply read the script and “got their feet wet.”  The next year, both boys had decided to come out for the team.  They were juniors and choose to work on impromptu.

Wesley soon found he liked impromptu speaking. There was no script to memorize. He didn’t have to act silly, create voices for different characters, nor do any body gestures and facial expressions that are needed for interpretive speaking.  He came faithfully to practice each week. As he participated in the tournaments, he observed what his competitors were doing and began to create his own style of delivery. 

By senior year, Wesley was a competent and confident speaker.  He had personality, expression, and creatively addressed all the topics given to him in practice. His voice was clear, strong, and easy to listen to.  His content demonstrated critical thinking and originality.  He often pulled information from his vast storehouse of historical knowledge.  Best of all, he began to score higher and higher in the tournaments.  By spring of 2013, Wesley had earned a spot in the State Tournament.  At that point, taking up a suggestion by team parent John Imperial, Wesley decided to try International Extemporaneous speaking simply because he enjoyed keeping up with global events and it would be another challenge for him.  He qualified for the state tournament in this new event, and now he was set to compete in two different categories. 

By the end of competition day, Wesley had made it to final rounds in both impromptu and international extemporaneous speaking.  By the end of the evening, he had two magnificent trophies – one in each hand:  fourth place for International Extemporaneous Speaking, and first place for impromptu.  Maryknoll has not had a state winner since 1995, when Alice Bugman won first place in Dramatic Interpretation.   The eighteen year dry spell had been broken!