By: Paolo DiGiovanni
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - On Friday, April 12, Mid-Pacific Institute celebrated an old tradition with its students, Kite Day. The 1,500 students of Mid-Pac flooded the field in the morning sun with kites in hand. However, this event has an old history that not many remember.
The Kite Day tradition goes back to 1910 when young Chinese boys at the old Mid-Pac staged a kite flying event for the community. However, the tradition was lost during World War I during which, the Mid-Pac campus was closed off and housed military tents and troops for much of both World Wars. Unfortunately after the wars, Kite Day was not a tradition that was reinstated.
Five years ago, the Mid-Pac director of student activities, Bill Wheeler who is a Mid-Pac alum, decided to reinstate the tradition. It was something that he and his family remember and want this new generation of students to have the same experience. Mid-Pac even has a letter from President Herbert Hoover recognizing the even an congratulating the school for its success.
"We started with the mid school and high school and since then we've added elementary kids, pre-schoolers through grade 5 and now they participate" said Joe Rice, President of MPI. "And when we did this they were so excited and of course the kids... are just going bonkers".
Many students designed and built their own kites. The school also held a kite contest to see who had the funniest, most original and smallest kites.
"The older kids, the middle school kids and the high school kids they go out and they build their own or they buy some elaborate ones and you see them way up there in the stratosphere flying" said Rice. "So we do have a contest for best kites and of course those usually go to the older kids."
Rice is retiring at the end of this year after 17 years at Mid-Pac. He says kite day is very unique and he will miss the tradition and the school very much.