Murphy Ushers New Goals, Hopes

Maiya Ezawa

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     Footsteps, both old and new, befall hallways that previously spent two months in silence. The start of the school year drags students back into the flurry of papers, textbooks, homework and lectures—and the 2017-2018 session is no exception. However, amidst the routines and standards come some major new initiatives that MHS is implementing this year. These changes include a push for a better cafeteria experience, remodeling in the agricultural center, and overall improvement in infrastructure and safety.

     “When people think about Mililani High School, they usually identify with this logo that we’ve put together, and these three words, ‘excellence, tradition, pride.’ It’s on the back of our shirts, it’s a branding that we’ve done for our school and again, I want (this year) to be about a comprehensive high school, high quality programs, successful students, future leaders, outstanding educators, (being) the hub of the community—we want them to think about these things,” said Principal Fred Murphy.

     Keeping with this year’s theme of voyaging, and paddling—an analogy for the cohesive teamwork aspect of the teachers, the staff, and the students—the administration and student leaders are encouraging students to look past academics and to use high school as a time to find who they really are. “The biggest takeaway from Murphy’s theme this year is that unification is needed in order to make this school work. We are all needed to make this canoe move. To me, the students at Mililani High represent the canoe that sails and navigates across the rough ocean water that represents the workload we receive daily, the constant pressure to begin planning our futures and the same time trying to find out who we are as individuals. As for the teachers and faculty, they are the paddlers that work together and guide us in the right direction to the awaited destination that differs for every student,” said 2018 Class Council President Senior Brittany Plan. “What is that sense of purpose that we have? Not just to each other and to the land, but that will serve us when we travel elsewhere? Skills that we’ll be able to tap into that will make us great assets wherever we travel in the world,” added Murphy.

     As a result of years of student concern on the condition of the cafeteria, MHS is collaborating with a chef to introduce a pilot program that would allow the purchase of more local ingredients, improving the taste and quality of lunch. “We’re working to do more farm to table products, we hopefully will see in January a revamped menu, and we are working with a chef and the (DOE) is allowing us some freedom to try to buy from local vendors and to get things into our cafeteria for the same price or cheaper than the current things that come to us that every school has to serve in the state of Hawaii. We’re the first school on Oahu to do that,” said Murphy. “The ‘Farm-to-School’ initiative is truly an outstanding idea that’s on it’s way to Mililani High. Locally grown fruits and vegetables will be shared with MHS and some of our complex-area schools that our cafeteria staff serves! This initiative may also open new opportunities for our students in agriculture. I haven’t had a direct role in this initiative, but am excited to help promote the new program and look forward to tasting the new fresh foods in our cafeteria,” added ASMHS President Senior Alyssa Ann Yamada-Barretto.

     MHS is also looking to have a complete renovation of the current agriculture plot, where their goal is to get FDA certification so the produce grown there can be served in the cafeteria. “Second thing is the revamping of our agricultural corner —really trying to merge our Hawaiian study program and our agricultural program, not to merge them but for them to share that space, to make it a greener or nicer place, but really to create a showcase part of our campus that right now is not a showcase part of our campus,” said Murphy. “You’re going to see people tearing down old structures and tearing out some of the trees and plantings that don’t belong there and redoing the fence line and we’re going to make it a really nice place in the next year.”

     In terms of the town as a whole, the Mililani Waena Elementary School Park has been an ongoing issue for not only the high school, but for the elementary school and members of the community as well. “We have an initiative right now with Mililani Waena park and creating a safer place and working with the Mililani Town Association, the Honolulu Police Department, Mililani Waena, the community landowners, and cleaning up a place that’s had a lot of drug use and a lot of fights and even some prostitution and some things happening right next to our campus,” said Murphy. “We now have HPD patrols and some other things going on so we can monitor a real hotspot for us, that is real negative, and we’re being real aggressive about that kind of stuff.”

     Throughout the next school year, students can expect to see an increase in remodeling, construction, and agricultural work as the MHS administration works to carry out with their plans for cosmetic changes around campus.

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