Monday, October 24, 2016

Surfing As An Elective?

Cyndi and Mike's Paradise
Today our goal is to find schools for the girls.
Lauren's done a ton of research online and has her heart set on the Hawaiian Academy of Arts and Science (HAAS). Of course Lauren's choice may be based on the fact the school offers surfing, skating and yoga as electives. As annoying parents we want our daughter's brains to be stimulated too.

We spend our day seeing several public schools and finally head back to HPP. We take a peek at a HAAS branch Brooks mentioned. It is set on six beautiful acres with a huge Banyan tree stretching out to greet us as we drive through the front gates. It's Sunday, it's late, but standing in the driveway as if he were waiting for us, is a gentleman with a big smile on his face. Al and I introduce ourselves and Mike Greenlaw invites us in. He says his wife Cyndi is almost done with her chores and will be able to come out and play pretty soon.

Coming by to greet us are two very friendly dogs and a couple of cats. Off in the distance I can see sheep and chickens wandering about.  A large tortoise named Nunui also roams the property. Have I stepped back in time, or am I in a different country?

Mike leads us to a covered sitting area and offers us beer or wine. I already like this place. Cyndi quickly joins us with an aloha and warm smile. Over the next two hours we learn that Cyndi was one of the first property owners in HPP. At the young age of eight, Cyndi found a listing in the paper for land in Hawaii and begged her father to let her buy it. She saved her money and made her monthly payments of $10. By the end of the year she had paid off the land. Anxious to see it, she and her father booked a flight to Hawaii. Highly impressed with her purchase, her family made the move to the island. Cyndi has since raised three wonderful children and has schooled many others on this same property. Mike taught at the private Waldorf school just down the road for many years.
Beautiful Gazebo For Relaxation At It's Finest

In addition to the school, they run an AirBnB business with three cottages available to rent. The park-like setting is perfectly manicured and offers plenty of space to relax. With a forty foot saline swimming pool, a private regulation size tennis court, and a playground for the children, the place is paradise at its finest. Fresh eggs from the roaming chickens and a variety of local fruits, coffee and teas are provided for all guests.

Cyndi tells us of  an annual play she is preparing the children for. This year they are performing 'Charlotte's Web'. She is like an excited school girl talking about her little actors and the props they have all made. She talks of her past and present students as if they are her own.  Academics are also important; she tells us of many alumni who have gone onto some very prestigious colleges, others who became missionaries abroad, and  some others who have become professional surfers straight out of school.

The HAAS curriculum is rich in Hawaiian culture and students learn how to be self-sustainable.They are taught to respect the land and each other. Gardening is taught at a young age as well as Hula. Community service is a requirement for students at HAAS, not an option. Every other Friday, the upper grade levels go out into the community and provide various services for the day. What an amazing concept! I think this school was designed especially for Lauren.

I am in awe of everything Cyndi tells us and excited that we have found such a perfect place for the girls to go to school. HAAS appears to be the perfect balance between academics and real life practicality. A healthy breakfast and lunch is also provided for all children...free of charge.  I can't believe that a school like this is offered for free! Cyndi tells us HAAS is a very popular choice for children on the island and they now have a waiting list for new students. We will have to fill out an application at the main campus as soon as possible!

We finish our glasses of wine, and say our goodbye's. With a hug to each of us they wish us well and welcome us back any time. Giddy with excitement, I want to skip back to our Jeep. I feel like I just won the lottery. I can't wait to tell the girls everything we just learned. Paradise found!

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