Head Start Stories and Experiences...
1. Submit an Application
2. Be contacted by a HCAP Head Start Family Advocate
Chronicles of Aunty Raynell
by Raynell Namu
Aloha, my name is Raynell Namu. I am the daughter of Mr. Mrs. Edmund Kahue Sr. Although we were poor, my parents raised eleven children in a household filled with love, warmth and security.
In 1981, I graduated from Roosevelt High School. After graduating, I continued my education and attended Kapiolani Community College majoring in Clerical. To support my way through college, I worked at a fast food restaurant where shortly after was promoted to the management team.
In December of 1986, I got married and had three children. After having my third child, I decided to stay home and take care of my family.
On January 13, 1991, my life changed. I left my marriage and went to a domestic violence shelter for women and children. The shelter helped me through this time of need. I met Eli Scanlan, a worker who also worked for Head Start. Eli encouraged me to apply for Head Start so my children could go to preschool.
In August of 1991, my oldest son Matthew was accepted at Kunia Head Start. One of the services I appreciated was having bus transportation. I didn't have a car so the bus service was perfect. Through wonderful encouraging staff, I got involved by volunteering in the classroom and on the parent group committee as Chairperson. I learned how important parents were in the program. Later in the year, my son Mason was also enrolled in Kunia Head Start. I enjoyed my involvement in the program and learned new things such as working with the children and sharing ideas with the teaching staff.
The following year, (1992-1993) my son Mason was transferred to Waipahu Elementary Head Start where I continued my active involvement with the program.
In 1994, my daughter Megan was accepted at Kunia Head Start. Once again, Head Start provided bus transportation for the children who resided in the Waipahu area. I continued volunteering in the classroom and assisted the teaching staff on the bus.
I enjoyed volunteering so much that I became the finger printed parent for both Kunia Iand II classrooms. Ms. Pam Fusco was another teacher who inspired me with her creative and outgoing personality.
My daughter moved on to Kindergarten at Waipahu Elementary where I worked as an Adult Supervisor in the cafeteria. After being encouraged several times, I finally took Ms. Marilyn's advice and submitted a job application with Head Start.
The following school year, I was hired as an Assistant Teacher at Kalihi Elementary. Unfortunately, I called Mr. Rolland Gella to turn the job down. Mr. Gella reassigned me to Waipahu Elementary. I was anxious to work with Ms. Karen Makishima, a teacher who inspired me with her amazing teaching skills. I thanked Mr. Gella for giving me an opportunity in the Head Start Program. I started my new job and enrolled back into school.
In 1997, I achieved my CDA and was promoted to Teacher. I worked in an inclusion setting where I developed partnership with the DOE staff. I learned how to work with disabled children through ongoing trainings and workshops.Working as a teacher gave me the experience to train and work with wonderful Assistant Teachers. Over the years, I continued my education and achieved my Associate's degree in 2005. I continued working at Waipahu Elementary. Currently, I am a Teacher Mentor supporting teachers on the Leeward Coast under Program Manager, Cheryl Castro. Recently, I applied to Wayland Baptist University so I can pursue a Bachelor's Degree in Human Resources Specializing in Early Childhood Education.
Over the years, I've worked with inspiring teachers, supporting parents, encouraging staff, and even developed a passion for the children and families we service. HCAP Head Start has given me the opportunity to grow, pursue my education, build relationships with community partners and heighten my experiences through meetings, trainings and workshops. Thank you Oahu Head Start for making a difference in my life.
Head Start Teacher Mentor
- Watch Raynell tell her story