Student Voice of Kalaepōhaku

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Student Voice of Kalaepōhaku

The Collegian

Student Voice of Kalaepōhaku

The Collegian


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Crusaders receive Standing Ovation at Merrie Monarch


The Merrie Monarch is a week-long cultural event held every spring in Hilo, Hawaii. The festival is a non-profit organization that honors the legacy of King David Kalākaua. With it being the biggest hula stage in the world, many people look forward to watching and coming together as a community to remember the significance of our culture in Hawaii. Saint Louis has had three students take the stage in the 2024 Merrie Monarch: Branden Cote, Jaren Gesteuyala, and Maddox Markham.

Participating in this event is not just about determining the winner or loser but about the community coming together. Cote stated, “What brought me the tremendous sense of pride in being a part of this event was the opportunity to share our hula ancestry and preserve our culture.” At the end of the competition, everyone rises and sings Hawaii Aloha, which gives a sense of pride and shows how much everyone cares for their culture.

Hula is like any other sport; it takes a lot of hard work and dedication. The countless hours of dedication to learning and perfecting this art form are challenging. It takes a lot of skill, from learning the different techniques to the footwork. It takes extensive training and practice to achieve the Merrie Monarch. Dancing hula also teaches life lessons. “These activities teach me valuable life lessons such as teamwork, discipline, and perseverance,” said Markham. There are many days of sore muscles, exhaustion, and frustration. 

“Hula is an art, but it is also physically demanding. You have to commit yourself to this passion.” Markham adds, “I would give advice to underclassmen who want to participate in Merrie Monarch, saying that you have to be dedicated to it. People only see the cultural part of it but condone the competitive aspect of it.  If passion does not exist, then the hard work and days of frustration will not end up being a positive experience.”

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Dancing on the big stage is something many people dream about; being able to tell a story through dancing is genuinely one of the purest forms of art. It also gives the dancers a feeling of pride or worth. Cote said, “When we were walking off the stage, and we got a standing ovation, it was a very impactful feeling.” It gives people a sense of what the Hawaiians used to do, and it shows how vital Hawaiian culture is to the world. The art of dance has the power to transcend language and cultural barriers. It allows individuals to express emotions, tell stories, and profoundly connect with others. In Hawaiian culture, traditional hula dances, for example, are not just a form of entertainment but a way to preserve and showcase the Hawaiian people’s history, myths, and values.

Congratulations to these three outstanding Saint Louis students, who have represented our school and their families with great pride and distinction. Their hard work, dedication, and achievements have brought honor to our school community, and we are incredibly proud of their accomplishments.

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Kaeokulani Catrett
Kaeokulani Catrett, Staff Writer
Kaeo Catrett has been at Saint Louis School since his freshman year and a multi-sport student-athlete at Saint Louis School in both Varsity Football and Wrestling. He is from Kaneohe. Catrett looks forward to being a part of The Collegian team as a Staff Writer and experiencing what it’s like  as a Journalist. “I took Journalism to learn. I like writing.”

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