The Hibiscus Model of APIS Education

The flower hibiscus flower symbolizes the APIS way of international education. Biologists describe the hibiscus as a complete flower. In order for a flower to be considered complete it must have 4 components: sepals, petals, stamens, and pistils. With each of these parts serving a uniquely important function, a complete flower has all of the necessary components to sustain and reproduce itself. Similarly, the four components that we believe make our educational philosophy complete are: APIS Mission, Core Curricular Emphases, Skills and Dispositions, and Key Character Values.

APIS mission sets the direction for our educational philosophy by asking, “What will the New Pacific Century demand from our leaders?” The New Pacific Century refers to the growing importance of the linkage between the East and the West. Moreover, we recognize the growing importance of the East in terms of economics, politics, and culture. In a loving and caring Christian environment, we strive to educate our students to be the bridge builders between the East and the West.

Our focus on four curricular emphases (East Asia Emphasis, Emphasis on Performing and Visual Arts, and STEM Emphasis, Spiritual Emphasis) is deliberate in design to address the unique challenges facing the New Pacific Century. We believe certain core knowledge or expertise simply cannot be fully outsourced to machines or to others. They can only be useful and serve a basis for further innovation if we possess the appropriate literacy and fluency in these content areas.

We use the term ESLRs (Expected Schoolwide Learning Results) to describe skills and dispositions we believe are necessary for the New Pacific Century. Defined into four main categories (Problem Solving, Communication, Collaboration, and Global Citizenship as Christians), our ESLRs reach beyond the simple 3-Rs of the conventional education: Read, wRite, and aRithmetic.

Nurturing character values at APIS, we believe, is the most important supporting component because it is the foundation or backbone for the other two supporting components described above. That is, the content area expertise and ESLRs can only take one so far unless they know how to Aspire to the highest standards/goals and to Persevere in the face of obstacles. With Integrity, they will know how to make choices that stand up to one’s faith and the higher moral standards. Spiritually grounded, they will know the meaning and joy of leading a life of calling.

Apart from completeness, the hibiscus also symbolically captures the “two campuses under one school” model of APIS education.

Hibiscus (mugunghwa) is the national flower of Korea, where our campus of the East is located. Hibiscus is also the official state flower of Hawaii, where our campus of the West is located. The symbolic link between Korea and Hawaii captured by the hibiscus appears too strong to be a mere coincidence when one finds out the name of the town where the APIS Hawaii campus is located: Hauula. Hauula in Hawaiian language means “red hibiscus”! We hence adopted the red hibiscus as the logo for our Hawaii campus. The gold hibiscus is the logo for the East. The color gold symbolizes the new emerging “golden age” of the East in the New Pacific Century. We look at this symbolic link as an important reminder of God’s presence and purposeful plan in APIS’ development.

Finally, the hibiscus flower as a school symbol helps capture the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit of the APIS education. The hibiscus wilts in a day and yet it is known as a flower meaning “seize the opportunity!” This is because a new flower continues to bloom for a long period of time. (The Korean name for hibiscus, mugunghwa, means a flower that never wilts.) While the hibiscus may look like its flowers never wilt, new flowers are continually replacing the old. Hibiscus sustains its beauty by constant rejuvenation. APIS commits itself to continued innovation and to an “outside-the-box” way of thinking to provide cutting edge education that will prepare our students for the New Pacific Century. The introduction of the APIS Hawaii campus, for example, is our pioneering attempt to bring the classroom out to the world. Like the hibiscus flower, APIS will continue to reinvent itself to achieve its mission.