On Saturday, January 13th, nearly everyone in Hawaiʻi received this text message. What a terrible, horrible mistake. And now everyone in Hawaiʻi has a story…

We were getting ready for a half-day of professional development at Island Pacific Academy in Kapolei. It was a little after 8am when all the phones went off. We were in shock. My initial reaction was that it was a hack. School leaders quickly ushered all of the teachers into a hallway. Everyone started texting their families. I couldn’t find anything on social media.

I stepped outside and looked up at the sky. What a gorgeous morning. I said a prayer. Then slowly, the reality of the situation began to sink in. I could hear the sirens. From initial disbelief, awful thoughts began to creep in. What a horrible feeling. My common sense (or perhaps my lack of processing the situation at hand) was telling me that this was not real. And yet, what if this is it? What if?

At around 8:30, we received word through social media that it was indeed a false alarm. It felt like forever. The crowd of teachers remained very calm throughout the ordeal. We went on with our event without a glitch. I had to regain my focus to emcee the event and deliver the opening remarks. The event was a success, and we celebrated as a team at lunch.

But this was in fact a “drill” for me. What did I learn? For a split second, I did entertain the thought that this was the end. I was calm. Still, it was a sickening feeling. I thought I would be more at peace, because of my faith. I now have a deeper appreciation for life and all the people I love. Life is a blessing. Life is also an opportunity to make a difference. Considering this a second chance.


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