Pearl City Elementary expresses their love, appreciation, and congratulations to Principal Suster during Choose Aloha, Choose Love welcome back assembly

Aug 30, 2023 | PC Community, PC Schools

The heart and soul of our ten Pearl City Complex Schools begins with inspirational and caring leadership that cultivates and perpetuates a learning atmosphere from the common bond of love, appreciation, and respect for one another. On Tuesday, I had the honor of being invited to Pearl City Elementary School where I experienced, firsthand, the enlightening common bond at the school’s welcome back CHOOSE ALOHA, CHOOSE LOVE assembly.

Tuesday’s assembly was momentous for the school as they celebrated the promotion of interim PCEL Principal James Suster to permanent PCEL Principal beginning with the 2023-2024 school year.  Pearl City/Waipahu Complex Area Superintendent Richard Fajardo surprised Principal Suster while introducing him as the new, permanent school principal that preceded an overwhelming and heartfelt congratulatory applause from the PCEL ohana in attendance.

PCEL also celebrated the announcement of the CHOOSE ALOHA, CHOOSE LOVE Program commencing in the 2023-2024 school year that strives to teach students love over hate, address the impact of school violence and bullying, as well as preventing self-harm and addressing the issue of suicide.

Media personality Dawn Obrien who serves as Choose Aloha Ambassador for the State of Hawaii, also served as emcee on Tuesday with Uncle Aloha providing color and sound in front of a packed school cafeteria filled with energetic and excited PCEL students, teachers, administration, and support staff. New teachers and students were also welcomed to the PCEL ohana and new school year.

Ambassador Dawn and Uncle Aloha fired up the PCEL ohana with a level of energy and positivity that drove home the CHOOSE ALOHA, CHOOSE LOVE program initiatives. Ambassador Dawn also shared her personal experiences while growing up and witnessing bullying and hate in the schools that she attended, while also learning and being inspired by family and friends that the power of love can overcome all that is negative in one’s life. Mahalo to Ambassador Dawn. You are truly loved and appreciated by all you touch in Hawaii schools with your commitment and dedication to the Choose Aloha, Choose Love program’s positive messaging.

James Suster, Principal, Pearl City Elementary School

Welcome back assembly a big success to school opening of the new school year

“We planned this assembly about four weeks into the school year just to get everybody settled and then get the teachers ready to go and give us time to really plan a good opening. So, we wanted to make sure that our Choose Aloha Program was front and center with this because it’s our first year doing it. Dawn Obrien is super engaging, so we wanted to invite her and really get everybody amped up about SCL (student-centered learning).”

Promotion to permanent PCEL Principal

“This feels really good, there’s a different feel, not just from me, but campus wide. Now there’s a little bit of relief, or a burden lifted off where now we can move forward without the temporary assignment tag on my name. It’s really been a weight lifted off my shoulders.”

Support from Complex Area Superintendent Richard Fajardo

“It was super unexpected having Complex Area Superintendent Richard Fajardo here. He’s been instrumental in helping me get this full time job here and permanent position. Having him here is definitely a surprise.”

Thank you to my PCEL ohana

“I want to thank Keith Hui for giving me the opportunity to be here, but really the faculty for jut being super accommodating and welcoming since the beginning. They’ve been awesome and very supportive of everything we’ve been trying to do as a school. It’s just been a blessing to be able to work here with such great people. The students are awesome here. I know about seventy percent of the kids’ names, and they all know me. Whenever they see me it’s a positive relationship that we have and their smiling and giving me fist bumps all the time of the day.”

I would like to express my deepest appreciation for the opportunity and invitation to experience all the positive moments in our Pearl City Complex Schools. I have also been given the opportunity to document and capture on so many special, life changing moments along with the growth and success of each school through the years.

The Pearl City District Complex is blessed with school principals and administrations that care and look out for one another in the complex. The Pearl City District Complex is also blessed with exceptional leadership from Complex Area Superintendent Richard Fajardo who dedicates his time to visit our schools and participate in special moments like Tuesday’s Pearl City Elementary welcome back assembly. Mahalo Mr. Fajardo!


Photos by Barry Villamil |