Arts & Communication House Day provides respite from online learning


Photo by Kila Brown

First row (left to right): Camille Dela Cruz, Ms. Jennifer Arre, Quernel Jairo Damo, Caleb Esperanza. Second row (left to right): Bea May Garlitos, Keziah Ancheta, Jayo Galingana, Sonny Brown. Third row (left to right): Logan Leama, Don Lee Fridinger.

The Academy of Arts & Communication is one of the five academies offered at Waipahu High School. This academy focuses on self-expression and provides three different pathways: digital media, audio engineering, and graphic design.

Since these pathways are offered to sophomores, sophomores are a part of FAME (Fine Arts, Media, and Entertainment) Uptown.

To bring these pathways together, the teachers and student managers organize House Day. House Day is an event that showcases students’ projects demonstrating their knowledge of their chosen pathway. For FAME Uptown, House Day is mainly managed and organized by students. These students are known as House managers. House managers plan and suggest activities for their peers to participate in. 

Although this year has presented new challenges for students and teachers alike, House Day took place on Wednesday, December 2 without a hitch. Student managers prepared activities for classmates to enjoy while executing some of the activities themselves. 

This year’s House Day included seven events students could participate in. 

The first event was a songwriting workshop. In this event, Kenneth Makuakane, an Arts and Communications Advisory Board member and Na Hoku Hanohano award-winning producer, taught students the importance of expressing their thoughts through meaningful song lyrics. 

The second event was a stop motion workshop in which ceramics teacher Peter Murray taught students how to create a stop motion video using the iMotion and Stop Motion Studio app. Sophomore Reiko Quitevis, for example, created a stop motion video of a paper crane.

The third event was a drama workshop taught by English and drama teacher Thelma Madriaga. In this workshop, students shared their favorite movies and practiced their improvisation skills by working together with a partner to answer a prompt. Some of the prompts included being chased by a pig, ordering food through a drive-thru, enacting how Gen Z would work in different careers, and the most popular, how they would react in confronting a “Karen.” 

The fourth event, hosted by the student managers, allowed students to freely and creatively design a gingerbread man and to decorate the interior of a room of their choosing in 15 minutes. 

The fifth event was a talent showcase and gallery walk. The talent showcase displayed videos of students showing off their creative personalities through singing and dancing. The gallery walk showed the embellished gingerbread and decorated rooms created in the fourth event. After looking at them, students were given a Google Form to vote for their favorite gingerbread and interior room. The winners were able to receive extra credit for classes and homework passes. 

The sixth event tested student’s memory and attention to detail by having them name jingles and identify movie clips. Students watched about 30 minutes of “The Grinch” (2018) and then took a Kahoot quiz. The individual who won the Kahoot could either choose extra credit for one class homework passes from a teacher of their choice.

In the final event, managers created Google Slides that had scenarios and clues to help students solve a mystery.

House teachers wanted to have a House Day this year because of the new struggles students face because of distance learning. 

Jennifer Arre, a FAME Uptown biology teacher, remarked that House Day may be even more important this year because students may be “lacking in social-emotional learning.” Due to distance learning, students don’t have the personal connection with their classmates and teachers that face-to-face learning provides. House Day gives students a chance to connect and enjoy themselves with classmates from different pathways outside of the virtual classroom. Arre also said that House Day allowed students to have fun with technology and use it for different purposes rather than using it only for school. 

Reflecting on House Day, students were delighted that they had the freedom to choose to participate in activities that interested them. They noted that during the talent show, the atmosphere among the 90 classmates was one of support and admiration. Overall, students treasured the interaction they had with their classmates, albeit online.