Chaminade Silversword

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Chaminade Silversword

Chaminade Silversword

Ka’ewai Elementary Students Learn About Opportunities College Can Provide

Tyler Felipe
Ka’ewai Elementary third graders made their way to T.C. Ching Hall, one of the many areas the school visited here at Chaminade.

For many of the students from Ka’ewai Elementary, few have been to a college campus before. For some, it was a “surreal” experience visiting Chaminade University on Tuesday.

“Many of these kids have siblings that don’t reach this level of education,” said Maria Seu, one of the school’s teachers who accompanied the students on their visit. “A lot of their siblings drop out or go down to the housings, which doesn’t set a good example for their siblings. So to have them come here and see success, it’s very surreal.”

Ka‘ewai Elementary is a small school located in Kalihi. The last academic year, 100% of its students came from low-income families, according to DOE data. But on Tuesday, 40 third-graders had the opportunity to come to Chaminade and tour the campus. Mitch Steffey, the coordinator of this event and also the director of service learning here at Chaminade, stressed the importance of why visits like these are important.

“Having them come to Chaminade, getting to see what college has to offer is so important,” Steffey said. “To have them know there is something here for them and to help them realize that college can get you far in life is the goal.”

While on tour, the students were split into two groups which were led by student admission tour guides Anastasia Tangatailoa and Trachelle Iwamoto. The tour included visits to the Loo Center, the Sullivan Library, Eiben Hall, and the campus garden. Two of the stops that the students enjoyed were at the P.O.D. and the student center. The kids were amazed at what food Chaminade had to offer but dismayed to learn that it wasn’t free. 

These Ka‘ewai Elementary students were able to visit the campus garden, learn about it and also play a few games. (Photo by Tyler Felipe)

When the students visited the student center, they were shocked to see what kinds of stuff there was to do there. Many of them were interested in the pool/ping pong table, but they were ecstatic to learn that there was a TV where they could play video games on.

One of the kids, who did not want to be named, was taken aback by how much was available to do in there.

“This is probably my favorite place so far,” said the third grader. “If I came to Chaminade, I would probably play ‘Fortnite’ on the TV.” 

During the tour, the students seemed were eager to see what Chaminade had to offer and what the next stop would include. Another area that the students visited was the campus garden. The students learned about the garden from Steffey and River Pitcher, a member of the student sustainability staff, who played games with them after teaching the students about some of the tasks that the team does. When the students visited the library, many of them took full advantage and looked at almost everything that the library had to offer. Seu noted that many parents of these kids rarely or even never take them to their community library.

“You see all of them interested in the library because for some they hardly go,” Seu said. “Back in Kalihi, the library isn’t really the top priority, so coming into here it’s a whole new experience for these kids.”

The final activities that the students participated in were two classroom sessions led by Claire Wright and Sean Scanlan. The kids learned about how sound works and the different functions of the brain. Before the students left, they had snacks and the chance to ask questions to Chaminade students.