Ticonderoga Despite being shocked by nearly a foot of snow on their arrival, a group of Hawaiian students visiting Ticonderoga Middle School feel right at home.
“I sense the ‘ohana spirit,” said Karlene Kauleinamoku. “Everyone is very welcoming. I feel a sense of family here.”
Part of Hawaiian culture, ‘ohana means family. It emphasizes that families are bound together and members must cooperate and remember one another.
Kauleinamoku, a teacher at Dole Middle School in the Ka Ha’aheo O Kalihi section of Honolulu, is part of a group of six students and two teachers visiting Ticonderoga March 19-24 as part of a College For Every Student exchange program.
It’s the second time Dole students have visited Ticonderoga. Ti students went to Hawaii two years ago and hope to return in 2014.
“These two schools are just about as far apart as you can get,” said Steve Boyce, CFES program director. “We (CFES) feel very strongly students need to be able to handle diversity. This is an opportunity for students from both schools to learn about each other and themselves.”
CFES, based in Essex, is a non-profit organization committed preparing students for college. It works with 200 rural and urban schools in 24 states.
The greatest lesson, according to Ti Middle School Principal John Donohue, may have nothing to do with differences.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity for kids from both schools to learn about diversity,” Donohue said. “Not just the obvious cultural differences, but the way our schools operate, they way we live. In the end, though, I think the most important thing is that they learn kids are kids everywhere. They have more in common than they realize.”
“Certainly there are differences, but they (students) are adolescents and they act like adolescents,” she said. “Some days they impress you, other days you wonder what they’re thinking.”