Student Voice of Kalaepōhaku

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Student Voice of Kalaepōhaku

The Collegian

Student Voice of Kalaepōhaku

The Collegian


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Saint Louis School May Day Competition 2024

The annual event honors the legacy of the late Kumu Hula John Keola Lake
Hui o Nā Opio students perform a hula auana to honor the island of Maui.

For two consecutive years, Kumu Hula Kawika (Eric) Mersberg has revitalized the tradition of May Day. The event features classes competing in chants and Oli and students in Hui O naʻopio dancing, with Senior Dancer Kaihi Cobb-Adams and Junior Dancer Makena Kauai leading their respective classes.

 The importance of a culturally rich and supportive school environment cannot be overstated. Mersberg expressed his gratitude for Saint Louis’s overwhelming support, stating, “The entire school community has shown tremendous support for this special event. The success of this endeavor would not have been possible without the backing of our administration, faculty, staff, students, and their families.” 

Kumu Kawika Mersberg leads the May Day festivities.

Organizing such a significant event requires collaboration and delegation. “It is a daunting task to organize such a large event single-handedly. Learning to distribute responsibilities among others led to the formation of a May Day committee,” Mersberg explained. “The involvement of parent-formed committees has been instrumental in ensuring the smooth organization and success of the event.” 

For Mersberg, storytelling plays a crucial role in education. He believes that “Education through storytelling is essential. It reminds students of their predecessors, the foundations they set, and the reasons behind Saint Louis School’s cultural traditions and practices.” 

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Senior Kaihi Cobb-Adams expressed a poignant sentiment regarding his final May Day performance: “As a senior, it’s heartbreaking to realize this is my last year participating in this competition with my brothers. I aim to make the most of it,” he adds. He also shared insight into enhancing performance: “We’ve incorporated new formations into our hula, showcasing our adaptability and adding vibrancy to our performance.” 

Cobb-Adams emphasized the importance of mentoring and offering guidance to younger dancers. “I encourage my younger brothers to believe in themselves. Self-belief is the first step towards success,” he advised. Reflecting on past experiences, he added, “We’ve learned that simplicity can be more effective than complexity. It’s a lesson we’ve taken to heart.” 

Junior Dancer Makena Kauai, with prior experience performing for Mersberg, shared his mixed emotions. “Feeling nervous, excited, and joyful about participating in this special day encapsulates my current state,” 

Kauai remarked. He also expressed his aspirations for the junior class, “My hope for the Junior class is to deliver a performance of such quality that it not only avoids last place but also contends for the win.” 

Looking back on previous May Day celebrations, Kauai reflected, “My experiences in past years have been enjoyable and fulfilling, shared with my brothers and Kumu.” He fondly recalled preparing for May Day, “One memorable moment was gathering with my class for lei preparation and engaging in meaningful conversations with both juniors and senior brothers.”

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Kauna'oa Kamakawiwo'ole
Kauna'oa Kamakawiwo'ole, Staff Writer
Kauna’oa Kamakawiwoole is a Staff Writer for The Collegian. Kamakawiwoole, who is well-known around the school and a Crusader since the eighth grade.   As the starting quarterback for the Varsity Football Team, he is respected by his peers. As a highly regarded student-athlete, Kamakawiwoole is “planning on going to college and finishing…”  He is keeping his options open as to where he will commit to in the future for college.  Although he is “not sure yet” where he wants to attend, he will surely turn out to be a “winning lottery ticket” for one lucky college.

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