Taking a Step Back


Helena Winchester 24’ holds up the aforementioned cat bowl for the camera.

Charlize Gaudiello, Editor in Chief

As semester one wrapped up, the academic pressure rose, as did the number of final projects. In those times of stress, students found themselves turning to mediums such as art, music, or dance, to center themselves and find calm in a messy storm.

Students recently shared their experiences in non-academic settings and the fulfillment they gained from it.

Dance Creates Community

In November, all hula students and selected dance students participated and performed in the Fall 2022 Dance Concert. Junior Taiga Matsuoka described the experience as one that brought the Pūpūkahi team together.

“It was [a] good bonding experience,” Matsuoka said. “All the hardships and all of the highs and the lows– we all experienced it together.”

A given example of hardships was the time restrictions some aspects of their dresses took, but they all got through it together.

“Making a tea leaf skirt, we only had one night to do it, and we all kind of just texted each other and got it done by the end of the day,” Matsuoka said.

Junior Hadyn-Jean Saldania-Durbin braids their hair the morning of the first Dance Concert’s performance. All girls in hula braided their hair the day of each concert in order to get ehu waves and make their hair poofy, said Saldania-Durbin. (Charlize Gaudiello)

After pushing through the hardships, they were able to come out on the other side as a stronger team.

“The community that we have and that we built is really strong, so I think we’re all really connected,” he said.

Luke Magelssen 24’ and Taiga Matsuoka 24’ talk outside of the PaliKu theater.
Luke Magelssen and Taiga Matusoka make conversation while Riah Leoki 24’ throws a shaka for the camera.

Taking Chances

The dance concert also brought together other members of the Mid-Pacific community. Junior Luke Magelssen participated in the concert as a stagehand.

“I didn’t know what to expect. I never have been in the theater, I’ve never done backstage, but the experience was– it was so fun, a lot more fun than I expected,” Magelssen said.

The opportunity brought Magelssen closer to his friends and showed him how important backstage work is.

“I was being called the best stagehand,” he said. “And it was a really cool experience to learn new things on what happens backstage, how important it is, and just minor stuff like hyping the dancers up and high fiving them, telling them good job.”

After the performance, dancers were able to greet family and friends outside of the theater for hugs and leis. Though Magelssen wasn’t a performer, he still received flowers from friends.

“I was surprised that I got flowers and I was really happy that I got flowers. But, it’s cool to see that they all came to watch and support the concert, and the dancers, and just, they’re really involved even though they’re not a part of it,” Magelssen said.

Luke Magelssen receives a homemade flower bouquet from Isabella Matsumoto 24’.
Isabella Matusmoto and Luke Magelssen stand next to each other outside of the theater.


Love of Music

Students found connections through other shared interests, one being music. During lunch, students Jackson Ibarra 24’, Chaz Wada 25’, Jason Allen 25’, and Kousuke Doyama 23’ come together to jam.

“We basically share the passion for music, for jazz, and also we basically have the same taste in music,” Doyama said.

They call themselves the Six Piece Funk, and don’t perform with each other much, but still have fun.

“There’s not really a formal group,” Ibarra said. “We might perform occasionally if there’s school events.”

The members of the group have always loved music. Doyama shared when he first discovered music.

“I found my passion for music when I was in middle school, like maybe seventh grade or something like that, and I basically love rock and roll music, you know 1960s music like [the] Beatles,” he said.

Having had music play such a key role in his life, it’s only natural Doyama would find other students who love music like him, and make connections that last.

“Music brings people together and it’s this shared language that people can communicate with, that people can experience together,” Ibarra said.

Jason Allen and Kousuke Doyama jam out in the Orchestra room during lunch.
Kousuke Doyama listens to his group members while they play music.
Jackson Ibarra, Chaz Wada, Jason Allen, and Kousuke Doyama face each other and play in unison.

What am I if not an artist?

Junior Helena Winchester found that art was a welcome break from a long day.

During their IB visual arts class, Winchester decided to create a food bowl for their cat.

“I saw a tik tok video saying cats get whisker fatigue and so [after] checking the facts, I made him a bowl because he deserves everything,” Winchester said.

Where academic classes can be confining, art brings Winchester a much-needed break.

“If I didn’t do art, I don’t know what else I’d do because I don’t enjoy writing, science, or anything else,” they said. “But art is fun and [has] a lot of creativity, and what am I if not an artist?”

Winchester said art was their most important form of self-expression. It highlights an area of their life where they can freely express themself.

“I guess with art there’s no rules,” Winchester said. “You don’t need to be– do anything exact.”

Classes that tend to involve math, science, and writing have criteria you need to fill in, whereas art is subjective, and an artist is able to find a specific audience who will enjoy their art for what it is.

“You know with art, anyone can be your audience and if someone doesn’t like it, then they’re not your target audience. So there’s just a lot [of] freedom that comes with being an artist and the work I make,” Winchester said.

Helena Winchester 24’ holds up the aforementioned cat bowl for the camera.
Above shot of Helena Winchester working on the bottom stand of the cat bowl.