The Real Meaning of ‘Ohana

by Cathi Minami, Director of Admissions & Development on February 10, 2011

Most new families moving into Hawaii quickly realize that the word ‘ohana becomes an important part of everyday life. Hawaiian families understand how aloha is the essential element in every ‘ohana as loving and caring for each other is the glue that holds families together and becomes the social fabric for our islands.

Our Maui Prep ‘ohana is much more than just an extended family; it is an understanding that aloha (love and caring) is an essential commitment to do everything we can to support all our students and families. Those that do not know our ‘ohana do not fully understand that entering our school community is more than getting a good college prep education.

Being a member of our ‘ohana is:
• fostering and developing a healthy lifestyle for our students;
• exploring ways of giving back to the larger community;
• giving students a physically and emotionally safe educational setting;
• exposing them to core values that mirror their own family values;
• knowing that their student’s peers have similar aspirations and dreams;
• sharing with other parents a high value placed on character traits of integrity, honesty and respect for others and property;
• grasping the full meaning of civility and not exposing students to foul and vulgar language or rude and calloused behavior;
• nurturing each individual student as if they were our own;
• having their son or daughter understand and appreciate aesthetic values of art, music and drama;
• experiencing and understanding team work on a personal level;
• knowing that academics have rigor and motivate students to extend themselves beyond their own perceived abilities;
• working towards limitless dreams for the future of our students;
• comprehending the sacrifices of others that give students the opportunity to receive a quality education;
• understanding the demands of self-discipline, compassion, and empathy;
• appreciating and celebrating the differences and contributions of others;
• developing a wide range of talents and skills through extraordinary experiences;
• striving for excellence in everything we do;
• being a contributing member of something larger than ourselves;
• understanding that discipline, when necessary, is a form of caring and loving;
• committing to the stewardship of the aina (earth); and
• recognizing community members for caring and extending themselves for others.

At Maui Prep our core value of “Students First” is the entire ‘ohana’s commitment by students to support each other; parents to treat other children like their own; faculty to stretch themselves in nurturing and meeting the needs of students; and administration to make decisions that have the best interests of students as the starting point of any process.

I have had family after family mention that our strong sense of community is initially based in our commonly held value of education and what it takes to care for children. The real surprise is the realization of the unique complexity and full meaning of our ‘ohana. If it takes a village to raise a child, we have the small village in place to jointly raise all of our students. Parents, faculty and staff join students in a weekly Citizen Assembly, a recognition celebration of what members and groups have accomplished over a week. The positive energy in itself defines who we are and what we hope will be the future of our students.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

MaryBeth February 11, 2011 at 3:46 pm

So true. I have never been involved in a place where so many people become so actively involved. As a result, there are many opportunities for the students, teachers, parents, indeed the whole ohana, to build the school and make it great!


Sandra Chafin February 20, 2011 at 7:09 am

Dr. Baker gives a great description of Maui Prep. Each time I visit from the mainland, I am more impressed with the “ohana” shown and practiced by students, parents, and staff at my granddaughter’s school. I am thrilled that my granddaghter, and soon my grandson, are going to be spending their formative years at Maui Prep. I love the website and the newsletter, too!


Ricardo San Nicolas June 3, 2017 at 2:37 pm

Whenever I pass thru Hawaii from the Mainland enroute 2 Guam, I visit my nephew m niece, I’m so happy 2 learn that there Discipline is being carried “Caring n Loving” !!


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