LIHU‘E — Lines at retail store checkout lanes and on Kaua‘i’s roadways were brisk and steady Friday as the island celebrated high school graduations at three of the Kaua‘i public high schools.
Waimea High School principal Mahina Anguay said Kaua‘i Complex Area Superintendent Paul Zina wanted to attend the Thursday afternoon practice at the school’s front lawn, but was involved with the Board of Education meeting that, following a more than 12 hour discussion on the finalists for the state superintendent, finally hired Keith Hayashi, the current interim superintendent, to a four-year term.
“Mr. Zina wanted to do the announcement of the Kaua‘i Area Complex Teacher of the Year,” Anguay said. “Instead, I get to announce Waimea High School Senior English Language Arts Teacher Shelby Ann Erdmann as the Kaua‘i Teacher of the Year.”
That announcement was made before the 170 graduating students who rehearsed their routines on the school’s Front Lawn that was planned to accommodate gatherings like graduation.
“This is the largest class that I’ve had at Waimea High School,” Anguay said. “Mrs. Erdmann is clearly the heart and soul of Waimea High. I whole-heartedly feel she deserves to be honored as Kaua‘i’s Teacher of the Year.”
One of the notable projects leading to Erdmann’s selection is the Mauka to Makai project focusing on the health and sustainability of the Waimea River.
“It started off as a simple argumentative essay and morphed into a student-driven community project that drew hundreds of people to volunteer back-breaking sweat labor to break down silt islands that had developed over time, one bucket at a time,” Anguay said. “Waimea High School teachers from all content areas jumped into the project and tied their classwork into Mrs. Erdmann’s project. Pieces of this project have continued over the years with Waimea’s physics, engineering, and math classes.”
When Waimea High School transitioned from a traditional, comprehensive high school to become a “wall-to-wall career academy school,” Erdmann was part of the transition.
“Following her return from Houston, Texas where she toured model academy schools, Mrs. Erdmann helped to create the key foundational documents of the Academies of Waimea such as our College and Career Continuum, and the Profile of a Graduate that we continue to use, today,” Anguay said. “She used her experiences learned through Teacher Leader Academy and served as lead teacher for the Academy of Health, Natural Resources, and Human Services for two years where she continued to help create structure and processes regarding curriculum, assessments, and student support.”
These are just some of the aspects of her work leading to Kaua‘i’s Teacher of the Year honors.
“If it rains, bring an umbrella,” said the Kaua‘i High School senior advisor Friday during the senior class’ final practice before the big event at Vidinha Stadium that had been adjusted to minimize the risk of prolonged large gatherings.
Of note to Kaua‘i High School principal Marlene Leary, who was in attendance at the practice, are the students enrolled in military service following graduation from a school that does not have a JROTC program on campus.
“We have seven students enrolled in the different branches of the military,” Leary said. “That’s an increase from the two we celebrated during last year’s graduation. This is because of the good work being done by the recruiters of the different military branches. They’re always on campus working with the students.”
Kaua‘i High School graduated 240 students with 20 valedictorians before an audience that lined both sides of Vidinha Stadium with lei presentation being done outside the fence perimeter for the baseball field.
“We’re so proud of this Class of 2022 for their grit, courage, and sweat through four years, and especially during the pandemic,” said Leary. “We also want to thank the community for all of its support for the students to make it to this point.”
Kapa‘a High School celebrated the graduation of 238 graduates at the Bryan J. Baptiste Sports Complex stadium.
Source: The Garden Island