Page 1

the island school

a tri-annual publication Winter, 2011-2012


Going Strong at 35 Years! What’s Ahead? March 2 & 3 March 7 March 10 March 12 March 22-23 March 22-24 April 2-6 April 17

5th Grade Play, “Around the World in 8 Plays” 7pm Last Day Trimester 2 Auction “An Evening in Paris” 5pm, Kaua“i Marriott Trimester 3 Begins Student/Parent/Teacher Conferences FIRST Robotics Competition, Stan Sheriff Center Spring Break

April 28

Spring Concert @ KCC Perf Arts Cntr. Spring High School Theatre Production Senior Projects

May 4

May Day Program

April 21

(808) 246-0233

• Excerpts from Lindsay Kamm’s 1977 Journal … pg. 2 • Recollections and Expectations … pg. 3 • Kealia Reunion - June 30th … centerfold • It all Started in Kealia … pg. 6 • “An Evening In Paris” Island School’s 33rd Annual Auction… pg. 7

Three Decades of Progress While the country was watching “Happy Days” on TV, “Star Wars” at the movies, and listening to the Bee Gees on the radio, seven exhausted women, their spouses and close friends were about to open the doors to something Kaua‘i had never seen before – an independent school.

Some things change … left: typing class, circa 1977; at right: video production class, circa 2012

… Some things stay the same Posers on the playground in 1986 and 2011

From the journal kept by Co-Founder, Lindsay Kamm January 1, 1977 Last year screamed by. How did we start a school? How did we get $3,000 from McInerny? It was hard work, but not as big a deal as people think. I feel very proud. We are starting the year sanding the floor, painting the walls, with 12 applications in the file and $3,000 for scholarships. January 2, 1977 Tomorrow I have a radio interview with Bob Pickert re: the school. I feel nervous about it because I’m not experienced, not confident of my voice or my ability to think on my feet. But it’s part of what I love about this venture - expanding abilities, experiences. I’m very happy with this New Year.

January 4, 1977 Denise [Kaufman] and I were in Lihu‘e all day yesterday.We spent $169 at Ace again for paint and floor sealer. I did the interview with Bob Pickert at KIVM. I saw Mr.Wilson [Lihu‘e Plantation] about the lease, talked to Mr. Mizutani at the DOE about used school furniture and talked to George Fern at Kaua‘i Floors about vinyl.The expense is unreal, even with a good deal - but it’s so necessary that Denise may buy it as a loan to the school. Money definitely simplifies and eases things, speeds them up. But even with all the time and struggle, I feel the gods are with us.

January 23, 1977 School starts tomorrow.Today. It’s 1:30 a.m. I think the day will be great. I want to start clean tomorrow. No resentments, no regrets, be easy, make people feel good. Be gentle and generous. Our school is real.We made it and it feels so good. Maybe in five years kids will be wearing Island School t-shirts. Maybe I won’t even be part of it and I’ll see them and feel good. But it’s all in the doing. In the right now. Scrubbing toilets, eating soybeans at midnight, getting woken up at 7:30 on Sunday morning to be reminded to buy paint, rubbing paint off each other, sharing a beer, looking at the changes in the place. No single one of us could have done it alone.

Island School Navigator


What were you thinking? Ask an Island School “pioneer” from the Kealia Days what they expected the future to bring. Would we remain a small, somewhat funky college preparatory school? grow into an ivy-covered institution? a boarding school? or what? Jolly Bodine, Co-Founder As we cleaned and hammered and raised money for Kealia, I dreamed only of a school where intellectual curiosity and creativity would develop naturally in a culturally and academically rich environment. Nancy Bushnell, teacher, 1978-1989 I never doubted the future of Island School. I was confident that the education we were providing was solid, in both academics and the arts, and would transfer well to any other high school. As the high school grades were added, the limitations of the Kealia campus became evident, as did the life expectancy of the building itself. Relocating became imperative but I never expected anything as grand as today’s impressive campus. Peggy Ellenburg, Co-Founder Inspired by ideas emanating from the progressive education movement of the 1960s and ‘70s, I envisioned a school with a “lab school” flavor. Teachers would create a child-centered environment that could be customized to fit the needs of individuals. Tried and true educational theories would be sprinkled with new approaches. Teaching and learning would be extensions of a person’s own creativity; where a child’s natural desire to know and understand would be stimulated and supported. Education would be appreciated as a pathway to a fulfilling and contributing life. Denise Kaufman, Co-Founder I never dreamed Island School would leave Kealia. I thought somehow a way would open for us to stay there and expand the school. I DID dream that we’d have gardens which supplied our healthy school food and that we’d someday have a theater for


Island School Navigator

the ever magical Shakespeare and other productions. Mostly I imagined empowered students moving from Island School into the world with confidence, skill, wisdom, kindness and humor. Rochelle Karter, Co-Founder My feeling in 1977 at the opening of the school was a large sense that the plan and our hopes and efforts had succeeded to the fullest extent of our expectations, and that the school would naturally succeed and flourish into the future, as above all a nurturing, safe and innovative place for learning and being. I had no specific image of its evolution, either in location or size; only a sense that Island School had a life of its own. This has certainly proved true. Diana Loomis Dahl, Co-Founder January of 1977, big sweeping overviews were forever lurking in our minds, mine being that our school would become the Seabury Hall (Maui’s premier private school) of Kaua‘i, a time-honored site of learning but with a twist - many classes being held outdoors, the curriculum being derived from observation of the natural world, learning influenced by being set in nature, even an animal program with horses! Beach days, field trips, and a nature-based science curriculum were some of the results of this leaning.

Cristy Peeren, teacher, 1977-present; Head of School, 1982-83 I initially heard about Island School from community members who referred to it as an up-and-coming “alternative” independent school without religious affiliation. Since its modest beginnings, Island School has always been a place where board members, staff and teachers strive to offer the best education to island families. I always expected Island School to develop into a school of the stature and reputation of Seabury Hall on Maui, where I attended high school, Hanahau‘oli School on O‘ahu or Hawai‘i Preparatory Academy on the Big Island. Merlyn Ruddell, Co-Founder My vision in 1977 was that Island School would be a safe harbor for our kids and that the quality of the education would ignite their passion for learning. I never dreamed the school would be in Lihu‘e; I was sure it would stay in Kealia or nearby. That we would have the caliber of leadership that we have in Robert Springer and the multitude of great teachers, and that we would have such support from the kama‘aina of Kaua‘i – that was a total surprise.

Media … Watching a movie in 1978; Watching YouTube in 2012



Introducing (drum roll, please) … The Island School Alumni Association (ISAA) Steering Committee! President: H. Peter King, ‘86 First VP: Nathaniel Evslin, ‘98 Second VP: David Hubbard, ‘00 Secretary: Ita Rubio, ‘01 Treasurer: Clare Petterson, ‘02 This group met in November, officially approved the By-Laws and elected officers. Anyone interested in getting involved is welcome to Contact any of these people or email

2011 - Megan Perius has been taking a full load at Oregon State University. She’s adjusting to being away from Kaua‘i and enjoying snowboarding with new friends from the Hawai‘i Club. Hayley Uliana is spending a semester in the mountains at Azusa Pacific University’s High Sierra Semester. Their program includes camping, rock climbing and trekking among a wide variety of winter wilderness experiences.

2009- Katy Talvi is attending University of Alaska, Fairbanks, majoring in elementary education. She plans on returning to Kaua‘i to see her cousin, Sierra, graduate from Island School. Kariann Lee is studying abroad with the Pacific Rim/Asia Study Travel Abroad Program, exclusive to University of Puget Sound students. Since August, they have traveled to various countries, such as South Korea, Mongolia, Malaysia,Vietnam, and China. She was in Hong Kong on Christmas Eve and went to Hong Kong Disneyland! During winter break, she went to Macau and Thailand - Bangkok and Phuket. After winter break, she spent nine days visiting the Angkor Thom Complex temples and Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia as part of her Art History course. At last report, she was heading to a Tibetan monastery in the Himalayan Mts. Abi Janus lives in San Diego and is attending San Diego City Community College studying photography, as well as The Art Institute of California, studying graphic design. She is going to Cuba this summer with a group from school to take photos and to study the culture, people and architecture. Ron O’Brien is at Univeristy of Hawai‘i, Hilo at the college of Agriculture Foresty and Natural Resource Management. He is specializing inTropical Horticulture and will likely complete his degree in 2014. Ron also works for a koa tree planting operation at Kukai‘au Ranch on the Hamakua Coast. He hopes to study abroad, possibly in Sweden. 2006 - Natasha Arruda has been spending winter trimester as a student teacher in Island School’s second grade classroom. She will earn her Hawai‘i State Teachers License this spring. Natasha graduated in December from Chaminade University in Honolulu with a degree in psychology and elementary education. She is enjoying her experience back at Island School where, she said, she learned to think and plan toward the future. “I love Ms. Connie. We work together so well she’s my role model.” 2005 - Fabio Villa has been going to school in Milan, Italy, and graduated in December with a masters degree in chemical engineering. He spent five Natasha Arruda, ‘06, is student teaching in weeks in Costa Rica as a volunteer, Connie Kakalia’s 2nd grade class. teaching English and science in a school with a shortage of teachers. He’s interested in applying to PhD programs in the United States. Kevin Dhorne has moved to Florida from France where he’s got a year’s contract at Epcot Center with Chefs de France. 2007 - Beatrice Wu graduated from Stanford University last spring with a degree in International Relations. She speaks highly of her Stanford experience: “Stanford is everything I hoped it would be. In my opinion it is actually a lot like Island School, just bigger … much bigger. Academically, Stanford professors really care about their students. They really want our four years here to be a great experience that serve to help us grow and reach our full potentials. Before coming to Stanford I expected to find ridiculously high achieving classmates who are perfect all around, but that is fortunately not the case. How uninteresting would that be?

Calah Nakasone, ‘06, (right) with future alumnus, La‘akea, born last fall. Sister, Caira, ‘02, on the left.

Rather, it is [because of] its diverse group of students, each with his or her own unique point of view and strengths, that Stanford can be considered perfect all around.”

2005 -Congratulations to Ku‘ulei Arruda, who graduated from Hawai‘i Pacific University in December. 2004 -Nick Ellenburg was married on December 22, to Stephie Hofmann in a small ceremony in Limburg, Germany. Nick and Stephie are living in Mannheim, Germany, where Nick is enrolled in a 13 month MBA program at Manheim Business School. Their plans after that will depend on job offers that come his way. Nick (‘04) and Stephie Ellenburg, newly married in December.

2003 - Meghann Matsuda is the founder and CEO of AllRedEye Clothing, which promotes positive and healthy ways of obtaining ‘“ALL RED EYES” (i.e. surfing, skating, hitting the studio late at night, praying all night, MMA and etc.) All Red Eye Clothing is giving kids a better reason for having All Red Eyes. Her company is organizing a surf competition. She announced the birth of her son, Pono, last fall.

Chia Granda, ‘94, and sister Melosa, ‘98, get together at December’s Alumni Reception.

2002 - Clare Petterson has moved back to Kaua‘i with her fiancé, Rory McClure, and is working at Kaua‘i Veternary Clinic where she is head veterinary technician. She is working towards being certified through the American Animal Hospital Association as a vet tech for the state of Hawai‘i. 1993 - Noah Evslin and wife, Genevieve, are the proud parents of Atticus Ka’ili Evslin born on December 16th, 2011. Noah has also been working as the Director of Medical for ABC’s Private Practice and recently received his first television writing credit for an episode that aired on February 9, 2012. Noah and family currently live in Hollywood. 1986 - Certified on the Big Island in 1991, Peter (aka Howatt) King has enjoyed SCUBA diving as both a recreational and professional diver. He has worked as a volunteer at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, cleaning exhibits as well performing as the Kelp Forest Feeding show Diver. He has also worked for the Department of Fish and Game as a Scientific Diver. What is This? Becoming An overnight gathering of our Island School Kealia a SCUBA ‘Ohana. It’s our first Kealia Reunion since 1991. Instructor has been a lifelong Who’s Invited? dream of his Anyone who went to Island School during the “Kealia as Peter enjoys Years,” from 1977-1991; working with Parents whose children attended at Kealia; both children People who taught/worked at Island School during and adults the “Kealia Years.” to not only teach them Where is This? how to be safe Camp Sloggett, Koke‘e underwater, but also to How To Sign Up spread his Check in on Facebook: enthusiasm events/258426055956/ for ocean stewardship Or email for more information. and Register now - space is limited. conservation.

Kealia Reunion June 30-July1 2012

From Humble Beginnings Most people living on Kaua‘i in the late Among the first to show financial 1970s who even knew a school was support to the school was the opening in Kealia, didn’t give it much McInerny Foundation who, in 1977, thought. But those involved – teachers, gave a $3000 grant for financial board members, students and parents assistance. “It’s important to note – knew they were at the beginning of that tuition assistance has been a something very special. A pioneering part of the school’s budget from spirit prevailed; everyone stepped up the beginning,” to the plate to “make said Lindsay, who it happen.” ❝.… with a little bit of wrote the original

luck and a few financial breaks, [Island School] may some day be a revered institution with a history and tradition of its own. ❞

grant. Other foundations that gave support to the fledgling enterprise included G.N. & S.W. WilcoxTrusts, Samuel & Mary “Kauai’s Punahou,” Honolulu Castle Foundation, Magazine, March, 1981 Frear Eleemosynary Trust, Atherton Family Foundation and Cook Foundation. Prior to the opening of Island School, parents could send their children Four years later, in 1981, the Board of to either public schools, Catholic Directors was already envisioning an schools or off island. There were enrollment of 200, higher teachers’ families who wanted a school for salaries and a new, more centralized their children that offered a more campus. That year marked an personalized education, with a focus important milestone for Island School: on academics and the arts. “We were an experiment,” said Lindsay, “but the first diplomas were received by people were willing to take a chance the graduating class, which contained on us.” three students. “It was really a struggle at first,” remembered Lindsay Kamm, who helped start the school and was its first director (head of school). “We couldn’t have done it without everybody pitching in.”

Important Numbers of January 24, 1977

12 Total student enrollment on the first day of school.

6 Full time administrative and teaching staff

260.00 Monthly rent paid to Lihu‘e Plantation

2000.00 The amount we had to borrow from the bank to open the school

800.00 Cost of a year’s tuition

144.00 Monthly gross salary for teachers

May Day … circa 1987 at left, and 2010 at right.


Island School Navigator

Celebrating 35 Years by Robert Springer Head of School Thirty-five years! Before cell phones and iPads; before Google, YouTube and Twitter; before instant communication and widespread use of the Internet. Island School has been in existence even longer than many of our teachers and office workers. This gives rise to the notion that institutions transcend generations, they outlive individuals, and if they are useful to humankind, their founders and developers should be gratefully remembered. Think with me for a minute about our founders, seven women who had vision, energy, and persistence. They came together as if by design, as if it were meant to be, an amazing synchronicity; they happened together to start a school. To begin with, they were not close, several did not even know the others, but they shared a desire to create an institution that would be an alternative to the large public school system. They pursued this dream for some eight years, getting Island School underway, and then they dispersed, went their separate ways. As a group, as founders, their work was over.Yet what they started is what benefits all of us today. Over time, as they worked together, they grew to respect and enjoy each other, and they have remained in close contact for the more than 3 ½ decades since Island School’s beginning. What we’re talking about is the nature of birthdays. Island School’s birthday involves our entire ‘ohana: founders and members of the Board of Directors, students and families, teachers and administrators and staff members. Also, birthdays are historical; they are milestones that recognize growth over time, celebrate the present, and anticipate the future. Such connections are what our birthday assemblies and the activities that follow are about.

Development Update You’re not too late for

“An Evening in Paris” Island School’s 33rd Annual Gala Auction

Saturday March 10, 2012

Kaua‘i Marriott Resort & Beach Club

Old-World Charm, Fine French Wine & Cuisine Together With Fabulous Company

Emcee - Ron Wiley Auctioneer - “Surfer” Joe Teipel Live & Silent Auctions Unique Entertainment Limited Tickets Available Call 246-0233 Today

Let us affirm that Island School is growing, vigorous, and useful to humankind, the result of efforts of many over 3½ decades and continuing to this day. The founders and developers are worthy of being gratefully remembered. Let us join in appreciation for Island School, aware of our heritage and also of our responsibility to do our part in keeping its traditions alive and well. Happy Birthday, Island School, Happy Birthday to us all.

Island School Navigator


Mahalo to guest writer, Lindsay Kamm

Peggy Ellenburg

I like to call her, “the keeper of the flame.” A founder and board member from 1976 to 1987, Peggy provided some of Island School’s first visionary sparks. She’s had a variety of jobs at Island School over the years and still wears a number of hats: Drama Teacher, Publications Director, and Director of Alumni Relations. Island School has been a family affair for her as well; son Nick (’04) attended for 13 years, and husband Willy just retired in 2011 after seven years of employment.

Reflecting on the last 35 years in her office next to the stage in the Main Hall, Peggy pointed to some of the theatre programs and photos on her wall: Kamehameha, the Lonely One was the first play Peggy wrote with her students in the spring of 1977 as part of a total school immersion in Hawaiian studies. In 1980, she took students to the Renaissance Faire at Allerton’s Gardens to perform scenes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and in 1981, Island School collaborated with Kaua‘i Community Players to stage Oliver! at the Kaua‘i Memorial Convention Hall. One of the most exhilarating moments, she recalls, was moving into the Main Hall at Puhi where she was blessed with a stage, curtains, lights, and a dressing room. Peggy estimates that she has produced at least 75 student plays, and she still enjoys pouring her creative energy into drama productions. As Publications Director, Peggy writes the weekly Parent Connection and publishes the Navigator three times a

“An Evening in Paris” Island School’s 33rd Annual Gala Auction Saturday, March 10, 2012 Kaua‘i Marriott Resort & Beach Club

Island School 3-1875 Kaumuali´i Hwy Lihu´e, HI 96766

year. She works on the website and maintains the school calendar and its Facebook pages. Given her history, Peggy is in the unique position of knowing each and every alumnus of Island School! As Director of Alumni Relations since 2004, she makes daily efforts to keep in touch with as many graduates and former students as possible. Developing an alumni organization is a slow process that takes place over generations. The recent formation of the Island School Alumni Association, headed by H. Peter King, is “satisfying progress.” Peggy is not even close to running out of steam, something she attributes to the fact that her job is constantly changing and she is constantly learning. Whether it’s a new job, a new technology, or a new play, Peggy says, “Everything that I’m good at, I learned here. It’s all fascinating to me!” Besides the intellectual energy, Peggy loves being around the kids. “Where else would I get so many hugs?”

Navigator - Winter 2011-2012  

Tri-Annual publication

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you