The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) today recognized four students whose Hawaiian language science projects qualified for this year’s state science fair, which is being held this week at the Hawaiʻi Convention Center. OHA officials and Sen. J. Kalani English presented the students with certificates of recognition at today’s awards ceremony for the 62nd annual Hawaiʻi State Science and Engineering Fair. OHA also presented the students each with a $100 award and a pōhaku kuʻi ʻai (stone poi pounder). “These haumāna (students) are an inspiration for our lāhui,” said Kamanaʻopono Crabbe, OHA CEO/Ka Pouhana. “Like their kūpuna before them, these students are making scientific discoveries in their native tongue and grounded in our cultural traditions.” CEO Crabbe added: “The Hawaiian language revitalization movement is making huge strides, as evidenced not only with these four immersion students participating in the state science fair but also with ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi students participating for the first time ever in the 2019 Hawaiʻi State History Day fair this weekend. Hawaiian language is now occupying spaces historically reserved only for English. The broader community is beginning to recognize what Native Hawaiians have always known: that ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi is viable in school, government and business, as well aseverything else in between. ”Senate Majority Leader J. Kalani English said: The four haumāna are living testaments to the dedication and hard work of the Hawaiian language community to establish and normalize a system for ʻŌlelo
Hawaiʻi medium education. I am proud of these students for competing at the highest level using our native language and I wish them much success in their endeavors. Hoʻomaikaʻi iā ʻoukou e nā haumāna!
The following four students qualified for this year’s state science fair: • Clu Mālamalono Hokama-Paris, Grade 12 School: Kula Kaiapuni ʻO Ānuenue Project Title: Ua ʻĀ ka Mea Kanu • Kaʻawaloa Kauaula, Grade 12 School: Kula Kaiapuni ʻO Ānuenue Project Title: Ka ʻAila Pale Lā Naupaka • Kūlia Miyamoto School: Kula Kaiapuni ʻO Ānuenue, Grade 8 Project Title: Title: Ka Papahana ʻImi Noiʻi ʻO Ke Kānana Wai • Kilinahe Naluai School: Pūʻōhala Elementary, Grade 7 Project Title: Kahe ke Kokoleka
In recent years, a growing number of science projects produced in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi have been submitted to various district science fairs across the state. Since 2015, at least one Hawaiian language science project has advanced to the Hawaiʻi State Science and Engineering Fair.
While once spoken throughout Hawaiʻi by Native Hawaiians and foreigners alike, ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi was considered to be nearly extinct by the 1980s, when fewer than 50 fluent speakers under the age of 18 were left. A major reason for the deterioration in the use of Hawaiian language was an 1896 law that required English instruction in Hawaiʻi schools. In practice, this law functioned to ban students from speaking ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi.
Efforts to preserve the language over the years have included ʻAha Pūnana Leo’s Hawaiian language immersion preschools and the Hawaiian language programs of the University of Hawaiʻi system. In 1978, the Hawai‘i State Legislature recognized Hawaiian as a co-official language of Hawai‘i, thereby making Hawai‘i the first state in the union to designate an indigenous language an official state language.
Also among these ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi revitalization initiatives was the Department of Education’s Hawaiian Language Immersion Program (HLIP), also known as Ka Papahana Kaiapuni. HLIP was started in 1986 to revitalize the Hawaiian language by establishing the next generation of native speakers through the public school system. Today, HLIP is offered at 23 schools and educates more than 2,000 students in kindergarten through the twelfth grade. The four students recognized today attend Ānuenue and Pūʻōhala, two HLIP schools.
OHA also extends a warm mahalo to the following Hawaiian language judges and translators who helped at this year’s science fair: Mehana Hind, Sabrina Gramberg, Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, ‘Ulu Victor and Alyssa Anderson.
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