West Hawaii Graduation

 

This is the largest graduating class I’ve seen since I started teaching at the West Campus of the Hawai`i Community College. When the economy is down, and people are losing jobs, or wanting to improve their chances of being hired, the return to college is inevitable. All the classes seem to be flooded with new students. What a joy it is to be their instructor!

The lineup above shows all the dignitaries in full regalia, waiting for the graduates to come down the aisle. Here is a behind the scenes look at a few of them getting ready.

 

Leis are all laid out in preparation. The purple ones on the left were given to each graduate as they walked off the stage in addition to a purple orchid lei. The other leis spread out on the table were given to the school officials and speakers.

 

I got there early enough to watch the rehearsal.

 

Everyone was robed at last and ready for the ceremonies to begin. So many of my own students were either graduating or helping out in some way.

 

For many of these students, they were the first ones in their family to go to college. It was a struggle for them to be there. The gold stoles, cords and tassels signified that these people were honor students.

 

At last, everyone was lined up and the processional began. The stage group went in first, then the faculty. Since I was part of the faculty group, I was able to get a couple shots of them processing in. It was standing room only, with everyone trying to get the best shots of their family member.

 

One student in particular had been in quite a few of my classes. She was the student speaker for the event. Here she is in her various roles. First, as she finished rehearsing, then dressed ready to process in, giving the speech, getting her diploma and walking off the stage. Her array of leis was an example of how all the students looked at the end of the evening. Some had on so many leis they couldn’t breathe or see where they were going.

 

I tried to get all the graduates who had been in my classes, but my battery gave out too quickly. It’s almost as emotional for those of us who teach as for those who graduate.

 

 

The graduates of 2010 accepted more leis as they greeted family and friends afterward.

Congratulations to all those who graduated!

A College Feast

 

Even though Thanksgiving passed a couple weeks ago, and we are looking toward Christmas now, I could hardly wait to post this. I am part of the Social Science faculty at the University Center at West Hawaii in Kealakekua. Our Student Activity Council provides a major feast for students the day before Thanksgiving. All the cooking is done by our superb culinary students. The festive feeling and memory of gourmet food gets us through exam week and into the holidays.

This is a top notch culinary school. I love their insignia!

 

Jim and Marvin sweep up leaves so people can eat under the trees. Jim Lightner heads up the Hospitality section of our school. Marvin Medeiros is the main “go to” man when we need something done.

 

Chef Betty Saiki is the instructor for the first year culinary students, the ones responsible for the Thanksgiving feast. She’s busy in the kitchen, keeping everything on schedule.

 

They gave me special permission to enter the kitchen as they were finishing up the preparations. Lots of bustling activity going on! Some of the students were busy cutting up the ham.

 

Others concentrated on cutting up the fish.

 

Still other students were carefully cutting up melons.

 

Pots were bubbling away on the stove.

 

“Hamming” it up and helping out was Chef Paul Heerlein, instructor for the second year students.

 

Everything seemed to be going according to their working list of who was responsible for which dish or process, just like the cooking shows on TV.

 

The beautiful wooden serving containers were ready and waiting for the food to be brought out.

 

There were lots of my starving students anxiously waiting for the food to come out of the kitchen.

 

The hungry office staff (Marvin, Joeanne, Keahi) waited patiently . . .

 

. . . and the media men (Chuck and Stan) spent their waiting time wiring us up for good sounds.

 

Some of our Hawaii Community College dignitaries joined us from Hilo.

Guy Kimura, Rockne Freitas (Chancellor), Noreen Yamane, Beth Sanders (in back)
Guy Kimura, Rockne Freitas (Chancellor), Noreen Yamane, Beth Sanders (in back)

 

Just reading the signs can make you hungry!

 

Some of the foods were covered up so I couldn’t take a picture, but here is a sample of what graced our table.

 

After a pule (prayer), everyone finally lined up to eat.

 

The hard work completed, all tummies full, now it’s time to relax a bit and pose for pictures.

 

This was one tired cooky! I guess he just couldn’t wait any longer for his nap.

 

This happy and hungry student was in one of my classes last spring.

 

I’d have to say that everyone seemed to get their fill – and more!

 

I can hardly wait for next year’s Thanksgiving feast, when a new batch of chefs will get the privilege of showing off their talents again.

http://picasaweb.google.com/s/c/bin/slideshow.swf

For a slideshow of all the photos I took that day, you can either watch the one above, or for a larger one, click here.

A hui hou!