The traditional Kaua‘i Museum Lei Day contest will not be taking place for the second year in a row because of the COVID-19 pandemic health and safety protocols.
In January, the state Department of Education announced the cancellation of all large, in-person social gatherings through June 1. That included proms, banquets, May Day celebrations and other school-sanctioned social events with more than 20 attendees.
“We understand that these are significant and meaningful events to our students,” Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto said in the announcement.
“This decision was made to avoid planning and financial hardships that schools and families would incur due to potential last-minute cancellations. We want our schools to be able to move forward in planning confidently for the best alternative virtual options for their students.”
The DOE and Kaua‘i High School picked up the challenge made during the announcement.
Partnering with the Friends of ‘Iolani Palace, the DOE celebrated May Day in 2020 with its Virtual May Day 2020, featuring student and staff performances “strung together in a beautiful virtual lei” at hawaiipublicschools.org. That showcase is still available on that website.
Kaua‘i High School put together its virtual May Day celebration this year, complete with a royal court, hula and other festivities that will be available for virtual enjoyment starting May 7 through student-based efforts with Kaua‘i High School’s Divina Plowman advising and chaperoning the event.
Sparked by an idea from Jordyn Chong Tim and guided by Kekoa Tango, the video crew worked its magic through appointed times for social distancing to create the piece that will air on the Kaua‘i High School website, kauaihigh.org, starting May 7.
The royal court includes Isabella Roberts as queen, with Kolten Gusman the king.
Ladies in waiting are Xarika Casticimo and Kyla Sebastian, with Bryce Fernandez and Xaedan Valdez being the kahili bearers. Austin Renaud and Jonathan Lau are the spearsmen.
Pomaile DeCosta-Caalim and Christopher Silva represent Hawai‘i Island, and Hailey Silva and Jeremy Herr do the honors for Maui.
Jessica Cezar and Landan Kaneholani represent O‘ahu, and Jhnalei Sales and Kaimiloa Padrones will wear the purple of Kaua‘i.
Jadyn Naka‘ahiki and Kyson Cabinatan represent Ni‘ihau, Kailee Oyama and Kai Gokan wear the Moloka‘i green, and Kahylie-Rose Hepa and Zion Kaluahine-Gambeng are the Lana‘i representatives. Edyn Naka‘ahiki and Elias Pereira represent Kaho‘olawe.
Plowman said that, in addition to May Day, students are also intent on presenting the homecoming court virtually.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or email@example.com.