Hawai'i Preparatory Academy - Review #2

Hawai'i Preparatory Academy
5

About the Author:

College Enrolled Mount Holyoke College
Home Town, State (Country) Bloomington, MN
Years Attended Boarding School 3
Activities During Boarding School I went on as many camping trips as possible, some were just camping on the beach, others involved kayaking to locations that are unreachable by cars. I also participated in the Sea Turtle Research program (which also involves camping at the beach sometimes) that allowed me to write a formal paper that I then presented at the International Sea Turtle Symposium that year. I was also very involved in the equestrian program that is very cool! There are horses for every level, whether you are a beginner or an advanced rider interested in training. HPA has its own horse breeding program and students take an active part in taking care of all the horses, from the newborns to the old reliable horses. The equestrian program offers a wide range of activities from polo playing to English and Western competitions to overnight riding trips, it really is an amazing program! I was also a dorm prefect my last year. Prefects are sort of like RA's in college. We look out for the younger students, make sure things are going alright. We are also in charge of making sure everyone behaves and studies during study hall hours. It was a good leadership experience that gave me a boost up for when I became an RA and subsequently a Dorm President later at Mount Holyoke College.

Reflections and Advice:

1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
HPA has a beautiful campus that looks out over the Big Island and the ocean. The extra-curricular activities are truly unique (i.e. Sea Turtle Research, free camping trips all over the island etc.). The entire HPA community (students, teachers, staff etc.) is like one large family that remains a family even after graduation.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
I loved being able to be independent and successful at school. I had many personal accomplishments in riding and volunteering. I was always busy. I think I learned how to be a good student by balancing my work load as well as extra-curricular activities. When I got to college I was totally prepared for the work and dorm living.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
I would have liked to have done more things independently from the school and school sponsored activities. It is hard for a boarding student from Minnesota to really get off campus without going on a school activity, which is why I went on so many camping trips etc. I think there could be some cool experiences to be had if you have a good friend that's a day student and willing to take you home over some weekends! I did that a couple of times and it was great!
4.) What did you like most about your school?
I loved the horse program and the camping trips! I also really valued many of my teachers and I am still in touch with some of them!
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Be active! Get involved in the activities, go camping, go turtle tagging, you'll love it! Take advantage of the unique opportunities only HPA can offer you because once you are back home in cold Minnesota you will really wish you had one more weekend to sleep on the beach with your friends and wake up to nice waves calling you to go boogie boarding!

Academics:

1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
There are a wide range of classes to choose from, so I always felt like I was taking the classes I wanted to take. There is some flexibility for some "design-your-own" class as well. The work load was usually alright, never too heavy. The teachers mostly live on or near campus and they were always very available to us. I have many memories of late nights in teachers' apartments trying to work out some problem or write that paper with other students. The students and teachers really do work together.

Athletics:

1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
I loved that I could ride horses everyday! HPA has so many sports to choose from that everyone finds something they like. I was lucky enough to go to HPA where I could ride everyday and really take care of the horses as if they were my own. The equestrian program at least, really lets the students be involved in every aspect of the program. We even helped the planning and organizing of shows. We participated in numerous shows every year with riders from all over the Big Island. Often times the judges would be from other islands or even the mainland. The equestrian program also hosts many clinics with accomplished riders/judges from all over. Many of my friends did other sports like tennis, scuba diving, swimming and diving. I wish I had had more time to try a new sport, but I did have a lot of fun riding!

Art, Music, and Theatre:

1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
I wasn't involved in the arts program at all. I went to see many plays during my three years and they were quite good. HPA has a nice theater facility (GATES) and now they have a new music building I've heard.

Extracurricular Opportunities:

1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
There are so many extra-curricular activities, from volunteering to tutor kids as a transitional housing facility, to helping the National Marine Fisheries Service study sea turtles. I loved all the camping trips offered, the sea turtle research and the events put on by the various organizations on campus (i.e. Amnesty International).

Dorm Life:

1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
Living in the dorms was fun and really prepared me for college! I loved being in a HUGE family with so many international students, you really learn a lot! I liked being so close to all my friends all the time and the teachers who live in the dorms become like second parents to you. We always had events with the dorm teachers, dinner in their apartments, or everyone going out to dinner or to the beach together.

Dining:

1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
Dining was alright. There is a nice salad bar and breakfast was always good. Lunch and dinner were a bit "iffy" sometimes, but no one ever goes hungry! We also had formal dinner every Monday night where we had to dress up and eat at an assigned table (the assignments changed every so often) with a teacher.

Social and Town Life:

1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
The school is located outside of Waimea (or Kamuela as the postal address says) which is a pretty small town. There are some shops and grocery stores, but nothing too exciting. I liked the area because it was quiet and people are very friendly. The beach is only a 20 minute drive down the hill, and bigger towns aren't that far away (Kona is about 45 minutes away).
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
My social life revolved around my friends in the dorms mostly. There were often dorm or school activities on the weekends that we would go to. HPA also has van trips to the beach, Waimea and Kona every week that students can sign up for. I liked knowing everyone at school.

Daily Schedule:

Weekday
6:45 AMwake-up, breakfast
8:00 AMassembly or classes start
3:00 PMsports time for everyone!
5:30 PMdinner
7:00 PMstudy hall for everyone for 2 hours
10:30 AMlights out for the youngest students
Weekend
9:00 AMwake up anytime
11:00 AMvans leave for the beach and various towns
5:00 AMback on campus for dinner sometimes
7:00 AMhanging out with friends, watching movies
10:00 AMheading back to rooms, getting ready for bed

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