Photo Credit: Danielle Castro
On Oct. 23, MHS held its first Patsy Mink Day at the Patsy T. Mink Central Oahu Regional Park (CORP). The field trip was organized to celebrate politician Patsy Mink and her legacy, as she was the first Asian-American woman to be elected into Congress and the author of Title IX, a clause that states, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” It was also this year’s freshman class outing — organized by and open only to the freshman class, with advisor help.
“Celebrating Patsy Mink showed that you can do anything you set your mind to. Your race, gender, or anything, can’t limit you to what you can and can’t do,” said Freshman Class Secretary Ellie Ikemura.
Mink was honored for her immense work in women’s athletics and academics. Her drive to help women led to the decision to have a field day dedicated to her. “During the summer, I was called by Mr. Murphy on how he had an idea and wanted to plan a field day with the U.S. Army for the freshman outing,” said Freshman Class Advisor Shannon Marxen. “With this field day, the students got the opportunity to learn and honor Patsy T. Mink’s legacy. The freshmen also had the opportunity to be able to have fun, learn teamwork and get to know (and) bond with their classmates.”
Before the class could celebrate, they had to coordinate with sources outside of school and plan out how they would hold the event. Thanks to teachers and coordinators helping to smooth out the field trip’s logistics, planning went smoothly. “Within our school, there were a lot of hands that helped out; Mr. Murphy, Mrs. Ward-Riehle, Ms. Castro, Mr. Falenofoa, the cafeteria workers, the class council, Ms. Moore, Ms. Udarbe, Mr. Matsuba, all the chaperones who helped on field day and the Class of 2023 advisors all had a part in making this day a reality,” said Marxen. Ikemura added, “They all worked very hard to make this Patsy T. Mink Field Day come to life.”
After planning, the freshmen arrived at CORP for a day full of games and team-building activities. The field day consisted of 13 different activities involving athletics and teamwork— values Mink pushed for during her career. “We played tug-of-war, capture the flag, dodgeball, etc. We also did drills that had to deal with cones and/or teamwork,” said Freshman Class Vice President Journey DePonte. Ikemura added, “There were lots of teamwork involved activities. This allowed all the students to work together and reach their goal.”
Apart from faculty and volunteers, students in the class of 2023 council also lent a helping hand. On the morning of the event, the council distributed shirts and about 400 water bottles to each class, as well as directed students to their buses. Even so, upon their arrival to CORP, council members were able to bond with their classmates just as much as the rest of their class. “How we made it for them was as if they were just the students. They needed to bond also with the other students so that was their biggest thing,” said Marxen. Freshman Class Treasurer Ethan Santos added, “I think we all kinda felt obligated as class council members to be leaders and lead our team. Like I saw from Ati’s team, she was a really good leader and I guess that’s kind of how we interacted with some of our fellow peers.”
The Patsy Mink Day provided students with more than just a fun break from school. The hope for the field day was to leave students aware of and inspired by Mink’s impact, especially the younger female generations. “One of Patsy T. Mink’s greatest contributions to our society was Title IX,” said Marxen. “This gave females in the educational setting to be able to take part in learning, (and) extra curricular activities, such as sports.”
After a day at CORP, the students were able to debrief and reflect on their time spent at the field trip. This was the first year the event has taken place and faculty and participants found it to be a success. “I think my favorite part of field day was seeing at the start of field day it was my advisory, so we weren’t really comfortable with each other like one class every single week and all that, but throughout every single game I noticed some of my peers getting more rowdy with our cheers after every game and it was really awesome,” said Santos. “It was nice seeing most of the freshmen come out and have fun and just be themselves,” Freshman Class President Ati Fonotani added “Everyone was bonding really well and everyone was enjoying themselves.”
Whether or not Patsy Mink Day will become an annual event currently remains unknown. The decision will be made by Mr. Murphy and the new class advisor for next year’s incoming freshmen.