Third-Grade Lū'au Tradition Continues in a New Space

"Today is one of the best parts of third grade. It is the result of many weeks of preparation and generations before you," said Chaplain Lauren Medeiros to the third-graders, some adorned in lei, or with handcrafted bracelets and headbands.

"You'll never go to another lū'au again without knowing what goes into it. When we feel the breeze today, the breath of our ancestors, we realize we are part of a much bigger 'ohana."

Anticipation mounted on the Friday before Spring Break as the mouthwatering aroma of traditional Hawaiian fare carried on those breezes hinted at the feast that was to come, the culmination for the Class of 2026, teachers, parents and staff participating in the Third-Grade Lū'au. The Lū'au is a tradition and key event in the grade's yearlong study of Hawaiian history and culture.

This year, the event was held in the Sidney and Minnie Kosasa Community for Grades 2 – 5. It will relocate in its permanent home in the future, with the completion of the second phase of the 2 – 5 project, which, inspired by the ahupua'a concept, has been designed to incorporate island-based Hawaiian themes.

The setting for future cultural activities, such as the Lū'au, will consist of a Hawaiian hale and adjoining imu. Students will cultivate plants like sweet potato and kalo on a series of terraces on the slope between the hale and the waters of Ka Punahou.

In its temporary location, the Third-Grade Lū'au – with traditions recalling its previous years in the beloved Winne Units – went off without a hitch.

Tai Crouch, who started the Third-Grade Lū'au over 40 years ago, was happy to share that "the imu location is good, and everything is going well!" Crouch was wearing a standout accessory that day, the large arc of a boar tusk hanging around his neck. "The students like it," he said of his trophy from a hunt as he waited in the shade before uncovering the contents of the smoldering imu.

Similarly, BJ Namba, a third-grade teacher who helps coordinate the event, was inspired by the willingness everyone had shown in making the Lū'au a success in its new location, from the cafeteria staff to the physical plant staff. "Students kept asking, 'Kumu, can we help?'" she shared.

"It's all about making it fun for the kids. This was the first time we were all together, sitting under one tent. The feeling and spirit is still the same," said Namba, heavily laden with fragrant lei and haku.

"I wish this day would never end," commented a student before digging into her plate of kulolo, haupia, laulau, kalua pork and more.

Be part of the beautiful tradition of the Third-Grade Lū'au. Learn how you can support the development of the next phase of the grades 2 – 5 project with a Mauka to Makai Matching Gift.