‘Singing’ in the New School Day

Rachel Breitweser ’03

December 15, 2016

At 7:55 a.m. each day, K – 1 students gather in the middle of their neighborhood facing Mānoa Valley to recite a morning entrance chant in Hawaiian. The chant honors their teachers and asks permission to start the school day.

Watch the students perform the oli, with Hawaiian and English subtitles.

“It’s a chicken-skin moment when all 300 kids get themselves calm and quiet to begin their chant. At that moment, they’re really tuned into each other, and they chant with authority,” said Rebecca Kesler, kindergarten teacher.

While some classes have been reciting the oli on their own, this is the first year the entire neighborhood has put it into practice together. The K – 1 Ke Oli Komo (welcome chant), which was written by Academy Hawaiian language students under the guidance of teacher Emma McGuire '93, adds to the students’ repertoire of Hawaiian oli.

“It’s in line with the Aims of a Punahou Education to include Hawaiian culture into what we do,” said Kesler.


  • 1/13/2017 1:16:18 AM

    This is wonderful. Only wish I could go back to K-1! – Kanani

  • 1/13/2017 11:59:48 PM

    What a beautiful new tradition! Definitely gave me chicken skin. – Sherry

  • 1/14/2017 8:37:45 PM

    Oh, I'm so proud of our Punahou keki! That oli was wonderful! But then to see one of my third graders Donna Reid '78 standing in the line up of teachers really made me tear up. – Kathleen Cloward '57 Sattler


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