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A May Day Message Of Hope

I tend to notice signs, for better or for worse. One such time was while biking along a dirt road on the makai side of the highway. Every so many feet along a short public right of way was posted a placard. In all, there were exactly 14 warnings, don’ts and why-nots. No kidding. It began with Pavement Ends, No Outlet, Rough Road and Dead End. Then, at the end: Private Property, Do Not Enter, Violators will be Prosecuted, Video Surveillance, Private Drive, No Through Traffic, No Trespassing, No Beach Access, No Views and Unpaved Road.

You think someone didn’t want me to be there or what?

Maybe there’s a secret nuclear waste dump at the end, and it’s downright dangerous to enter the area. Or maybe I was to be reminded that I was going through bumpy times, that there will be an awful end and that there’s no way out of it. Also, that I will be scrutinized, maybe even punished because, you know, I’m an unsavory character and whatever I’m thinking is just not allowed and I don’t deserve to see the beauty that lies ahead. Or maybe I shouldn’t be simply redirected to the nearby beach access because it’s best to not share our beaches at all.

A touching farewell is presented to head of school Bob Springer, pictured here surrounded by wife Nani and students during Island School’s recent May Day program | Jane Esaki photo

A touching farewell is presented to head of school Bob Springer, pictured here surrounded by wife Nani and students during Island School’s recent May Day program | Jane Esaki photo

Whatever the case, such signs make for a less enjoyable journey and offer no hope for a beautiful vista at the end. Reading those dreaded signs, I was glad that, at the least, I was not an impressionable child.

If I were a child, the best kind of environment I’d like to be in would be the kind that I saw when I visited the campus of Island School recently to attend its May Day program. It was the first time I’d visited the private school since Bob Springer took the helm 18 years ago. With no child of mine attending the school or program, I had no expectations — I simply planned to enjoy the spring scenery.

Inside the well-organized gym, Hanalei Bay, painted by the school’s own art teacher, provided a stunning backdrop as each grade, from preschool to 12th, lined up on stage in their creative, colorful matching attire.

The younger ones were adorable and most revealing — some knew their song and dance, others were excellent followers. A few fidgeted; most were composed. Some looked for the approval of someone in the audience and waved with pride; others remaineddignified. Backed by what appeared to be caring, attentive teachers and talented musicians, every child was still perfect. In fact, every student in every grade had a chance to shine and every one of them did in their own way.

During the finale, Springer had much to be proud of as he sat on stage bedecked with lei, surrounded by his lovely wife Nani, students, family and friends, who wished him farewell. He retires this year after a long and apparently successful tenure. There was not a dry eye in the house as Sail Away was sung, accompanied by the harmonica.

None of this program could’ve happened as flawlessly, tastefully and beautifully as it did had Springer led the school only posting warnings of difficulty and doom. It was clear that this school had come a long way since he first arrived — that’s what happens when encouragement and hope are offered along the way.

Like when I’m biking, all I know is what I see. On this May Day, the vista was beautiful.