by Christie Pavey, TCS Latin Teacher
Thirty years ago in an old white house in Indianapolis, there was a little girl with curly blonde hair singing and dancing to her new favorite Christmas song, Mele Kalikimaka (as sung by Bing Crosby). She listened to that song over and over again, constantly turning back her plastic record to hear it yet one more time. She even had fun hand motions—when the palm trees sway. The words sounded really fun to her, and she liked saying them, especially as they seemed to be said in a sing-song way. As a preschooler, she didn’t understand that those fun words were a different language—in fact, the first words she would learn in a language besides English. She also didn’t yet know that later she would go on to learn more languages, even teaching one of them...and that eventually she would move to the place where Mele Kalikimaka was ‘the thing to say’.
As I close out my first semester at TCS, and spend my first Christmas in the land of rainbows, I cannot help but reflect on how I have been led to this place. My first non-Anglophone phrase was Hawaiian, and even from that young age, I was already entranced by palm trees, sand, and the warm, shining sun. Now, God has brought me to the place where palm trees sway, where the sun shines bright, and where everyone says Mele Kalikimaka!
Did you get to see our students perform at our K-12 Christmas Concert and today's Preschool Christmas Program? Watch them below!
Preschool Christmas Program
K-12 Christmas Program
By Peahi Kapepa, TCS parent
When deciding to send my daughter to Trinity Christian School, I was very attracted to the school as a whole. First, for the obvious reasons that the Bible is taught and prayer and Christ are woven throughout everything the students do from playtime to resolving conflicts and problems.
Now, three years later, I’ve learned about the Classical Christian approach and its benefits as a natural progression of education. At first, it sounded strange to me. When it comes to things that seem complicated and fancy, I assume that it’s something that it’s not. My skepticism was proven right and wrong. Right, by learning what Classical Christian education is, I realized it is relatively simple and a common-sense approach that has been shown over time. And wrong, in that the American public education system has strayed far from what was working for so long. The “new” progressive method has “dumbed down” the basics of how children are taught.
The Trivium is comprised of Grammar, Logic and Rhetoric stages but I’ve chosen to focus on the first part of the Trivium: Grammar. Not only is grammar taught but heavily emphasized in the classical format in K-6. Grammar is explained using the vehicles of song and chant which is invaluable to memorization. It’s also fun and causes the kids to thrive in their early years. Instead of merely learning “grammar,” students are learning all subjects from a logical perspective. It has been fascinating to see this at work in my daughter.
Another part of the grammar stage of the classical method that attracted me to Trinity is the focus on language. I was glad to find out that Hawaiian is taught in the first few years of Elementary school because my daughter and I are part-Hawaiian. I have taught her to first identify herself as a child of God, but it’s important to me that she learn about her culture and the beautiful place we are blessed to live.
The other language subject that impressed me is that Latin is taught. My parents both studied Latin in high school and college, and I know how much they value the understanding it gave them. I look forward to my daughter delving into the subject.
We are approaching our fourth year at Trinity, and I am absolutely sold on the classical Christian method of education. I’ve had the perspective of witnessing the school as a parent and as a teacher. I will testify to the value of classical Christian education and how my daughter has blossomed and excelled in this system. Our Christian family values are being reinforced at school. My daughter is receiving a superior education based on a proven record. It will continue to enhance her life after she graduates.
Written by Claire Butin, Elementary Music Teacher
Music is a powerful learning tool in classical education. In the grammar stage, students learn how to use their God-given voices in the very best way, the basics of music theory, the beginning stages of music reading and instrumental performance, and an appreciation for many classical masterpieces of music. Music can bring joy and change hearts, and it is important to give each child this gift.
In kindergarten and first grade, we learn to sing with solfege and solfege hand signs for the different scale degrees. The hand signals help the students get the feeling of the notes into their bodies and to firmly establish pitch relationships. These hand signs are internationally used.
Instrumental performance is an important part of music education. Even at a young age, children are developing self-control, teamwork, rhythm reading, stage presence, musical expression, and having fun through playing simple percussion instruments such as rhythm sticks and maracas.
The elements of music are also taught in a classical way: through songs and jingles!
Each month, the students study a different composer. Though Vivaldi did not write any words for his masterpiece, “The Four Seasons,” we have added a few. By having the children sing these classic melodies with some added words, it helps them remember the composer, which part of the piece they are listening to, and what mood the composer was trying to convey.
Body percussion is a fun way to have students grasp harder rhythmic concepts.
What is Classical Christian Education?
Reflections at the start of a new school year
by Eric Fugitt
There is a crisp feeling in the air on a cool August morning as the doors to Trinity Christian School open wide and a new year begins to unfold. There is a flood of enthusiasm amongst the faculty, parents, and students as we eagerly anticipate the wonders we will uncover over the next 9 months. Uniforms are freshly laundered and neatly worn, and an eager smile shines on every face. I see waving parents—resting in the confidence of their choice of school for their children—dropping them off at the curb or walking their little ones to their fresh, new classrooms. The atmosphere is electrified with wonder, awakened from its summer drowsiness, igniting anticipation in having that wonder fulfilled.
Throughout the next few months, the halls of the grammar school in this classical Christian environment will resound with the echoes of chants, sound-offs, and songs being ardently practiced each day by energetic and enthusiastic children taking satisfaction in their ability to memorize astonishing quantities of material with relative ease. These children are being taught according to their God-given gifts. We are teaching “with the grain” of each child, which promotes wonder and makes for a happy and contented student. Gone are the days of goading the child to prematurely reach far beyond his grasp to higher-level thinking which he finds unpleasant—making little sense to his developing mind. This child is the most content when life consists of black and white, right and wrong, and facts and rules. He takes delight in his ability to recall and recite volumes of information from their latest science or bible lesson, sing funny grammar jingles, or chant about his history time-period.
In the grammar school, we are about the business of teaching the facts and rules (the grammar) of each subject in God’s creation to foster a sense of wonder already present in the child’s mind. There is a telos, or purpose, in teaching this way. We are preparing him for a life with Christ as well as for the next level of his classical education—the logic stage—where his “wonder-grain” starts to take on a new pattern.
As he moves out of the grammar stage, his mind is bursting with knowledge that the secondary teachers begin to rework. His new sense of wonder takes delight in analyzing the world around him while looking for flaws. Everything is prey to his analysis. No lapses in logic are insignificant. He scrutinizes everything so as to argue everything.
Knowing their students possess in full measure these characteristics, the teachers begin to train him to discuss and debate moral issues in a Christ-like manner. Teachers at this level challenge their students’ assumptions. This requires a tough skin, because the teacher is now the target of his students. We educate him in the fine art of argumentation with an intentional concentration on his demeanor (ethos), logic (logos), and persuasiveness (pathos) so that he may bring glory to God and be firmly grounded when interacting in the adult world. We encourage and help facilitate a deeper relationship with Christ so that He may mold the child into His image—creating within him a deeper beauty.
Finally, as he progresses through to the Rhetoric stage, he now has his facts and rules of the world around him; he has dissected the significance of the Logos (Christ—the glory of God); he has logically debated the effects of the Creation, Fall and Redemption of man; and he now learns to articulate his viewpoint reasonably and persuasively for the glory of God. It is in the Rhetoric stage that the “wonder-grain” bends once again as the student now desires to articulate the wisdom God has given him. This articulation is performed both orally and in written form. Deep, meaningful discussions permeate the Rhetoric stage. Along with core academic classes, students take formal rhetoric to refine the craft of discussion and persuasion. A Christ-like presence, an ability to reason in a reflective, thoughtful manner, and an attractive persuasiveness in speaking the Truth are the aims of a classical Christian education.
The ultimate goal of a classical Christian education is heart and character formation for the glory of God. True education can only be accomplished within the context of a strong biblical worldview. We establish our students in the truth of the Lordship of Jesus Christ over all knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. We bask in the truth, beauty, and goodness of Jesus Christ found in His Word and in His creation. This is what we do. This is our spiritual act of worship each day. Soli Deo Gloria.
Using Discernment: Reflections from Irene Kano
Written by Irene Kano, Mauka Campus Principal
A few weeks ago, I found myself face to face with a child whose face was dripping with sweat and bright red with anger. He had been “sent to the Principal’s office” for a recess altercation where he had punched his classmate. Violence is entirely unacceptable, and as the Principal, it is part of my job to enforce school rules to keep all students safe. But as a parent and teacher who is tremendously thankful for the grace and patience of my Heavenly Father, I have learned the importance of taking the time to ask God for discernment and trust His insight to guide me so that I discipline children the way He teaches me.
Over the years I’ve learned that when supervising kids, we often only see the adverse reaction, but not necessarily the cause, of an altercation. The boy who was hit initially cried victim and the red-faced boy has been in my office a few times before. But when we got to the bottom of it, the “victim” was the one who had initiated the fight. I then had the opportunity to talk with both boys about how each of them was wrong in the situation, and explain how they shared the responsibility in the sinful act. It is easy for us to jump to conclusions and label our children or colleagues as “difficult” or “problems.” But when we do so, we limit our fellow image-bearers to our skewed perceptions of them and don’t leave room for the Holy Spirit to open our eyes and hearts. Discernment, grace, and the patience to understand are especially crucial when disciplining our kids and confronting our brothers and sisters when we’ve been wronged. I’m still learning to do this, and when I don’t get it right, I’m thankful for the reminder that God sees us entirely. In our best and in our worst, He remains loving and just.
TCS Student Artwork Chosen for Exhibition!
Written by Cheri Firth
Did You Just Call 9-1-1?
Written by Nancy Keegan
I really enjoy my job. I’m entering my 10th year as the person at the front desk on the Makai Campus. In the beginning, the Makai Campus only housed the 5th-8th grade. We were really small, but each year the campus grew and will continue to grow as classes fill out and eventually double through all grade levels.
There is a pretty big leap from 3rd grade to 4th grade. Not only do you change campuses but you are now going to school with some kids who are 18 years old! In August, the 4th graders are so small but little by little they start to grow up. Before you know it, your little 4th grader will be the big Senior! The students will grow in responsibility and autonomy every year. In August of 4th grade, it might seem unimaginable that in a little over a year, you will say good-bye to your 5th grader as they head off to the Big Island with their class. A huge rite of passage and a critical building block toward high school and eventually adulthood.
When students move to the Makai Campus things are done a little differently. When you’re not feeling well, typically you will be instructed to call your parent to let them know the situation and together you can make a decision if you should stay in school. Some points are non-negotiable (fevers and vomiting), but as you get older, a student and their parent need to weigh out the cost vs. benefits of missing school. To talk to your parent, a student needs to learn phone etiquette and simply how to use a phone. It is not as easy as it sounds, most kids have not used a land line, they’ve grown up with only a cellular phone.
It is just basic skill building. Funny story, if a parent has a non-Hawaii number you need to dial, 9, then 1, then the phone number. One day a student looks up at me and says, “I made a mistake, what should I do?” I look down and see they dialed 9, then 1, then another 1. Yikes! I hang up the phone, hoping my quick reflexes were faster than the 9-1-1 operator. They weren’t! I’m not sure how 9 was chosen as the number to get an outside line. I’m even more surprised I have not had this problem happen more than once.
As we grow these young 4th graders into mature TCS graduates, we will stumble occasionally, we will fall a few times, we will undoubtedly make tough decisions, and learn some hard lessons, but I think this is all pretty normal. I had a wise mom say to me once, “Pray, that your child gets caught early and often.” This is great advice. I want my children to make mistakes and get caught now so we can guide them and help them to make better decisions as they get older. Mistakenly calling 9-1-1 is a simple error, but most likely not one this student will repeat.
Another Successful Makahiki in the Books!
Written by Nancy Keegan
In its 5th year, the 2017 TCS Makahiki was a great success. From its inception, the goals for the Makahiki were to build community within the school, invite Windward Oahu to see how special our little school is, promote elements of Hawaiian culture, and raise funds for financial assistance and school enhancement efforts (PTF). This parent believed 100% in the mission and vision of TCS and wanted to be able to share that with all of Oahu.
The success of the Makahiki was due in part to the vision and commitment of this parent but more than that, it is because of our TCS ‘ohana. When you are part of a school ‘ohana you are bound together, not by only by blood but by a cooperative effort and care for each other. When we are concerned with the interests of others, we will be blessed abundantly.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:4-5
Trinity wants to be recognized as a school of excellence. We desire to be unashamedly Christian, excellent in academics, strengthen the character of our students, and partner with parents.
Events like the TCS Makahki strengthen our ‘ohana. The TCS Makahiki, is only possible due to the investment of our school families. Our goal was 100% participation. We didn’t reach that goal, but in the five years of chairing this event, it grew and flourished. The event got bigger and earned more money, but more importantly, the TCS students, families, and teachers found value in the event and wanted to contribute to its success. Mrs. Greene volunteered to rent the cotton candy machine and get sticky making cotton candy all day. ‘Ohana RC volunteered to set up the fun race course game. Parents began showing up at 6:30 am ready to help. Parents I’d never met emailed wanting to donate items for auction and be part of the entertainment. The event achieved portions of the goal to build the community well before the blessing to begin the Makahiki.
Was the Makahiki A LOT of work? YES! I have five years of Makahiki sweat and grit under my fingernails. Will I remember exactly how much work it was? NO. What are some of my 2017 Makahiki memories? I will remember cutting the kiawe wood and smelling that kalua pig when its pulled from the imu. I will remember listening to Brother Noland sing, make jokes about being stuck in the traffic, and watch Hailey dance a beautiful hula. I will remember the winds calmed, the sun shined, and it was a beautiful day spending time with our Trinity ‘ohana.
Getting up early, working hard, planning for months, all of these experiences build our bonds to one another. The fun times and the memories cement those relationships. We are entering a new season for the TCS Makahiki. As co-chairs (myself and Raynee David) believe it is time to allow others to rise in leadership and reap the benefits of building the community, relationships, and ‘ohana at TCS.
Kupuna Day 2017
Written by Linda Kawakami
This past Friday, November 3, was the last of five Kupuna days held at Trinity Christian School. Kupuna, which means grandparents or esteemed elders, were invited to the elementary school to enjoy refreshments, take photos, and observe their grandchild sharing what they learned in class. For the secondary students, Kupuna were treated to a Friday Coram Deo, which the students spend worshipping in song and singing in four part harmony, led by Music teacher Jonathan Fant. We are thankful for the love and support shown to our students' Kupuna by their attendance at these events!
Today we flew to the Big Island. We were welcomed so warmly by the pilot and our tour guide, Uncle Keith. The students were so excited to see Rainbow Falls. We were all touched by the beauty of the falls and the beauty of God's creation. Uncle Keith was a wealth of information and humor as we traveled from place to place. Lyman Museum was amazing! We were able to see gems, shells, the progression of plants and animals in Hawaii, and the history and culture of the Hawaiian Islands. We also learned so much about the Lyman family and their mission and school work. The lava fields and petroglyphs were the highlight of the day. We saw smooth lava (pahoehoe) and rough lava (a'a). We also traced and saw amazing petroglyphs of circles, people, turtles, and other interesting shapes. All in all today was an amazing day!
Written by Katie Duncan