Plants and students grow in Agriculture class


Kaui Leong

Students in the NHIS Agriculture class work inside and outside the classroom.

One of the furthest classrooms from the front entrance of NHIS is the Agriculture class. But what makes this classroom unique is the classroom is not only inside a building but out in field where students learn and apply skills in growing plants, land management, and natural resources.

Myles Murakami is the Agriculture teacher and has been at NHIS for over 20 years and his passion for teaching Agriculture runs deep.

“Being able to grow the right crops and raise the right livestock according to environmental factors ensures that human beings are able to eat healthy diets and form a strong immune systems,” said Murakami.

Murakami graduated in Horticulture Science from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. After graduating, he started working at the Ocean Recreation program for the City Parks and Recreation.

“We would work a lot with kids and the kids were fun,” said Murakami.

Murakami enjoyed it so much that he decided to pursue a career as an Agriculture teacher and has been teaching natural resource core and plant system one and two.

However, Murakami explained the two major difficulties with teaching his classes.

First is motivating the extremely lazy students.

“Being an Agriculture teacher I get a lot of kids that nobody wanted. So I get kind of the hard headed kids.” said Murakami.

While he experienced these difficulties of certain students laziness, Murakami described that throughout the year, he felt that he and his students would form a bond.

“I think sometimes, that nobody wants them and I am willing to take them in and help them grow.”

Students in the class see the class differently than their other classes.

“This class doesn’t feel like an obligation to go but a leisure activity,” said Joshua Regalario, sophomore.

The second difficulty is finding funding for different projects.

“We don’t do any fundraisers because all my kids take home all the stuff we grow and I feel that’s more important. They don’t get to eat produce and so it’s worth more for them to take it home and eat it.” said Murakami.

However, Mr. Murakami revealed that his dream is to be able to create an outdoor classroom.

“I would want to build an outdoor classroom. A structure where we could have our tables outside, so it’s easier to demonstrate things and so I’m not worried about getting the place dirty.”

Another, factor that he mentioned was the extreme heat in his classroom.

“If my class had AC, it would be so much nicer.”

Despite the fact that there are challenges, Murakami still finds a way to sentimentally enjoy the overall accomplishment he creates within his class.

“All the little things make me happy. I like seeing kids succeed, not only in my class but in life. Community contributors, people who were a part of my class who did better.”

Even students who graduated don’t forget him. He explained that the relationships after they graduate become even better because they visit and call out to him whenever they see him.

“So I feel like if I hadn’t made a connection, they probably wouldn’t come at all and avoid you. The kids are probably the most rewarding things about my job,” said Murakami.

The funding challenge does affect what students are able to do in the class. For example, each year there is a land judging contest held opened to agriculture students only. The students have not been able to participate in the Future Farmers of America project due to reduced funds and the cost to participate.

Murakami feels that whatever monies he has should go to the whole class rather that the small group that would participate in the contest.

It is this kind of thinking that helps make Murakami’s class focus on all the students and to help them be engaged in learning.

Luke Kaneaiakla, freshman, said, “ Agriculture is a very fun class that teaches you practical knowledge. I’ve learned about the different things you can put in your soil and it’ll help me in my garden at home so I can grow plants and eat them.”

Students in the Agriculture class feel pride in showing how what they learn in the class can result in growth of vegetables and other plants.
Kaui Leong
Students in the Agriculture class feel pride in showing how what they learn in the class can result in growth of vegetables and other plants.