Arakaki joins MHS ohana

Meet one of the school’s newest staff, S. Ku’ulei Arakaki!


By An Vo

Miss Arakaki showcases her students’ work; with each masterpiece telling the stories of her students.

An Vo

Imagine the school as one humongous jigsaw puzzle. Everyone and everything has a part to play to unify the pieces. Five new teachers have arrived at McKinley High School as the new members of the puzzle (staff). One of the new teachers, S. Ku’ulei Arakaki, works as a special education teacher.

Arakaki is a part of the Career-Based Intervention (CBI) program. She works with students who need extra help and ensures their success. Arakaki said she is looking forward to getting to know the students here. She can be seen preparing activities for students in room P-5.

Before she came to McKinley, she worked as a teacher at Lincoln Elementary School.

“I worked with the whole school,” she said. “I really enjoyed getting to know them (students) and how they learn, individually.”

Arakaki said she decided to become an educator because she was intrigued by how students are influenced by their teachers.

“I was interested in how students are being taught, but also how they learn,” she said. “I like seeing the students grow halfway through the school year and the end of the school year.”

Arakaki said she understands what her students are going through. She has relatives who were students in special education classes from elementary to high school.

“Working with them (family) is why I can relate to the students,” she said.

Arakaki recalled a family member who is now a successful chef.

“I helped him all the time after school,” she said. “At one point he didn’t want to go to school, and I was always working with him. When he was at school, everyone thought he couldn’t do anything.”

Arakaki said she wants her students to feel that they’re not alone.

“I understand how the students feel when they think that we (teachers) give up on them, but we really shouldn’t let them feel like that,” she said.

Ron Okamura, the principal of McKinley High School, said Arakaki was very excited to be in the school.

“She’s eager to do everything to work well in our special education department and is so happy to be here,” he said.

Whenever Arakaki has spare time, she enjoys playing near the ocean.

“I go to the beach a lot,” she said. “I catch waves, bodyboard, swim, paddle, and used to surf. If I’m with my family, just leisure — relaxing at the beach, swimming. If I’m by myself, I bodyboard.”

Arakaki also enjoys making arts and crafts with her children.

“I do a lot of crafts at home with my kids,” she said. “We make stuff.”

Finally, Arakaki likes to watch UH sports games. She tries her best to watch them play as much as possible.

“I’m a big UH football fan and volleyball fan,” she said.