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Thomas Russell Middle School

The Thomas Russell Middle School Special Day Class/Community Based Instruction were honored to have the 'Opio of Halau Na Wai Ola spend two wonderful days with them during the summer session of 2011.  This class is made up of 7th, 8th and 9th graders in the Milpitas Unified School District and is an intensive educational program designed for children with special needs. The first day began with a performance shared with the entire campus of elementary and middle school students.  Their performance was graceful, uplifting and filled with aloha.  The students even learned the vowels in the Hawaiian language!  The 'opio then worked one-on-one with the SDC students in making eye-lash yarn leis.  Our students were truly enjoying the time and opportunity to interact with the 'opio girls.  It was evident in all the smiles, laughter, and conversations.  Each student not only took away a yarn lei they made themselves, but memories of an amazing day.  The next day was just as special as the 'opio girls returned for a walking field trip to a local eatery in Milpitas.  The 'opio were so generous, not only with their wonderful performance and donations but the time they took to truly get to know our students. ~ Trisha Lee, Assistant Principal, Thomas Russell Middle School       Recently, some of us girls ventured to Pomeroy school in an effort to spread our aloha with some of the summer school kids. From ages small to tall, the excitement and appreciation on their faces was quite distinct and unified. We even took a trip to a quaint taqueria, where the kids showed us what they learned when studying Mexico. Joshua, the boy I spent the most time with, told me about his brother and sister, and about his other friends in the class. As much as we tried to impact them, these students also had an enormous inpact on us. -Rebekah Ledwith

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