Sacred Hearts Academy

Episode # 921: Compilation of stories from Season 9


This compilation show features some of the top stories from the spring quarter of the 2017-2018 school year. Each of the stories presents an excellent example of an element that is essential to successful dramatic storytelling: change.


–Students at Maui Waena Intermediate School in Kahului tell the story of a former I.T. professional who makes a mid-life career change by returning to his family’s farming roots – but in a modern, 21st century way.


–Students at Waia‘nae Intermediate School in West O‘ahu tell the story of a young woman whose desire to join the men’s football team at her school causes people close to her to change their attitudes.


–Students at Sacred Hearts Academy in the Kaimukī district of O‘ahu follow the change from student to career professional in a mentoring program known as Girls Got Grit.


–Students at Wheeler Middle School in Central O‘ahu show how simple ingredients like flour and glue change into a gooey and creative substance that will keep kids occupied for hours on end.


–Students at Kamehameha Schools Maui Middle School in Pukalani profile a fitness instructor who helps senior citizens adapt to the physical changes that occur in the aging process.


–Students at Dole Middle School in the Kalihi district of O‘ahu highlight a very basic form of change: learning something new. In this case, we learn how to perform a traditional Filipino dance known as the tinikling.


–Students from H.P. Baldwin High School in Wailuku, Maui, follow a young man through his grueling recovery after the car he was driving was struck by a drunk driver.


–Students from Ewa Makai Middle School on O‘ahu follow the change in a dog as she goes from being homeless to finding her permanent, forever home.


This special episode of HIKI NŌ is hosted by two aspiring journalists from Sacred Hearts Academy on O‘ahu: Shelby Mattos and Rebecca Meyer.



Episode # 909: Top Story – The pros and cons of using Uber and other ride-sharing services


Students from Sacred Hearts Academy in Kaimuki on O‘ahu explore the pros and cons of using Uber and other ride-sharing services. The main issues raised by students, parents and drivers revolve around convenience versus safety for young riders. The story also explains Uber’s policy that restricts minors from riding alone, a fact of which many teenagers and parents are unaware. The student reporters learn that Uber is testing a service for teens in several cities, though not yet here in Hawai‘i.


–Students from Maui Waena Intermediate School explain how their robotics coach found his passion while teaching students to stretch their tech expertise.


–Students from Farrington High School in Kalihi on O‘ahu introduce us to an alum who has devoted decades to preserving the school’s history and spreading a positive message about the school and its students.


–Students from the Montessori School of Maui Middle School explore the pervasive problem of bullying and offer tips for students dealing with bullies at school.


–A student from Kapa‘a High School on Kaua‘i shows and tells us how Tahitian dance has helped her relieve stress, enjoy life and preserve her cultural traditions.


–Students from Waiākea High School in Hilo on the Big Island profile a student athlete who proves that determination can overcome her physical disadvantage and beat the competition.



Episode #824


This special edition of HIKI NŌ highlights some of the best stories from the spring quarter of the 2016-2017 school year. The outstanding HIKI NŌ stories in this compilation show include:


“Mochi Pounding” from Maui Waena Intermediate School in Kahului, Maui:
The story of a Maui family who continues their annual New Year’s tradition of mochi pounding, despite the recent passing of the family matriarch.


“Tough Vice-Principal” from Ewa Makai Middle School on O‘ahu:
A classic “don’t judge a book by its cover” story about a vice-principal whose tough exterior belies her heart of gold.


“Fashion Entrepreneurs” from Sacred Hearts Academy on O‘ahu:
Two Honolulu-based fashion entrepreneurs mentor young local designers who are trying to break into the business.


“Tie-Dye Artist” from Kalani High School in East Honolulu:
Inspired by 1960s cultural icons like The Beatles, a Honolulu teenager launches her own line of tie-dye clothing.


“Diabetic Athlete” from Waiakea High School in the Hilo district of Hawai‘i Island:
A star high school athlete faces his toughest opponent off the court: Type 1 Diabetes.


“Pedestrian Walking Flags” from Wai‘anae High School in West O‘ahu:
A woman takes it upon herself to sew red flags that are held up by pedestrians as they cross the notoriously dangerous crosswalks in Waiʻanae. The red flags go a long way in alerting drivers that there are pedestrians crossing in front of them.


“The Fact of You” from Kaua‘i High School in Lihue:
A personal essay about identifying one’s authentic nature and remaining true to it.


“Ukrainian Student” from Nānākuli High and Intermediate School in West O‘ahu:
The story of a foreign exchange student from Ukraine who embraces and reciprocates the Aloha Spirit she finds in Nānākuli.


This special compilation show is hosted by Moanalua High School student Camryn Tabiolo, who will be entering her school’s HIKI NŌ program in the fall of 2017.


This program encores Saturday, Sept. 2, at 12:00 pm and Sunday, Sept. 3, at 3:00 pm. You can also view HIKI NŌ episodes on our website,


Episode #819




Students from Kapolei High School on O‘ahu present a story on the Hawai‘i-themed artwork engraved on the columns of O‘ahu’s rail project. The column art was designed by local architect Daniel Kanekuni and, according to HART spokesperson Bill Brennan, adds a sense of place and local identity to the rail project. Rail proponents and opponents alike feel that the column artwork is a good thing. However, some rail opponents, such as UH Professor of Civil Engineering Panos Prevedouros, feel that the real eye-sore will be the elevated rail stations. Says Prevedouros, “How much lipstick do they think they can put on that pig?”




–Students from Maui Waena Intermediate School show how a Kahului family’s mochi- pounding tradition continues, despite the recent loss of the family matriarch who had been the heart of the event.


–Students from Hawai‘i Technology Academy in Leeward O‘ahu show us the proper way to pack a military care package.


–Students from Konawaena High School on Hawai‘i Island profile a Konawaena graduate who went on to form the internationally renowned heavy metal reggae band Pepper.


–Students from Moanalua High School on O‘ahu profile a lesbian couple at their school who work to spread the joy of diversity and the message of tolerance for those who are different.


–Students from Maui High School profile a star athlete who had to sit out the football season because of a heart condition but continued to inspire his teammates by volunteering as an assistant coach.


This program encores Saturday, May 27, at 12:00 pm and Sunday, May 28, at 3:00 pm. You can also view HIKI NŌ episodes on our website,


Episode #818


Students from Kaua‘i High School in Lihu‘e introduce a new story genre to HIKI NŌ: the Personal Essay. In her essay “The Fact of You,” Kaua‘i High School student Haven Luper-Jasso explores the nature of truth. It opens with her thoughts on the matter: “The word FACT can be defined as a true piece of information. And in our day and age where information and messages are bombarding us from every angle every second of the day, that’s all we really want in life: truth.”


She goes on to explore not just the nature of factual truth, but also the truth within one’s own self: “Your life is the greatest masterpiece you will ever produce…Let it be genuine, true to who you are. Because that is who you were created to be. And that is a fact I can guarantee with a hundred percent certainty.”




–Students from Waipahu High School on O‘ahu explore the mysterious origins of their studentbody-wide cheering tradition known as the Arthur Awards.


–Students from Ewa Makai Middle School on O‘ahu uncover the caring person behind the tough façade of their vice principal.


–Students from Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School on Kaua‘i tell the story of Team Unify, a non-profit organization that helps students without disabilities bond with students who have disabilities.


–Students from Sacred Hearts Academy on O‘ahu introduce us to two local fashion designers who give younger, up-and-coming designers hands-on experience in the fashion business.


–Ka‘ala Elementary School on O‘ahu makes its HIKI NŌ debut with a video primer on aquaponics. (Ka‘ala Elementary School is only the second elementary school to produce for HIKI NŌ. The first was Kainalu Elementary School in windward O‘ahu.)


This program encores Saturday, April 8, at 12:00 pm. You can also view HIKI NŌ episodes on our website,


Episode #813 – Best Achievement in Cinematography and Editing


The fifth in a series of seven 2017 HIKI NŌ Award nominee shows highlights the nominees for:


–Best Franchise Piece (Hana K-12 School on Maui, Kalani High School on O‘ahu, Kapa‘a Middle School on Kaua‘i, Kaua‘i High School, Moloka‘i High School, Pacific Buddhist Academy on O‘ahu);


–Best Factoid (Hana K-12 School on Maui, Hawai‘i Preparatory Academy on Hawai‘i Island; Konawaena High School on Hawai‘i Island, Mililani High School on O‘ahu, McKinley High School on O‘ahu);


–Best Achievement in Cinematography and Editing (Kapa‘a Middle School on Kaua‘i, Maui High School, Moanalua High School on O‘ahu, Sacred Hearts Academy on O‘ahu, and Wai‘anae High School on O‘ahu).


This episode is hosted by Alyssa Ryhn from Castle High School (O‘ahu) and Desiree Kanui from Nanakuli Intermediate School (O‘ahu).


This program encores Saturday, Feb. 25 at 12:00 pm and Sunday, Feb. 26 at 3:00 pm. You can also view HIKI NŌ episodes on our website,


Episode #812 – Best Writing – High School


The fourth in a series of seven 2017 HIKI NŌ Award nominee shows highlights the nominees for Best Writing, High School Division. The nominees include:


–A story from Kapolei High School (O‘ahu) about a high school basketball game that creates a bond between special needs students and the rest of the student body;


–A report from Kaua‘i High School (Kaua‘i) on the inner-workings of the Garden Island’s biomass plant;


–A story from Kua O Ka La Miloli‘i Hipu‘u Virtual Academy PCS (Hawai‘i Island) on the Miloli‘i tradition of opelu fishing;


–A report from Sacred Hearts Academy (O‘ahu) about the degenerative effect texting has on our spines;


–A story from Saint Francis School (O‘ahu) about a young entrepreneur who was inspired by the memory of his late mother to open an innovative ice cream parlor;


–And from Waiakea High School (Hawai‘i Island), a look into the strange and fascinating world of cosplay.


This episode is hosted by Lara Sato from Castle High School (O‘ahu) and Zaccai Ceruti from James Campbell High School (O‘ahu).


This program encores Saturday, Feb. 18 at 12:00 pm and Sunday, Feb. 19 at 3:00 pm. You can also view HIKI NŌ episodes on our website,



HIKI NŌ Awards Nominees March 23, 2017


The 2017 HIKI NŌ Awards

PBS Hawai‘i recognizes exceptional storytelling skills of middle and high school students throughout our Islands who participate in HIKI NŌ, our statewide digital learning initiative and student news program.


The nominees were chosen from HIKI NŌ shows that aired during the 2015-2016 school year and the Fall Semester of this current school year. You can view each nominated piece by clicking on its name in the list below. (You can also watch the nominated projects, by category, Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Saturdays at noon, and Sundays at 3:00 pm on PBS Hawai’i.)


This year’s Gold, Silver and Bronze winners are indicated below. Winning stories, as well as highlights from this year’s awards celebrations, will be featured on our two-part 2017 HIKI NŌ Awards Show, Thursday, March 23 and Thursday, March 30 at 7:30 pm on PBS Hawai‘i. Congratulations to all nominees and winners – and mahalo to all the students, teachers and mentors who help make HIKI NŌ a success in our public, private and charter schools throughout Hawai‘i.




Aliamanu Middle School (O‘ahu) – “Homeschooled Student” SILVER

Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School (Kaua‘i) – “Moses Hamilton” GOLD

Hongwanji Mission School (O‘ahu) – “Laurie Rubin” BRONZE

Kapaʻa Middle School (Kaua‘i) – “Joe Young”

Seabury Hall Middle School (Maui) – “John Plunkett”



H.P. Baldwin High School (Maui) – “Bipolar Artist”

James Campbell High School (O‘ahu) – “Miracle Baby” GOLD

Maui High School (Maui) – “Marc Unites”

Mid-Pacific (O‘ahu) – “Ukulele Hale” BRONZE

Wai‘anae High School (O‘ahu) – “Living With Pain” SILVER



Aliamanu Middle School (O‘ahu) – “Front Office”

Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School (Kaua‘i) – “K-9 Search & Rescue” GOLD

Kamehameha Schools Maui Middle (Maui) – “Feed My Sheep”

Kapaʻa Middle School (Kaua‘i) – “Love Laundry” BRONZE

Lahaina Intermediate School (Maui) – “Airconditioning”

Mililani Middle School (O‘ahu) – “Mokauea Island” SILVER



Kapolei High School (O‘ahu) – “Best Buddies Basketball”

Kaua‘i High School (Kaua‘i) – “Biomass” GOLD

Kua O Ka La Miloli‘i Hipu‘u Virtual Academy PCS (Hawai‘i Island) – “Opelu Fishing” BRONZE

Sacred Hearts Academy (O‘ahu) – “Text Neck” SILVER

Saint Francis School (O‘ahu) – “Lucy’s Lab Creamery”

Waiakea High School (Hawai‘i Island) – “Cosplay”



Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School (Kaua‘i) – “Dog Wheelchair”

Kapaʻa Middle School (Kaua‘i) – “Firefighter”

Ka Waihona o Ka Naʻauao PCS (O‘ahu) – “Steel Guitar” BRONZE

Seabury Hall Middle School (Maui) – “Haleakala Mules” SILVER

Wai‘anae Intermediate School (O‘ahu)– “A Home For Larenzo” GOLD



H.P. Baldwin High School (Maui) – “Life After Sugar”

Kapa‘a High School (Kaua‘i) – “Iloreta Brothers” GOLD

Konawaena High School (Hawai‘i Island) – “A Love Story”

Maui High School (Maui) – “Deaf Cheerleader” BRONZE

Waiʻanae High School (O‘ahu) – “Without Home” SILVER



Hana K-12 (Maui) – “Ti Leaf Print”

Kalani High School (O‘ahu) – “Thaumatrope”

Kapa‘a Middle School (Kaua‘i) – “10 Things To Do When You’re NOT On Your Smartphone” GOLD

Kaua‘i High School (Kaua‘i) – “Hurricane Protection” BRONZE

Moloka‘i High School (Moloka‘i) “Text-A-Tip

Pacific Buddhist Academy (O‘ahu) – “Offering Incense” SILVER



Kapa‘a Middle School (Kaua‘i) – “Junior Lifeguard”

Maui High School (Maui) – “Tourette” GOLD

Moanalua High School (O‘ahu) – “Equestrian” SILVER

Sacred Hearts Academy (O‘ahu) – “IUCN”

Wai‘anae High School (O‘ahu) – “Parental Guidance Required” BRONZE



Hana K-12  (Maui) – “School History”

Hawaiʻi Preparatory Academy (Hawai‘i Island) – “Solar Trees” GOLD

Konawaena High School (Hawai‘i Island) – “Wildcats”

Mililani High School (O‘ahu) – “Red Dirt” BRONZE

President William McKinley High School (O‘ahu) – “School Spirit” SILVER


Episode #804


Students from Kapa‘a Middle School on Kaua‘i tell the story of Dustin Alfiler, Hanalei Fire Department captain, and the important role his family plays in balancing out his life. When he is off duty his family comes first, and he expresses how their commitment supports him in his often precarious and dangerous profession.


Students at Wai‘anae Intermediate School tell the story of a former media student who finds purpose in his life as a media teacher at the Wai‘anae Boys and Girls Club.


Students at Kalani High School in East O‘ahu demonstrate how to make a thaumatrope – a simple device made from paper and string that creates rudimentary forms of animation.


Students from Sacred Hearts Academy on O‘ahu tell of youth involvement at the recent World Conservation Congress held at the Hawai’i State Convention Center. Their story includes an interview with U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell.


Students from Waiakea High School in Hilo introduce us to the hard-hitting, elbow-jabbing world of women’s roller derby.


And students from Moanalua High School on O‘ahu introduce us to a young equestrian who has dedicated her life to the riding and care of horses.


This program encores Saturday, Dec. 10 at 12:00 pm and Sunday, Dec. 11 at 3:00 pm. You can also view HIKI NŌ episodes on our website,


Betty White


Betty White is the Head of School at Sacred Hearts Academy in Kaimuki, Honolulu. She was one of the very few in her high school class in rural Virginia who left home to pursue higher learning. She talks about her academic struggles, what brought her to Hawaii and her role at an all- girls school.


This program will be rebroadcast on Sunday, Feb. 14 at 4:00 pm.


Betty White Audio


Download the Transcript




I found college very hard. I found it hard academically. Because I had not been prepared well. My county was the worst county in the State of Virginia at the time. When they publish the test scores of all the public schools, my public school, my county had the worst test scores in the whole state. I don’t think I even had a biology lab. So, when I got to college and was thrown in with students who had had a very superior education, I decided early that if I was going to survive, I was going to have to work three times harder.


Three times harder?


Oh, yeah. And I did. I had a lot of catching up to do.


Growing up in a rural Virginia county where few high school graduates went on to higher education, Betty White and her six siblings all graduated from college. Now, as head of school at Sacred Hearts Academy, her goal is to make sure that her students receive an education that will prepare them not only for college, but for life. Betty White next, on Long Story Short.



Long Story Short with Leslie Wilcox is Hawaii’s first weekly television program produced and broadcast in high definition.



Aloha mai kakou, I’m Leslie Wilcox. Betty Orr White, who is head of school at Sacred Hearts Academy, started her journey at this all girls school in Kaimuki as a social studies teacher. While being an educator has been both her career and her passion, she didn’t start out wanting to become a teacher. Growing up in a rural county in Virginia in the nineteen forties and fifties, she was one of only a small handful of graduates in her high school class who left home to pursue higher learning.


I understand that you grew up in one of the poorest areas in the country.


I did.


Where’s that?

I didn’t know that it was poor until I’d left and gone to college. It was in what we call Southwest Virginia. It’s in the thirty-five-degree triangle where Kentucky and Tennessee meet. And if you’re on the eastern side of the state, you have Washington, Alexandria, Richmond the big cities. And they had metropolitan areas, good school systems. Now, in Southwest Virginia we had something like ninety-eight counties. My county was Lee County, and that was named for Robert E. Lee. And it was the poorest country in the state. And one of the biggest poverty pockets in the whole country.


But you say you didn’t feel poor.


I didn’t. I didn’t know. I really didn’t know I was poor. And I won’t say the word poor, but very humble, very humble upbringing. The area is noted for timber, for coal mining, for having big cash crops. At that time, it was tobacco. And, I had a very loving, secure family. And our daily needs were met. We didn’t go to the supermarket much. We had our own gardens, we had pigs, we killed a cow every year for beef. We had our own chickens.




And our summers were hard, because we had to tend that garden, and well, it seemed even now, it seems like that garden was at least an acre.


You …


Green beans, corn, tomatoes. And at that time, we didn’t have a freezer, so we would call it canning them, in a pressure cooker. So, it was I can remember sitting and breaking four bushels of beans in one sitting. My parents they were not college educated. They were, back in southwest Virginia, they would be called humble, good, country folk.




My father went into the Army at an early age. Picked up, auto mechanic skills, and then was able to open his own automotive mechanic shop. My mother was a coal miner’s daughter. And she lived in a coal mining camp; that’s where she grew up. Such a good woman. She was never able to go to college, but she was such a beautiful cook, she sewed our clothes for seven children. Never had a pattern. And she loved country music.


Did she like the song, Coal Miner’s Daughter?


Oh, yeah. On Saturday night, you know, when we didn’t have book work, she would play the guitar. And she would sing for hours with us. And I had a couple of sisters that were also good singers. I wasn’t a good singer. But we had real, real good times.   When I went away to college I saw a completely different side of my hometown, and the area in which I lived.



After Betty White graduated from high school, she went on to higher learning at Mary Washington College, the women’s division of the University of Virginia. Even though she didn’t leave the state, Mary Washington was a world away from Lee County. Yet, it wasn’t until she read a book in her freshman year that she realized just how far away and how different her community was on the other side of Virginia.


Was it an assumption in your family that you would go to college?


No. I was one of seven children, and we all ended up going to college. But I think it was, there was never any pressure from our parents to go to college. It was just our own inner drive, our own inner ambitions to go to college.


And they supported you in that?


They supported us emotionally. But at that time, one could go to college and they could, work their way through. I worked every year, and I had scholarships.


So, you were going to college with what intention? What was the plan? Did you have a plan as a young woman?


I’m not so sure. I don’t ever remember having a plan. I just wanted to go to college. And so I graduated in a class of fifty-one students. So, out of that fifty-one students, about twenty to twenty-five percent went to college. And I just wanted to be one of them. So I cannot remember thinking that I wanted to be a teacher. And I think maybe that that happened because at that time, the State of Virginia had a scholarship; they wanted teachers. So, they would give quite a lucrative scholarship to those that were going into education, with the idea that you would give back a year of teaching for every year you got the scholarship. So, I needed the money. I needed the money, so that’s what I did.

I wanted to study, I studied political science. Even in graduate school, I studied government. So I was taking education courses just on the side because my parents did not have the money, the financial resources to help us. So, with seven children, we needed, we needed the scholarships.


Where did you go to college?


Well, I went to college in Fredericksburg.


So, you went …


I went all the way


To the city area.


across the state.




I went across the state. I always traveled by Greyhound Bus.


How long did it take you? How long were the drives?


About, a good trip was about twelve hours.


And you rode alone?


I rode alone. And I always rode behind the driver. Right. So at that time, Mary Washington was the ladies division, the women’s division of the University of Virginia. And I will never forget in one of my freshman courses one of our required readings was a book called Night Comes to the Cumberlands. Of course, it’s all about the Cumberland Mountains, the Cumberland Gap




where Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett came through. And I sat in class and I thought, This is talking about me, this is talking about my area. And it was a whole different, a different mindset after that.


Because what did the book say about your area?


Well, it, what the author did was the insensitivity for the land, the insensitivity to the environment. Was poor, not a lot of of wealth in the area, but one of the most beautiful areas you could ever visit. But big companies had come in, cut the timber down.


And you mentioned coal mining.


Coal mining was big. Coal mining was sort of king. And they not only, you know, did, went under the earth, but they also coal mined from the surface. And it’s called strip mining. And they just raped the land.


And you saw that as jobs for people in the neighborhood, but


Well, but it’s even more than that. The biggest part of it was several valleys over. And I didn’t even know what was going on. After I read the book as part of my required freshman reading, I remember going home at Christmas and I was very interested in driving through. And I saw, you know, all the erosion of the land where they had cut trees down, dug into the earth’s surface. Environmentalists today would have a heyday, you know, criticizing how insensitive the people were to the environment.


Did it make you look differently at the people with whom you grew up, and the way you grew up?


I think I became a bit more humble, a bit more understanding. But never a lot of money, but we had enough to get by. We always had a lot of love in our family. The significance of a family was first and foremost. My parents were very strong on a faith-based family.


After Betty White graduated from college, she attended graduate school at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. That was where she met Emmet White, a law student, who soon became her husband. After he graduated, Betty moved with him to Hawaii, where he started a law practice. It was the first time she would experience cultural diversity.


You lived in what I assume was pretty much an all-White neighborhood when you were growing up?




So, not




No diversity of


No diversity. They all looked just like me.


And those were when you were growing up, those were times of segregation, so there were bathrooms for African Americans only.


Segregation, although it was illegal, was definitely still happening. So, on the buses, I was always a little afraid, and so I always sat behind the driver. But I remember so well the Black people having to go to the back of the bus. We always had stops in Richmond, Virginia and you would go into the bus terminal. This would be a Greyhound Bus terminal. And they had the water fountains; you had to go to a particular water fountain, a particular bathroom. And even to get little snacks, they had special ones for Black people and special ones for White people.


Now, was that something you became accustomed to, because that’s all you knew?


I became accustomed to it because I’d studied it. Right? But I never lived in that type of an environment. And then on the college campus, both campuses that I attended in Virginia had very few Black people. It was mostly Whites, Caucasians.


What was it like coming to Hawaii, with no one having a majority in terms of race?


Well the thing I remember about coming to Hawaii has to do with a cousin who was quite a bit older than I was. And I guess he was in the Korean War. And he married a Chinese lady. And he brought her back to Virginia. She was the most beautiful person. You know, kind, generous. But I will never forget when I saw her, and her slanted eyes. I’d never seen an Asian or Oriental person. And then, when my husband and I moved here we saw plenty of Asians. Right? And so, then I happened to see this cousin-in-law again, and I didn’t notice her eyes at all. Because, you know, she blended into the environment here.


So, you had no trouble acculturating and getting used to everybody, getting to know other people’s cultural


Not really. Not really. No. It was, certainly a learning process, and it’s still a learning process even today, because there’s so many diverse groups. But, I take it in stride.


How did you get to Hawaii?


Well, my husband had gone to undergraduate school at Lafayette College in Eastern Pennsylvania with a young man from Hawaii. And I believe they’d even been roommates. And after they finished college, both of them went to law school, although it was different law schools. And so when both of them graduated, my husband decided that he would come to Hawaii. And they worked together for a while. And that’s what brought us here.


So, what did you think about coming over? Did you think it would be for a short time, I’ll try it out, or were you eager for a different life?


No. I think I came because I loved my husband, probably. But it was a long way from home. And the biggest thing was the distance from family.


This has been home for how long now? Longer than it was




in Virginia


About forty-six years. Yeah.


Betty White had taught third grade at the only Catholic school in Williamsburg before following her husband to Hawaii. After moving here and having three children, she decided it was time to start teaching again. She landed a job at Sacred Hearts Academy.


You’ve been there for more than four decades.


I have. And the school’s changed a lot in those four decades. I was hired as a social studies teacher. And I loved teaching. I’d never been, in a private school before. I loved working in a religious environment. I loved working with the nuns. And I just loved working with the girls. I enjoyed still think of myself as a teacher, although I’ve been out of the classroom for about twenty years.


Are you Catholic?




And not required to be, to be head of Sacred of Hearts?


Well, when I was appointed as head of school, it was not a factor. I think that my replacement will probably be required to be Catholic.


Did you aspire to be head of school?


No; No. What happens is in many Catholic schools, there are just fewer and fewer religious. So, the religious look to what we call the laity or lay people like myself to take over some of the positions. And at that time the sister that I replaced was going to be assigned to other places. And first, I went in as the vice principal. So, I was the vice principal for about, I’d say eight years. And then, finally, as the head of school. Now, there are lots of lay people that are in either as principals or heads of school, and it’s become quite common for the boards to require them to be Catholic.


Was it a topic of conversation, or a contention that you were not Catholic?


No. I’m very comfortable with it. It, certainly forces me to have a good team with me. We have, a fulltime campus minister who is a sister. The chair of our religion or theology department is a sister. So, I feel very comfortable.


Let’s talk about all-girls education.




You’ve written a number of essays and articles about the subject. And you know, you’ve heard people say, Well, there’s no need for it anymore, girls should get used to the business and other environments where it’s gonna be—you know, you’re gonna be with the opposite sex. What do you say?


I think a lot of it’s personal. But I’ve spent a good portion of my career in an all-girls school. I attended an all-women’s college. I think that boys and girls learn differently. Not you know, girls don’t learn better, they don’t learn worse, but they definitely differently. Girls thrive in a collaborative, reflective experiential environment. And it just so happens in a girls school, and it’s the same in single gender for boys, that our teachers are trained to teach to those learning styles. And they thrive. They, we have huge numbers of our girls going into science, going into math, going into pre-engineering.


And you don’t think they would if there were boys in the school?


I think some of them would, but I think that those doors are opened to them. We stress it. You know, we emphasize it from the time they are in ninth grade that they need to check out these fields. And they feel very comfortable in math and science. A lot of it’s experiential today, a lot of reflective learning going on. Boys not so much experiential, because they have, especially during science, if you’re in physics, a lot of the things they do in childhood give them, sort of an edge when they start applying that to book learning. But a lot of the girls have not had those toys, they’ve not had the robotics, they’ve not had you know, how a bicycle works. So, they need a little more attention in those places.

I find parents today very involved with their kids’ education.


Too involved?


I’m not so sure too involved. I think that lots of parents understand that they are spending a lot of money. They’re spending a lot of the family budget for private schools, and they’re going to make sure that the girls and boys are getting a good education.


Lots of pressure on the school, but on the children as well.


Oh, it is. I think that high school should be a time for learning, but not a pressure cooker atmosphere.


And the job of an adolescent is to find a personal identity. They’re separating


Oh, yeah.



from their parents’ identity, and that must be—is that part of what you consider your job in the school, to help them find that?


I think especially if you’re dealing with girls. Because with girls the transition from adolescence and their personal identity journey certainly happens for the most part in high school. And they need attention, and they need adults catering to that, and helping them with it. The big advantage to all-girls schools is that it gives girls a time of their own to really develop confidence. To really develop confidence, to develop a sense of self-esteem. And if boys, but especially if girls can develop that, we don’t have to worry about the academics. Because once they’ve got the confidence, they can soar academically. So, I think it’s very much a part of our job.


Who would you say are some of your better known alums?


Oh the late Loyal Garner. We have quite a few performing artists. Noelani Cypriano, Cathy Foy, Mamo Howell.




Cathy Lee is an up and coming designer in the State; she’s from Sacred Hearts. And then we have lots of lawyers, lots of doctors. Now, we’re getting more and more engineers. So they’re all over town.



Betty White credits her parents and her husband as the people who have had the most profound influence on shaping her life. Their emotional support combined with her own inner drive gave her the courage to leave Southwestern Virginia to see what the rest of the world had to offer. Now, she shapes the lives of other young women through the leadership and direction she sets at Sacred Hearts Academy so that they, too, will have confidence to set out and achieve their goals.


Mahalo to Betty White of Honolulu for sharing her life story with us, and thank you, for joining us. For PBS Hawaii and Long Story Short, I’m Leslie Wilcox. Aloha a hui hou.




I think it was the broadcast journalist Barbara Walters who said, A woman can have it all, but not at the same time.


That’s right. Well, you’ve got to make, you’ve got to make concessions, as far as I’m concerned. In order to get the tasks done of the day, I very seldom will go shopping. But I usually get all my clothes online. Right? I love to cook every once in a while, but lots of times I don’t cook.




So, to save my time, I will go to Costco and re-plate it, and




nobody knows that I didn’t make it.


Except now.


Except now.





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