Big Island Teacher Recognized at the Capitol for Work with Cultural-Based Learning Program

Bonnie Pua Case, a teacher at Waimea Middle School, was honored today with a certificate of recognition from the Hawaii State Legislature at the Outstanding Advocates for Children and Youth Awards Luncheon.

As part of Hawaii’s Children and Youth Month, the Hawaii Outstanding Advocate for Children and Youth Award was established by the Hawaii State Legislature to recognize the superb commitment and efforts demonstrated by organizations and individuals that protect and promote Hawaii’s youth. Thirteen individuals and organizations were honored this year.

Case was nominated by Rep. Cindy Evans for her notable achievements and work at Waimea Middle School. She has served the school as a classroom teacher, the Student Services Coordinator and, most recently, the ‘Ike Hawaii Resource Teacher.

The ‘Ike Hawaii cultural learning program plays an integral and essential part in guiding the school’s objectives in Hawaiian-focused cultural curriculum, projects, practices and perspectives.

“Pua has been an inspiration at Waimea Middle School,” said Rep. Evans. “She is committed to the ‘Ike Hawaii cultural learning program that strives toward connecting culture to curriculum and tying tradition to technology. We are very proud of her achievements and dedication and commitment to educating Hawaii’s youth.”

As a mentor and kupuna, Case strives to inspire each child to understand and love their culture and land (aina). She encourages children to have a sense of pride and respect for their Hawaiian heritage through storytelling and hula workshops, and the teaching of chants, history and geography. In addition, with the ‘Ike Hawaii Mala’ai school garden workshops, Case has provided a hands-on experience for students to learn the importance of working and cultivating the aina to maintain a sustainable community while collaborating with others in the community. The program is designed to connect students to cultural lifestyles and resource practitioners in the community.

The program focuses on the theme of “Sense of Place, Sense of Identity,” which was selected to nurture connection to the places, traditions, history and heritage that surround the student’s everyday life. A sample semester of events for 7th graders would include: introduction to Hawaiian language; lessons on traditions, culture and lifestyle of Kamehameha; site visits to the PIKO Gallery for Social Studies lessons; pa’u lesson and horse lei-making service project for Aloha Festivals Parade; and a hands-on lesson on making cordage as was done in the Pacific and Hawaii as shown in their textbooks. These are just a few of the many lessons with the “make it real” component of the ‘Ike program initiative.

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