As the thermometer is dropping to frigid temperatures, the warmth and traditions of the Philippines and Hawaii were spreading through the air in Mrs. Griffin’s classroom. As new residents of Spencer, and one of Mrs. Griffin’s students, Laila and her family presented information about Hawaii, and students also had the privilege of hearing from Laila’s uncle who was visiting from the Philippines.
Frylle, Laila’s uncle, shared fun photos and facts about the Philippines, including information about their schools, modes of transportation, food, culture and celebrations. Students learned a few greetings, including Maligayang Pasko, which means Merry Christmas. Frylle also demonstrated how kids show respect to their elders by taking the elder’s hand and holding it to the child’s forehead. Frylle enjoyed spending time with the students, and said, “They were very participative, and it was really fun to talk to them.”
Though Filipino too, Laila’s mom, Merjurie, discussed Hawaii, which is where the family was stationed while Laila’s dad, Bryce, was serving in the Navy. Students again saw pictures and learned about the terrain, products grown, foods, language, symbols of Hawaii and the climate. Merjurie shared that Hawaii has the biggest volcano in the world, and as part of the United States, it is the only state that has a tropical rainforest and a palace. Students were amazed to hear that the Hawaiian alphabet only has 12 letters, and that because of the temperate climate, there is no need for air conditioning or heat in homes. When asked about speaking to the students, Merjurie said, “It was a really wonderful experience to speak to Mrs. Griffin's class about the Hawaiian culture.” She added, “The children were intrigued and asked questions. I was very impressed at how behaved and curious they were.”
After hearing from Laila’s dad about his military position at Pearl Harbor and Hickman Base in Honolulu, the students had the opportunity to do a hula dance, and they each received a Hawaiian lei, which is given to welcome someone or to say thank you and congratulations. Students were so excited and thankful to Laila’s family for their time and generosity.