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Parker School’s new logo honors past, looks to future

Parker 6th graders hold a sign they made about the significance of the braid, after their recent visit to Pukalani Stables. (Photo courtesy of Parker School)

Parker 6th graders hold a sign they made about the significance of the braid, after their recent visit to Pukalani Stables. (Photo courtesy of Parker School)


Parker School’s New Logo Honors Past, Looks to Future

Parker School is proud to unveil the results of a year-long process to rework its brand and create a new logo. Headmaster Carl Sturges said that the effort focused on creating an updated, accurate representation of what the school is all about.

“From our research we learned that people already feel good about Parker School, our sense of family or ohana, our nurturing atmosphere, our impressive academic and arts programs, as well as our growing athletics program,” Sturges said. “We know who we are; we just wanted to better communicate who we are to the general public.”

A marketing committee made up of school leaders as well as parents, teachers, board members and outside marketing professionals began their work in July 2013. Parker’s long standing values of excellence, integrity and compassion remain steadfast and unchanged.

To reflect these values, the marketing committee updated the mission statement, created strong value statements, and commissioned a new logo.

The committee held focus groups made up of students, alumni, current and past teachers, staff, parents and Waimea community members.

They also met with local historians, ranchers, cowboys and paddling experts to get their feedback. In this way, they sought to honor the history of the school and the area.

The new logo was inspired by the aweawe braid work of the Hawaiian saddle and the island’s waa (canoe) heritage and was designed by Terry Nii of Terry Nii Design on Oahu.

Parker School has long roots in the paniolo (cowboy) culture of the Big Island. Its main school building, Barbara Hall, originally built by Parker Ranch in 1915 (and named after the daughter of then ranch manager A.W. Carter) as a community gathering space, will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2015.

The school was established in 1976 to serve children of the community, many of whom were, and still are from ranching families. Almost 40 years later, it continues to support community families and is proud of this commitment and unique heritage.

Saddle making in Hawaii originated on the Big Island with the paniolo and the Spanish vaqueros that came before them. Hawaiian tree saddles use a unique four-strand rigging system called aweawe, giving the saddle strength by connecting the individual parts together.

Aweawe literally means “tentacles” in Hawaiian and each strand of a saddle’s ‘awe‘awe is made with a braid of three parts.

The aweawe is the key piece that holds the saddle together, the piece to which cowboys literally trust their lives. Braids were also often used in Hawaiian waa (canoe) heritage.

With numerous parallels to the saddle, braided rigging ultimately bound the canoe together, providing the strength for it to operate as a singular vessel rather than a construction of parts.

The idea of a braid struck Sturges and the marketing team as powerfully symbolic.

A school statement about the new logo said, “Braids take individual characteristics and weave them together, creating a single, stronger, entity. The braid is a rich symbol on many levels and a special way we can honor the roots and history of the school. At the same time, the simple, modern look of the logo points to the future. At Parker School, each child is encouraged to weave his or her own unique braid, strengthened by the school’s values of excellence, integrity and compassion. In addition to representing our values, the logo’s three braids also can signify our lower, middle and upper school divisions as well as our ‘ohana made up of students, teachers and parents. Uniting these elements, our students develop into individuals who have unique strengths and are well equipped to lead and succeed in life.”

Parker middle schoolers recently made a special field trip to Pukalani Stables to learn about Parker Ranch history, paniolo life, and about saddle making.

Middle School Head Tina Doherty said, “Our visit to Pukalani Stables took us back in time. Students could see the significance of the paniolo in our community, both past and present. The meaning of our braided logo became very clear, as they learned about the importance of the braid on the saddle.”

Eighth grade student Macey Note said she learned about how three strands coming together make one stronger strand and said that works well for the new logo “because it shows how strong and united Parker School is.”

The release of the new logo coincides with the Hawaii Island Festival’s Paniolo Parade and Hoolaulea set for Sept. 20, in which Parker School will be participating.

This year’s festival theme, I ka wa ma mua, I ka wa ma hope (The future is in the past) is particularly relevant for Parker as the school specifically sought to honor the past while looking to the future in its logo creation process.

In this year’s parade, Parker will have a walking group as well as horseback riders representing the ranching heritage so essential to the school’s history.

In addition to the all-school logo, the Parker Bulls logo used for athletics was also updated. After talking with members of the school ohana, the marketing committee found that the bull is very important to people as a representation of the school, so it will be maintained as the athletics and other competitive teams’ (such as debate) logo.

New admissions materials and a brand new website showcasing Parker School’s new look will make their appearance later this fall.


Parker School Scores High on AP Exams

Parker School has announced that its Advanced Placement (AP) test results for the 2013-2014 school year resulted in a 98% pass rate. Approximately 41 Parker students took AP tests and the 98% reflects the percentage of those students who received a score of three or higher.

AP test scores range from one to five, five being highest. A score of three or higher indicates a passing score. The state average pass rate is 53.4% and the global average is 61.3%.

Of the 71 total AP exams taken by the 41 Parker students last school year, 67 were scored at a 3 or higher, resulting in a 94% pass rate of all AP tests taken.

Parker 2014 graduates Malia Davis, Marie Jobes, Kyley Nishimura and Emily Whitfield were listed as AP Scholars; 2014 graduate Grant Nair and current Parker seniors Luke Potter and Maia Tarnas were listed as AP Scholars with Honor; 2014 graduates Breanna Bellatti, Tawny Bright, Lysha Matsunobu and Maddison Nelson were named AP Scholars with Distinction; and Lysha Matsunobu was named National AP Scholar.

Parker School Announces New Faculty & Staff

Parker School announces new faculty and staff members beginning this 2014-2015 school year:

Tina Doherty – Middle School Head

Last year, Doherty fulfilled the role of Middle School Coordinator and this year has been appointed Middle School Head. This role is new for Parker and reflects the recent growth of the middle school program, now with two sections in 6th, 7th and 8th grades. She said she is looking forward to continuing the development of Parker Middle Schools rigorous academic program and expanding on the opportunities for experiential learning, community involvement and character development. Doherty, a math and science teacher since 1997, with middle school, high school and community college experience, has worked at Parker since 2006. Originally from New York, she earned her bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from California State University at Northridge and a master’s in education from Pepperdine University. Doherty was an NCAA swimmer in college and has been an age group and high school swim coach. She moved to the Big Island with her husband and two daughters in 2004.

Nicole Vedelli – Athletic Director

Born and raised on Oahu, Vedelli moved to the Big Island in 1995 to work in the hotel and property management industries. Prior to joining the Parker staff in 2009 and becoming the lower school physical education teacher in 2011, she taught physical education at Waimea Country School. Now, along with directing Parker’s growing athletics program, Vedelli coaches high school girls cross country and teaches a high school conditioning class. She holds her Bachelor of Science degree in Management from University of Hawai‘i, Manoa and is certified with the American Council on Exercise in Youth Fitness and Sports Conditioning. She and her husband have two children who attend Parker School.

Hayley Blondin – Lower, Middle & Upper School Spanish Teacher

Blondin graduated from Indiana University with a bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in Spanish. She also holds a master’s degree in education with a concentration in bilingual education and English as a second language (ESL). Blondin joins Parker after working for four years as the 2nd/3rd grade multi-age teacher and garden coordinator at Waimea Country School. She expanded her knowledge of Spanish language and Spanish-speaking cultures while studying Spain, teaching in Peru and Costa Rica, and traveling in Panama and Bolivia. She also worked as an ESL teacher and program coordinator in Indiana, as a bilingual language arts teacher in Wisconsin, and as a cultural immersion project instructor for Indiana University. Blondin has a keen interest in sustainability and the outdoors and has completed the Ku ‘Aina Pa Garden Teacher Training and the E Lauhoe Wa‘a Teacher Training.

Tani Cordova — PAU Assistant (Parker After-School University, Parker’s K-5 after-school program)

Raised in Washington State, Cordova earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma. In 2010 she moved to the Big Island to complete her master’s degree in tropical conservation biology at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. She taught dance for several years and loves working with all age groups. While at UH Hilo, she instructed a biology lab before teaching at Hawai`i Preparatory Academy’s (HPA) summer program and as a substitute teacher at HPA during the regular school year.

Christina Culligan – Lower & Middle School Art Teacher, Upper School Yearbook Advisor, Upper School Assistant Debate Coach

Originally from Salt Lake City, Culligan recently moved to the Big Island. She graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in Art Education and Theater Arts Education from the University of Arizona, and completed her Master of Arts degree in Elementary Education from Northern Arizona University. Previously, she worked for five years as a high school visual art, theater and psychology teacher at a private school in Tucson, Arizona and has done extensive work as a muralist and scenic painter. She has also taught visual art and theater at various summer camps and community organizations in Arizona.

Heather Emmons – 4th Grade Teacher

Emmons joins Parker after working as a second and third grade teacher at Hualalai Academy in Kona. Previously, she worked as a third grade teacher at Hilo Union Elementary and as a first grade teacher at Iroquois Point Elementary on Oahu. She holds her bachelor’s degree in visual arts with an art history minor from Bowdoin College in Maine and her master’s in education from University of Hawaii (UH) with a focus in elementary education. At UH, she was a member of Pi Lambda Theta, the International Honor Society. Raised in Waimea, Emmons has also spent time abroad as an intern at the American School in Japan.

Dr. Matt Hamilton – Upper School Physics Teacher

After receiving his Ph.D. in physics from Colorado State University (CSU), Dr. Hamilton started working for Parker School in January 2014. Originally from Colorado, he moved to the Big Island in 2011. His bachelor’s and master’s degrees are also from CSU. He has experience working as a tutor and with various outreach programs.

Sarah Mares – Middle School Math and Science Teacher

Mares is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach with a bachelor’s degree in biology with an emphasis in physiology. Prior to working at Parker, she taught middle and high school science for 11 years in California. She has also worked as an educator for the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific, the Catalina Island Marine Institute, and the City of Long Beach Parks, Recreation and Marine Aquatic Camp Department.

Seneca Ropp – Lower & Middle School Physical Education Teacher

Ropp comes to Parker after working as a physical education teacher for several years in Oregon. She has also taught math and language arts at the elementary level and holds her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon. Ropp has also coached middle school track and middle and high school basketball.

Amicheli Salyer – Graphic Artist / Website Specialist

Salyer moved to the Big Island from North Carolina in 2012 and began working at Parker School in May. Originally from Venezuela, then Kentucky, she graduated with her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with an emphasis in graphic design from Eastern Kentucky University. Salyer has worked as a graphic designer for over 14 years, with experience in printing, magazine and newspaper publishing, and state and local government agencies.

Julia O’Shaughnessy – Middle School English Teacher

Hailing from Bellingham, Washington, O’Shaughnessy moved to the Big Island this summer. She graduated from the University of Iowa with her bachelor’s degree in English with a music minor and secondary education certificate. She completed her practicum and student teaching in Iowa City in 7th grade language arts and in 11th and 12th grade reading and composition. Since, O’Shaughnessy has worked as a substitute teacher and professional tutor in both Iowa and Washington State.

Parker Receives Broadbent Family Foundation Grant

Parker School announces that it recently received a grant of $32,350 from the Broadbent Family Foundation. The funds are being used for the purchase and implementation of a new school-wide data management system called Rediker.

The Broadbent Family Foundation, formed in 1992, provides funding for scholarships to students in Pennsylvania and Hawaii communities as well as for educational initiatives that can have a significant, favorable impact on students, with particular emphasis on initiatives related to developing a student’s interest, knowledge and skills in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, economics and communications.

The foundation’s most significant support has been to outstanding high school graduates in Pennsylvania who intend to major in science, engineering, economics, or a foreign language while at the college or university of their choice.

It has also supported scholarships for economically disadvantaged students attending a local community college and a program designed to improve the reading and communications skills of elementary school students, particularly those from families whose native language is not English.

Parker also received funds from the Broadbent Family Foundation in 2013 to support a significant renovation of its science lab and associated teaching space.

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