While some schools simply number their buildings to make it easier for students, teachers and visitors to find their way around, Star of the Sea Schools in Wai‘alae, took a very Hawaiian approach.
The buildings have Hawaiian names. And all are names of stars.
“Since we are in Hawai‘i, it seemed right to give the buildings Hawaiian names,” said Carola Souza, principal of the elementary and middle schools. “Our language department came up with appropriate names.”
All middle school students at Star of the Sea study a second language, either Hawaiian or Spanish. Students who have a first language other than English, often study English as a Second Language (ESL).
The principal pointed out that Hawai‘i has two official languages – Hawaiian and English – and that approximately 90 percent of all public facilities, parks, highways, streets and buildings, have Hawaiian names.
Mrs. Souza pointed out that Star of the Sea is one of the names given to the Virgin Mary, The Star of the Sea. “In Hawaiian, that is Ka Hōkū O Ke Kai,” she said.
The building names were chosen from existing Hawaiian names for stars.
The administration building is called “Hale Hōkūpa‘a,” North Star, or literally, “immovable star,” an appropriate name for the building from which all guidance comes. Another, “Hale Hōkūle‘a,” a name that means “happy star” and which became popular in 1976 when the double-hulled canoe that bears that name sailed from Hawai‘i to Tahiti and back. Others include “Hale Hōkūala,” the “rising star” and “Hale Hōkūloa,” which means “morning star,” the same as Hōkūa‘o, the Hawaiian name for Venus, when seen in the morning.