Members of Da’ Hawaii Seniors Club welcomed 19 Sophomore ATA pen pals and five upperclassmen from Gahr High School at their Meet ‘n Greet Pen Pal Party on Thursday, March 14, 2019, at the Cerritos Senior Center. The Sophomore Arts Technology Academy (ATA) students and the club’s seniors have been writing letters to each other since November of 2018, so that the students could learn what life was like for the seniors when they were the age of the students.
According to current ATA Director Kerry Grover, the students then will be writing a reflective essay comparing their lives to their own lives and eventually conclude who had it had a harder life. The students could also realize how the world has changed in just a few years. Inventions such as laptop computers, the cell phone, and Facebook did not exist when the seniors were teenagers.
The Gahr Pen Pal Program started over 10 years ago in 2008 by first Director Ms. Roulette. Mrs. Grover has been a teacher at Gahr for eight years and previously served as Director. When she first served as director, Da’ Hawaii Seniors Club members met their pen pals at Gahr High School at what was called the “Senior Prom” or “Senior Picnic.” After writing to each other for months, the pen pals met, face to face for the first time, to learn more about each other. The students and club members brought food to share and entertained each other with music and dancing.
This year, the Gahr students were treated to experiencing what it is like to be part of a meeting of Da’ Hawaii Seniors Club at their Meet ‘n Greet Party. After spending some time talking to their senior pen pals, the students tried refreshments provided by club members. They had samples of Spam musubi, chips, crackers, cuties, and St. Patrick’s cookies cupcakes as snacks along with water or sodas.
As part of the entertainment, members of the club, called the Na Kupunawahine, danced the hula to the song “That’s the Hawaiian in Me.” This was followed by everyone participating in one of the seniors’ favorite activities, Bingo! Member Frank Yoshii was the enthusiastic caller of different types of Bingo games with Don and Kyle Izumihara assisting him. Both members and students were happy winners of gift certificates to Chick-fil-A as prizes.
At the end of the afternoon, everyone formed a circle and held hands while singing their customary closing songs “Hawaii Aloha” and “Aloha, O’e.” The feeling of Aloha was everywhere at the Meet ‘n Greet Gahr Pen Pal Party.