Graduations in Hawaii are a BIG DEAL. It’s like a bring your own air horn, plaster your kid’s face on a sign, 1,000 leis, pool floats, stuffed animals kind of big deal. Can I tell you I love it? It’s an accomplishment to be celebrated and celebrate we did! 

In the eighth grade your ceremony is called “Rites of Passage.” The ceremony is quick. The president of the class made her remarks, the assistant principal spoke. Names were read. Diplomas were passed and it was time for chaos bedlam the lei ceremony. All the kids step out to find their family. They get leis. Some are made of yarn. Some are made of fresh flowers. The tuberose is my favorite. Some are made of candy. Some are just handmade flowers. There are bags of oreos or chips tied to strings. Before you know it, you’re wondering how they can breathe. 

The smile says it all. She is officially a Freshman. Pray for me. I’m really not sure how I’ll survive the next few years. Hanan is right behind her. Bria and Jack will be entering middle school the year Hanan graduates. 

The beginning of the lei ceremony…

Someone asked me about her pool float. Pool floats are handed out at graduations here. See the sharpie in my hand? Friends and family write messages on them. As I understand it, they are given to represent the support of family and friends as they transition into the next chapter of their life. It’s also a representation of being anchored to your family. I honestly don’t care if this is the real story or not, I’ll be sticking with it and and we’ll be taking it to the mainland when Hanan graduates from middle school next year. 

This is my FAVORITEST thing written on her float… I only wish I had a Rohan…


As you look at the pictures you might get a better understanding of why Hanan is so upset she won’t be graduating high school here. Middle school is scaled back from high school graduation. Here are a few of the highlights of graduation, her teachers and the after party at the Tea Farm.

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I was a day filled with aloha that we will always remember. Mahalo AIS for all you’ve done for both of my girls.