For Wednesday, November 3, 2010
POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Nov 03, 2010
Of course, Isabella "Izzy" Abbott stood tall in her world of tiny sea plants, but she didn't shrink from many among her human brethren, either. Perhaps her Hawaiian mom was one rare exception, though: The late University of Hawaii ethnobotanist did credit her with first inspiring her fascination with limu, the folk wisdom shared during walks on the beach.
Abbott's gift was her way of intertwining her cultural grounding with the scientific knowledge on which she built a sterling scholastic reputation. Five years ago, as chairwoman of the Bishop Museum collections committee, she brought scientific evidence to bear on a conflict over artifacts found with human remains.
Many people see a divide between culture and science: Abbott was a giant in both worlds.
With public schools under so much scrutiny for their shortcomings, it's a joy to see success being recognized. Congratulations go to King Liholiho, Koko Head and Waialua elementary schools for being named Hawaii Blue Ribbon campuses. The program honors schools that show dramatic improvements in test scores or rank in the top 10 percent of schools in their state in reading and math.
At Waialua, half the students are economically disadvantaged. Koko Head is being considered for consolidation.
Liholiho principal Christina Small might have been speaking for all when she said, "We have a 'why not?' attitude. We all work as a team to overcome many challenges."