Global Sites: Tonga

Featured News
We are One

To listen is to know
To know is to understand
Being able to respect
And accept 
Not to question
Nor to judge
To know a person
We show some reason
Before thinking or treason 
To be able to comprehend
So we may lend a hand
Never jump to conclusions
Without proper justification 
In the same world that we share
We must learn to care
We are but the same
Just different in names,
Faces, places, and races. 

- Daryl, Ambassador's Class

Ocean of Light School

Nuku’alofa, the capital of the Tongan nation, lies nested among the islands of the South Pacific, a short plane ride from Fiji. As a monarchy, Tonga shares some commonalities with Lesotho. An island rich with music, dance and culture, it shares similarities with many other Full-Circle Learning sites. As an oasis ripe for environmental studies, it compares with Brazil for service learning opportunities. For hospitality, it rivals China.

The people, no matter how much or how little they have, share with giving hearts throughout the island and especially at the Ocean of Light Schools. Teachers from preschool through high school grades attended workshops in January 2009 to prepare to augment their already-excellent curriculum with Full-Circle Learning approaches. They prepared to help students apply the habits-of-heart through integrated education in various content areas. The high school breakout groups were particularly fascinating to watch, with the math teacher, cultural preservation teacher, classic literature teacher and environmental science teachers all working as a team to promote altruism through their integrated projects.

At the start of the new year, all grade levels took on new class identities. The high school principal, Vaimoana Faka’osi, played new music in the hallways. The middle grades explored coral reefs and sent power points abroad in pursuit of their service goals. In recent project, a global partner in Los Angeles, the Full-Circle Learning Academy, sent a student-made calendar depicting Tongan themes, challenging Tongans to explore their similarities. The Ambassadors in Los Angeles received poems and song lyrics from the Ambassadors in Nuku’alofa, challenging them to create poetry, songs, and slide shows about cultural diversity and to share solutions to help the world appreciate that diversity, “to end all fighting and coexist peacefully.”

Captain Cook once called Tonga the Friendly Islands, and that nomenclature still fits. These students are reaching out to extend the hand of friendship through their schoolwork.