Nā Pono No Nā ʻOhana’s Junior Kindergarten had 15 keiki graduate this year. The festivities took place on site at Blanche Pope Elementary School in Waimānalo, and the attending families were able to enjoy the keiki’s artwork from the year hung up across the walls.
The annual graduation event saw the keiki perform a few songs for their families, collect ‘diplomas’ and receive certificates inside brand-new backpacks. Project Director ‘Aunty’ Lora Perry and her staff even helped one keiki graduate via FaceTime when he and his family were unable to be present.
The event is their way of showing the families how much the Nā Pono team is blessed to have the families be part of the program. Some families have been part of it for 10 years, and Nā Pono No Nā ʻOhana would not be what it is without each and every one of the families, their keiki, and everyone else they bring with them.
“Here in Hawaiʻi, it is so hard to get into a preschool program,” says Keera Ho-Mook, the Project Coordinator with Nā Pono. “I think providing this opportunity for these families gives them an option that they might not otherwise have.”
Following the graduation, families gathered around their keiki to celebrate this first of many big steps in their education. In completing the Junior Kindergarten, the children have shown that they are prepared to come into a kindergarten classroom and thrive.
“It gives the graduates and their families a sense of accomplishment,” continues Keera. She explains the importance of education to these families, and how vital it is to show the keiki how important school can be for them.
Besides the excitement of graduating and celebrating with their families, Nā Pono treated the keiki to a showing from the Reptile Man, a shave ice truck, and a delicious brunch.
When asked about a message for the graduating keiki, Keera had insightful words.
“We wish them well and hope that we have provided a stepping stone for them for the rest of their future. We believe that success can start at any age, and if we teach our families and our children that all of this can be possible, then they know that every step that they go towards, they can accomplish it.”
Hoʻomaikaʻi to the Nā Pono No Nā ʻOhana Junior Kindergarten graduating class of 2019! We wish you all the best for your future!
To see more photos from the graduation, go to our Facebook album here.