Don’t Miss the Poetry

Kaunakakai students showcase their talents

Payton, grade 2, shows off one of her pieces of art and poetry.

By Catherine Cluett

Still clad in his baseball uniform, Kaunakakai School fourth grader Erik ran into the cafeteria after practice. It was the second annual Poetry Explosion, an event that showcases student works of art and poetry. A few minutes later, Erik strode to the microphone to read one of his poems, entitled “Ode to Baseball.”

He was one of many elementary students to take the mic and share their talents last Friday afternoon. Cafeteria walls and tables were covered in a vibrant display of student work.

One of the pieces made by budding poet and artist, second grade student Payton, is a colorful depiction of butterflies, accompanied by a poem that describes the life of a butterfly: “Butterflies fly in the grassy green meadows and search for sweet nectar.”

“The best part was the painting,” she said. “I did the painting before the poem.”

Third and fourth grade teacher Heidi Jenkins said the art and writing processes are very similar, and the development of a piece varies with each student. She encourages students to let their work sit and come back later to add the finishing touches.

Kanani, grade 4, explained her process of writing poetry. “I just think really hard and write it down, then I think about formatting it.”

One wall of the Kaunakakai School cafeteria was covered with glowing drawings of ukuleles with accompanying “Ode to Ukulele” poems. Teacher Alestra Menendez said this year, third graders made their own ukuleles, and the art, writing, and woodworking all tied together.

“I told them odes are an exaggeration of how you adore something,” she said.

The results are often breathtaking.

“Ukulele, ‘ukulele / Oh, your body looks like a hula dancer / dancing the night away,” wrote one student, Kyra, about her instrument.

Family, faculty and students of Kaunakakai School also enjoyed live music from the Anahaki Blend band and a chance to view student-produced award-winning Public Service Announcements that were also shown at this year’s Earth Day celebration.

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