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Does Song Contest Unite or Divide?

Staff Editorial, Photo Courtesy of Michael Young

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This year’s song contest theme is ‘O Hawai’i Ku’u Kulāiwi: “songs of my be­loved homeland”. Specta­tors probably assume that, as students of Kamehameha, we all have the mindset that allows us to take the theme to heart as we share our songs with the world, but that’s almost never the case.

Most people don’t know the theme of each song contest in which they par­ticipate. Every year, there is only one thing on the mind of every student: winning. This idea is usually accom­panied with the expectation of the satisfaction of beating the other classes and enjoy­ing the bragging rights that come with it.

Leading up to the com­petition, there are students who enjoy throwing shade and starting wars on social media. The more time that passes, the more divided the high school becomes. There is Class Color Day just prior to Song Contest in order to unite our classes. What the event really does is pit each class against the other through color segregation. Those who originally feel neutral about competing eventually develop stronger opinions against those with whom they will battle.

Although everyone knows that Song Contest is really about celebrating Hawaiian music and sharing our cul­ture and language with oth­ers, no one can help but pick their favorite classes and hope they come out on top. There’s always some pres­sure to win, whether it be from peers, parents, spec­tators, or teachers; no one wants to let anyone down.

We are all warriors, and even if we don’t unite as a singular high school, uniting as classes to compete with music is the next best way to show the world that Ha­waiians are proud and pas­sionate people. We must all remember that competition is always exciting, but what makes a class triumphant isn’t cocky trash talk; rather, the group’s powerful and confident emotion conveyed to the audience and judges through its heart and under­standing of its songs.

I mua! And may the best class win.

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Does Song Contest Unite or Divide?