The ceremony began with a hula performance by the whole school. The girls all wore white muumuu's like they did at our Christmas program. Of course, each student also wore several lei's. The hula teacher made extra special leis for the graduates and the principal gave them each a maile lei. Here is some information about the maile lei from the aloha-hawaii.com website.
"The maile is most often reserved for memorable occasions. It is known to many as the “lei of royalty,” given to signify respect and honor. The maile is very popular at weddings, graduations and especially proms. On the US mainland, young men usually receive a boutonniere from their prom dates. In Hawaii, they are presented with a maile lei.
The maile lei can also be used for other purposes. Some people dry the lei and use it to scent their drawers, closets, tapa (bark cloth), etc. Lei stands entwine the maile lei with a variety of flowers such as pikake, ilima or mokihana berries.The maile lei is noted for its rarity and considered by many to be the finest of all leis. Prices range from $30 and up. So place your orders early!"
The maile lei smells incredible!
After the hula performance the students were presented with their diploma and a class ring. At this school, you can only receive a class ring at your graduation, and the school purchases it. Then each student gave a speech, thanking ke akua (god) and their ohana for getting them to this point in their lives.
The night ended with dinner, prepared by the families of the students. At many graduation parties on the "Mainland" you would expect mostacholi, chicken, maybe some sort of salad, cake etc. Well, not in Hawaii! The type of food served at parties is exactly what you would find if you paid for a luau. We had kalua pork, poi, lomi lomi salmon, opihi, and rice. One thing was the same though, there was cake!