I’ve talked about myself and my work in previous posts, but have neglected to introduce the other two individuals who are caught up in all of this. My wife Marie was born on Maui. We met through mutual friends and her younger sisters while we were both in high school, and she was actually my first date. I was close to her family, but romance did not bloom until nearly 10 years late, when we both were in our late-20s. We married in 1989, and our daughter Denyce Kathryn Malia Donaghy was born on Maui in 1991. Marie worked for our College of Hawaiian Language for the past two years, and only left her position in order to join me on this trip to Ireland. She arranged travel for our staff and faculty, and also kept track of funds for some of our grants.
Our daughter Denyce, known to our Hawaiian-speaking friends by her second middle name Malia, has been a Hawaiian immersion student since age three. She is now 16. I began using Hawaiian with her as an infant, and she took to immersion education like a fish to water. She started out at the Punana Leo o Hilo Hawaiian immersion preschool, then Keaukaha Elementary School’s Hawaiian Immersion site, and finally moved to Ke Kula ‘o Nawahiokalani’opu’u in fourth grade where she had been until last week. She is currently a junior (11th grade). She’s been an excellent student, involved in many school activites, and has rarely missed a day of school. She audited some Hawaiian music and dance classes at our college while only 9 years old, and amazed my colleagues with her maturity in the classroom. This past summer, she was one of 30 students selected nationally to attend the presigious CURIE Academy at Cornell University in New York. The program is for female high school students from under-represented minorities in math and the sciences who have a strong interest in these fields. She also worked at Hale Kuamo’o, our Hawaiian language center, for part of the summer, and assisted in formatting and producing curriculum materials for the immersion schools.
We are now in Philadelphia at the home of my mother’s sister. No significant news regarding our status arrived today; we are hoping that the wheels of progress are moving beyond our view, and that by tomorrow morning we will have some direction on how to proceed. Mahalo to everyone for your emails, tweets, and Jaikus of encouragement.