LCAS Celebrates 'Family' With School Ohana Groups

July 01, 2007 | Earlene Wohlers

"What's so funny?" the mother of a giggling second-grader asked her daughter after school. "It was Ohana Friday," the vivacious child explained. "It was so fun!"

The concept of Ohana—a Hawaiian term meaning family—brought together Lewis County Adventist School (LCAS) students in Centralia, Wash., from grades preschool through 10th grade.

The student body split into 'Ohana' family groups with students representing each classroom. The older students provide leadership while the younger students had the opportunity to interact with the "big kids."

Ohana groups made paper airplanes, played team-building games, conducted the Student Week of Prayer, read together and prepared meals for the rest of the school.

"I love it!" said a fourth-grader, "because I get to be with new people." A ninth-grader said that Ohana gave her the opportunity to know the little kids, which normally would not have happened.

A staff member observed that younger students seem to feel more secure because the older kids have become friends. Parents are applauding the family atmosphere created by Ohana Fridays.

LCAS has a long-standing tradition of community service. Ohana groups allowed the school to bring "service" into the classroom to allow students to form friendships with those outside their usual circle of friends. The result? A close-knit student body and staff.