Monday, May 19, 2008

Hawaii School for the Deaf and Back Home Again

On Friday morning, our last full day on Oahu, we headed over to the Hawaii School for the Deaf and Blind. We were met by Harry Hayler, the school counselor, who gave us a tour of the school. The school currently has 72 deaf and deaf blind students and no students who are blind. All of the blind students on the island are in other schools.

The school was down to 20 students at one point and nearly closed. The deaf community rallied together and they were able to save the school from closing. The school averages about 80 students per year and teaches with the bi-cultural, bi-lingual philosophy of American Sign Language and English. "We often have middle and high school kids who transfer here for the social opportunities," said Harry.

After we left the school, we headed over to Hamanuma Bay, a state park which is a frequent spot for snorkeling. We were fortunate to spot some mongoose (mongeese-plural??) running around:

And all this time, I thought "mongoose" was just a brand name for a bike!

Our final activity of the day was to head over to the Hilton Hawaiian Village for a hula show and fireworks. While we were waiting in line for the show, I spotted hearing aids on a woman in front of us. My sister began talking to her and we learned that she was from Washington, near the Canadian border. She and her kids joined us during the show.

The Hilton Hawaiian Village is a beautiful place that has beach access right outside the towers. I would definitely consider staying there if we head back out to the island again. Here, you can see the flamingos that were on the grounds:

On Saturday morning, we drove along the shore of Diamond Head on the way to the airport--this was a nice, scenic drive. We had one final view of the beautiful ocean before heading home on United. Speaking of which, the service was sorely lacking on the way back. United needs to take a lesson from Southwest on how to provide great customer service.

1 comment:

sign me .... Mrs. Bick said...

I went to grad school with a couple of people who taught the deaf in Hawaii. Sadly one of them passed, and I am out of touch with the other. I knew back then that the numbers at the Hawaiian School for the Deaf were low, but not that low! Good to know that their numbers are rallying!