The purpose of education is to prepare students for their future, acknowledging the fact that this technological society is moving so quickly that we are trying to prepare students for jobs that don't even exist right now. We take the 8th graders to Moloka'i for a different philosophy of "preparing for the future." Our kids go to Moloka'i to learn from their kupuna, to ho'olohe, listen, not just with their ears, but with their whole body. The western concept of past and future is that your future lies before you, the past behind. However, the Hawaiian concept of past and future is that your future is behind you, and your past is in front of you. On Moloka'i, they learn that their kupuna are still very much present in their life, guiding them forward, so learning about their kupuna, learning about their culture, learning about themselves as Hawaiians is the way to keep their past firmly in front as a way to prepare for the future that will follow them.
On Molokai, our students leave with the understanding that they have kuleana as kanaka maoli. Their kuleana is to aloha 'aina, to educate themselves and then come back to Hawai'i, their main land and give back to their community and their 'ohana. In order to teach this our students go into the elementary schools and teach lessons and interact with the students, they help the kupuna by cleaning their churches, and sometimes even their yards, they hike up to the ancient makahiki grounds of Naiwa, learning about the mo'olelo of the place as well as the medicinal uses of the native plants along the way, they help work at the fishponds at Keawanui and listen to the uncles (aka Hemowai braddahs) talk about bridging modern technology with ancient knowledge.
We take the students to Moloka'i to find themselves, that they may be better prepared for the future.