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"Bowl of Light" Brightens Truancy Court Celebration

"Bowl of Light" Brightens Truancy Court Celebration

The ‘Bowl of Light’ ceremony was the highlight of the celebration. The card in the bowl reads: “Each child born at birth has a Bowl of Perfect Light. If he tends to his light, it will grow in strength and he can do all things – fly with the birds, swim with the sharks, know and understand all things. If he becomes envious or jealous, he drops a stone into his Bowl of Light and some of his light goes out. Light and the stone cannot hold the same space. If he continues to put stones in his Bowl, the Light will go out and he will become a stone. A stone does not grow nor does it move. If at any time he tires of being a stone, all he needs to do is turn the bowl upside down and the stones will fall away and the Light will grow once more.” Source: Tales From the Rainbow, by Koko Willis and Pali Jae Lee.

The Fifth Circuit Court, in partnership with numerous Kauai agencies and organizations, recently celebrated the successful completion of the first Truancy Court Collaboration Pilot Project/TCCPP to improve school attendance and family engagement. Family Judge Edmund D. Acoba initiated and spearheaded this collaborative effort.

On May 22, 2018, nine of the 13 Waimea Canyon Middle School/WCMS TCCPP students participated in a celebration of their improved school attendance and successful completion of the project program for the 2017-2018 school year at WCMS. The ‘Bowl of Light’ ceremony pictured above was the highlight of the festivities.

Judge Acoba, Deputy Chief Court Administrator Kari L. Yamashiro, and Norman K. Acupan and Tina T. Higashi of the Juvenile Client & Family Services/JCFS staff attended the celebration. One week later, 7 of the 15 Waimea High School TCCPP students participated in their celebration.

“We are very excited about this program and grateful to our partners for helping us to introduce Truancy Court Collaboration on Kauai,” said Judge Acoba. “We believe that this can be achieved by addressing the hardships and barriers that students and their families face through the use of positive, meaningful interventions which are culturally sensitive, and employ place-based community connections through education, engagement, and enforcement.”

Since January 2017, JCFS has been working collaboratively with the Department of Education’s District Superintendent Bill Arakaki, Waimea High School Principal Mahina Anguay and Vice Principals Penny Vess and Allison Carveiro, Waimea Canyon Principal Melissa Speetjens and counselors Joyce Vea and Sarah Reis, and representatives from the Department of Education’s Mokihana program, Department of Health, the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Attorney General’s Office, Hale Kipa Student Attendance Support Service, Liliʻuokalani Trust, and the Kauai Police Department.

“The unwavering mission of Queen Liliuokalani — to ensure the well-being of Hawaiian children and ohana — is the guiding light for our work at Liliʻuokalani Trust,” said Systems Liaison Edralyn Caberto. “Therefore, we are very excited about the opportunity to partner with the Fifth Circuit Family Court and community stakeholders in developing innovative strategies to enhance our youths’ opportunities to succeed educationally and to thus build pathways to thriving lives.”

The West Kauai School Complex was selected to participate in this pilot program based on its strong interest in addressing truancy problems in its area. A similar program at an Oahu intermediate school produced a 91 percent daily school attendance rate in 2016-17, up about 40 percent from 2015-16.


(This entry was posted in Fifth Circuit, Truancy Court.)