In fair Hawaii stands our alma mater,
Beneath tropic skies and waving palms.
With her doors flung wide to greet you and me,
All hail to our alma mater hail!
Ka’iulani we will be, ever loyal ever true.
Hail to thee, our alma mater
Hail, all hail!
After all these years I still remember the Alma mater for Princess Ka’iulani Elementery where I attended school. When I started school there the old wooden building that stood behind the new administration building was still in use. At that time students only went to the office because they were classroom monitors who collected the quarters for lunch and put them in the tin bandaids cans to take to the office with the attendance cards or to see the principal for disciplinary action which at that time meant the paddle on the butt or the ruler on your palm. Thankfully I never had to be sent to the office by the teacher.
It was a time for wearing shorts under your dress so that the boys couldn’t tease you because they saw your underwear when you were riding the swings challenging your friends to see whose feet could touch the lowest branches of the Monkey pod trees, or racing down the slides, then running to cross the monkey bars, ending with the climb to the top of the jungle gym. Or hanging on for dear life to see who would be the last on to be thrown from the merry-go-round into the dirt, or mud on rainy days. Only paying 10 cents to buy a cup of guava or pineapple juice at first recess.
The days when I got to be lunch monitor. The ladies who worked in the cafeteria would give the monitors an extra cookie (they made the best cookie!), and we’d get another one after the work was done. My favorite job was passing the trays down the line.
The older kids would tell the younger students about the haunted bathroom of the 5th/6th grade building (the one closest to the administration building). They claim that so and so saw the faceless lady with red hair in the stall. The other story was about the green hand, that choked people if they went to the bathroom or near The banyan tree alone on rainy days, which is girls and even some boys didn’t want to go to the bathroom alone on stormy days.
We would look forward to the crisp October morning when everyone would gather for the assembly to celebrate the Princess’s Birthday. They Royal Hawaiian band would come to put on a short concert after the students did their musical numbers. The younger students looked forward to being 6th graders, because A select few would be chosen to be in the group who would go to the Royal Mausoleum, “Mauna Ala,” (Fragrant Hills) in Nu’uanu where Princess Victoria Ka’ulani Kalaninuiahilapalapa Kawekiu Lunalilo Cleghron is interred along with other Hawaiian Royalty of the Kamehameha Dynasty (except Kamehameha the 1st, William Charles Liholiho, Princess Nahi’ena’ena, and Queen Keopuolani) and the Kalakaua Dynasty to perform songs and hula inside the little chapel followed by a performance at the Ka’iulani Hotel in Waikiki in the lobby and ending with lunch in the hotel banquet room.
The throngs of family and friends who came to the school to watch you perform for the May Day program with lei to place around your neck and cameras and video recorders to capture the moment. I was honored to be chosen to be an island princess twice, in Kindergarten (green-Moloka’i), and again in 6 th grade (yellow-O’ahu). I even got to represent Princess Ka’iulani on a float (since I had the yellow mu’umu’u from May Day) and classmate William Shoemaker was Robert Lewis Stevenson the author who was a friend of the family that wrote a poem for the Princess.
Forth from her land to mine she goes,
The island maid, the island rose,
Light of heart and bright of face:
The daughter of a double race.
Her islands here in Southern Sun
Shall mourn their ka’iulani gone,
And I, in her dear banyan shade,
Look vainly for my little maid.
But the Scots islands far away
Shall glitter with unwonted day,
And cast for once their tempests by
To smile in Ka’iulani’s eye.
A branch from the banyan tree in the poem was on the Cleghorn estate in Waikiki, and a branch was planted on the grounds of the school and thankfully is still there despite having caught fire a wfew years ago.
At the end of my sixth grade year we traveled to the North shore to spend three days at camp Erdmond. My favorite activity was the sand crap hunt at night on the funniest was going on a Buta (pig) hunt, it wasn’t a real hunt, just a fun song with motions. My least favorite was kitchen duty, because you had to go and set the table (silverware, drinks, napkins, etc.) before the others got there, and clean up after, which meant that you missed activities. It was an awesome time and it was funny because some of the girls cried when it was time to leave because they had crushes the camp workers.
The final event was the 6th grade banquet. First there was an assembly in the cafeteria where the 6th graders sat to either side on the stage to watch the other grades perform for us. After the assembly we were taken to the Princess Ka’iulani hotel for lunch, and walked around Waikiki for an hour before we had to return to school. Saying goodbye to my friends was hard because they would all be going to different Intermediate schools.
I loved my days at Ka’iulani elementary school, little did I know that I would be returning years later. But that’s for another time.
Have a smiley day! 🙂