Kamehameha Schools hosted 24 students and 4 teachers from RDFZ Xishan School from Beijing, China this past week. The RDFZ students are on a Performing Arts Tour of the U.S. This visit was a cultural exchange between the two schools and the beginning of many new friendships. It was a wonderful experience for all.
Here was the itinerary for the 2-day visit. Click on the thumbnail to enlarge to full size.
I greeted the group at the guard shack at our school’s main entrance. After hopping onto their tour bus, we drove up and checked into the Keopuolani Dormitory.
Our first stop was a performing arts cultural exchange with Kumu Kaleo’s Hawaiian Ensemble class.
Each school was able to present and share their culture and art.
It was a great start to a great day. Click to enlarge.
The students went to the ‘Akahi Dining Hall with their “lunch buddies” and then attended Song Contest rehearsal in the auditorium.
We then walked down to the Ka‘iwakīloumoku Hawaiian Cultural Center. We did a good amount of walking on the high school campus.
The students learned about kalo (the taro plant) and about wood carving at the center.
The next activity was with Kumu ‘Aina’s Hawaiian culture students.
Kamehameha students shared Keynote presentations about themselves, their communities, and their hobbies.
This led to a magical exchange and bonding. Students were engaged and did not want to leave.
The next activity was a tour of the Bishop Memorial Chapel with Kahu Kordell. Inside the chapel, the RDFZ students sang a touching rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
We returned to Keopuolani Dorm to go over guidelines and get situated.
Our visitors were greeted at dinner with lei from our high school boarding students. A special greeting was given in Madarin by the son-in-law of our housing director.
Our visiting teachers enjoyed the view of the Honolulu city lights from our dining hall. After dinner, our “dinner buddies” gave the students a tour of their dorm rooms and the Midkiff Library. The rest of the evening was spent rehearsing in the high school band room.
Breakfast the next day was at 6:30 A.M. There were fresh fruits and breakfast pizzas.
We took the school bus to the elementary campus. The performers were greeted with lei.
The performance was beautiful.
The dancing was spectacular.
It was a treat for our young audience at the elementary school.
The RDFZ students broke into small groups and visited 1st grade classrooms.
More friendships were formed, and world became smaller.
We traveled to the middle school campus and were greeted by oli (chant.) Lunch was hosted by the middle school’s student council officers in the performing arts studio.
The musicians were sent to the band room for a cultural exchange.
The dancers were hosted by Kumu Tati and her hula dance class.
RDFZ dancers learned some of the basic hula stances and steps.
The performance at the middle school was held before an audience of over 600. Click on image to enlarge.
The show was amazing. The performers were given a heartfelt Oli Mahalo by the KMS students. It was another magical moment.
Then it was time to say goodbye. We returned to the dorms, packed up the instruments, and loaded the bus. We miss them already.
Mahalo to RDFZ Xishan School. Thank you for gracing us with your culture and good hearts. Hope to meet again.
Mahalo to Jessie at RDFZ Xishan. You are a rockstar! Mahalo to Richard, Regyna, and Paul at WorldStrides.
Mahalo to the amazing EdTech team for making it happen. Mahalo Mimi, Lance, Kimble, Tim, Marc, and Noe. Mahalo to the High School, Middle School, Elementary School, and Boarding Department. Mahalo to Transportation and Food Services. Mahalo to the Communications Department for the makana. Mahalo to Mike Young for your photography. Mahalo to the staff at Ka‘iwakīloumoku. Mahalo to Kahu Kordell.
Mahalo to all of the KS students. And mahalo to that KHS student who volunteered to escort one of the RDFZ girls when she needed a friend.
I was never more proud to be a part of the Kamehameha Schools ‘ohana. Imua.