Holualoa fifth-graders create mural following unprecedented year

  • Holualoa Elementary School fifth grade students put their thumb prints on the i‘o mascot for a new mural outside the cafeteria. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

  • A new mural at Holualoa Elementary School is unveiled Tuesday. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

  • A new mural at Holualoa Elementary School is unveiled Tuesday for the school's staff. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

  • A Holualoa Elementary School student gets paint on their hand to leave their impression on the new mural. (Courtesy photo/Special to West Hawaii Today)

  • Shaula Tualaulelei and Anna Barnes help Holualoa Elementary School students with choosing colors and putting paints on their hands for the new mural. (Courtesy photo/Special to West Hawaii Today)

  • Holualoa Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Amanda Dewey puts her handprint on a new mural in front of the school cafeteria. Special to West Hawaii Today

  • Holualoa Elementary School fifth-grade student Yukino Sasaki puts her handprint on new mural in front of the school cafeteria. (Courtesy photo/Special to West Hawaii Today)

The newly promoted fifth-grade class at Holualoa Elementary School has left their impression at the 128-year-old school in an unprecedented year of changes.

Principal Glenn Gray said the staff was thinking about what to do for an end-of-year celebration for the class. They had a drive-through event, but because of the unique situation students and faculty were thrust in because of COVID-19, the wanted to do something more.


“Students had such disconnect this year,” said Gray. “Even though we brought students back earlier this year, we wanted to do something special.”

So the idea of creating a mural using the fifth graders’ and their teachers’ handprints was hatched.

“We got our tech team involved, one of whom is an artist,” said EA Shaula Tualaulelei. “They did stenciled art so we could put the handprints and fingerprints in it. It was just amazing to see the team coming together to make this happen.”

Keiki got to put their impression on the mural at one of two fun days held for the advancing students.

The mural was unveiled for the staff Tuesday morning, depicting their school mascot, an i‘o, flying over Hualalai. The mountain is depicted using the handprints, while the i‘o is filled in with thumbprints. It sits on the wall fronting the cafeteria where students are dropped off and is appropriately named Handprints of Aloha, Na Lima Hana Mural Project.

“This is a gift to Holualoa’s history and tradition,” said Gray.

Counselor Kealoha Curnan-Medina said it was a project put together by many hands and many hearts to express mahalo and aloha to Holualoa School. The idea was conceived and executed in only three weeks.

“‘A‘ohe hana nui ke alu ‘ia — No task is too big when done together by all.’ This is a prime example of how we work at our school,” said Curnan-Medina.

“I think it is nice for fifth graders to leave their legacy,” said vice principal Mike McCloskey. “There was no opportunity for normalcy this year. To leave their mark is a nice thing.”


Taulaulelei said it was an idea of love that came together with many hearts and hands to make it happen. Their community partner Home Depot donated all of the paint and supplies to make it happen.

“It is definitely the heart of Holualoa school,” said Taulaulelei.

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