“To come to this point, students must want to be on the court,” said Gayle Cuizon, faculty advisor for the Waimea High School May Day program.
WHS presented its traditional May Day program on last Saturday featuring the May Day Honor Court.
To be on the court, students must file nomination papers. They must be seniors, meet the 2.0 grade requirement, attendance benchmarks, have no suspensions and owe no obligations. They must also submit a personal essay of 250 words or more and sit through a personal interview. After all of that, they are placed on a ballot for a student body election.
“The personal interview is the best thing that we have ever added,” Cuizon said.
The students meet with two or three members of the community for a 15-minute interview. The interviewers read the personal essays in advance and based their interview questions on what they had learned about the students through the essays.
“The personal interview is the one thing that scares the students the most,” said Cuizon. “Once they are done, they are glad that they did it.”
After being elected, the king selected his royal kahili bearers and the island princes selected their kahili bearers. The entire court met from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays during the month prior to the performance to learn and practice their hula and chants.
Shane Castillo, a 2001 WHS graduate, returns each year to teach the court their hula and chants.
“Keeping up with the Hawaiian traditions is my hobby,” said Castillo.
He said that his biggest challenge was to help the students understand the songs. He looked deep into the translations and went over each song line by line with the students. He wanted the students to walk in the author’s shoes so they could experience the author’s feelings and understand the author’s messages.
Except for performances by WHS students and alumni in Na Hula O Kaohikukapulani, the court provided the entertainment for the one-hour program. Castillo selected the songs based on the theme “Nani ‘O Kaua‘i.” These included “I Ku mau mau,” “Kauoha Mai” and “Haka” by the court boys. The royal court performed “Noho Pai Pai” and the court girls danced to “Nohili E.” The king’s solo was to “Ka ulu wehi O ke kai” and the queen’s solo was to “Ka Wai Lehua ‘A‘ala ka honua.” The honor court sang “Hawai‘i Aloha” to end the show.
Junior Dayna Cacal served as chairperson for the event. She said the biggest challenge was figuring out what needed to be done. She had sophomore Jeslyn Laysa assisting her, so next year there will be experienced students to serve as chair people.
“If I do it next year, I will be ready,” Cacal said.
Cacal and Laysa began the planning in February. Although a lengthy process, Cacal said it is a good one because it makes it fair for everyone.
“(Those on the court) are people who deserve it the most,” Cacal said. “They are dedicated and serious about it.”
In her essay, Queen Pomai Malama wrote that she was satisfied with how she turned her life around in high school in terms of her attitude and grades. She plans to attend Kaua‘i Community College and Honolulu Community College in graphic design.
Attendant Shavon Torres said the process taught her to express herself. She said the interview questions were easy, because they dealt with Kaua‘i and the Westside.
Lana‘i prince Alton Shimatsu said he was motivated to go through the process to be on the court by the knowledge that he would never have another chance.
“This has helped get me more prepared for life,” Shimatsu said.
Royal Kahili Bearer Curren Mizumoto said his friend, Kimo Farias, made a good king.
“He’s responsible,” Mizumoto said. “He’s there for you.”
Farias said all the time he put into the selection process and practices was worth it, including having to write an essay. He said he wrote about how good it is to live in a beautiful place like Kaua‘i with its beautiful scenery.
Farias plans on joining the National Guard after graduation and then going into culinary arts to become a chef.
The students all agreed that the one thing they will remember is the fun they had being with their friends.
“We tend not to get extravagant,” Castillo said. Instead of ordering and having flowers shipped in, Cuizon made all of the eyelash yarn lei. The girls’ holoku are kept in storage at the school to make their annual appearance. Some were originally made 20 years ago.
The honor court included King Kimo Farias, Queen Pomai Malama, Na Wahine O Waimea Shavon Torres, Royal Kahili Bearers Curren Mizumoto and Austin Armstrong, Hawai‘i Princess Mahina Seward, Hawai‘i Prince Fetu Taala, Kahili Bearer Gabby Sakai, Lana‘i Princess Anakela Celestino, Lana‘i Prince Alton Shimatsu, Kahili Bearer Micah Fernandez, Maui Princess Sasha Kaohi, Maui Prince Jonah-Cy Pascua, Kahili Bearer Calsen Agrade, Kaua‘i Princess Kelly Joyce, Kaua‘i Prince Florens Castillo, Jr., Kahili Bearer Gary Lopez, Kaho‘olawe Princess Jon-e Delos Reyes-Olores, Kaho‘olawe Prince Reyn Lazaro, Kahili Bearer Bradley Frasco, Moloka‘i Princess Shantal Guirao, Moloka‘i Prince Darryl Andres, Kahili Bearer Charles Botelho, O‘ahu Princess Kanoe Carveiro, O‘ahu Prince Thorson Yadao, Kahili Bearer Chris Newcomb, Ni‘ihau Princess Wendy Souza, Ni‘ihau Prince Broc Santiago, Kahili Bearer Mason Lorenzo.