Fifth-graders at Roosevelt Elementary School took a trip to Hawaii on
They did not actually board a plane and fly across the Pacific
Ocean. But thanks to fifth-grade teacher Tiffany Kaloustian, the
students who are members of her Hula Club experienced the spirit of
Hawaii when they performed in the club’s annual talent show Friday
for the benefit of “ohana” -- family.
Through their association with the club, the children have learned
that ohana means more than just one’s immediate family. To Hawaiians,
it is a relationship that embraces other cultures and creates unity,
For the show, the teacher created a scenario in which seven
children from Burbank travel to the Hawaiian Islands. There, they
learn about the volcano goddess Pele, participate in a luau and learn
the art of hula, while making friends along the way.
For the past three years, Kaloustian, a native of Hawaii, has
taught fifth-graders the language, culture and dance of the Hawaiian
Islands. The first year she started the club, she had 20 students,
the second- year enrollment increased to 50, and this year, 55 out of
a class of 65 fifth-graders joined the club.
“It’s good for one culture to know another culture,” 11-year-old
Dimitri Cremo said. “I enjoy being in the Hula Club. I think it’s
Dimitri is one of 24 boys in the club. For the talent show,
Dimitri said he learned how to perform the hula, and did not receive
any teasing from his friends. Most of them are also in the club, he
Kendall Capshaw, 10, likes to act and dance, and she had the
opportunity to do both in the talent show. The youngster said she
enjoyed learning the hula, and it is one of her favorite dances,
along with ballet.
The children started practicing for the talent show two times a
week after lunch, beginning in November, Kaloustian said.
“To see the end result and as I watch the children on stage, I am
in awe, in complete amazement,” Kaloustian said. “They have made me