Part of our 'Ohana: Karyn Hopper
Karyn Hopper has a long history with Hanalani Schools – she’s been with us for 24 years, which is why she has a rich connection to our faculty and students. She started first as an English teacher in 1994 and moved on to teach a variety of classes: history, speech and drama. With her background in education, deep-rooted Christian faith and passion for teaching students, it was clear from the start that she was a perfect addition to Hanalani Schools.
In her first year, she shared her love for the stage by launching Hanalani’s first drama program. Today, her younger sister Kristen Eoute has taken over as drama teacher. “She is a way better director than I am – she does an amazing job. The program has truly blossomed under her direction,” says Karyn.
While at Hanalani, Karyn met her husband Billy Hopper, who was a fellow teacher at the time. After having children, Karyn moved away from teaching to take on a part-time job in the school’s administration office. “This gave me the flexibility to work from home and raise my kids,” says Karyn. Now that all four of her children are attending Hanalani Schools, she works full-time as an administrative associate, helping teachers track their professional development by setting up on-campus training and workshops.
She continues to be heavily involved with the school by being a host for the International Student program. She’s welcomed two international students already: Kiara, a student from Japan, is currently at her home, and Ying Ying from China stayed with Karyn for three years. “Ying Ying really became part of our family, so seeing her go was a little sad for us,” says Karyn. “She really blossomed here and did great in school.”
Karyn is also helping Hanalani by directing the Christmas program every year. “The most recent play was called ‘Star Journey’ and depicted the birth of Christ through the perspective of the stars,” says Karyn. “I love seeing our students grow and develop in their talents. What’s really fun is that moment where the students gets to finally be on the stage, have their mics and wear their costumes. They’re so excited about it.”
Looking back on the past 24 years at Hanalani Schools, Karyn is impressed with the growth of both the campus and its programs. “The structure of the campus has grown a lot over the years,” says Karyn. “As far as education, I really appreciate the administration’s focus on balance – taking and implementing new ideas, but also keeping the old ideas. Especially through Mark Sugimoto, he’s really spearheaded education especially with STEAM school to be on top of it. That balance can be really tricky.”
As a parent of Hanalani students, Karyn appreciates the school’s extracurricular activities and Christian values. “One of the great things about having multiple kids is that I know they’re all together on campus - they’re in one place,” says Karyn. “I know our teachers and I know their heart for the students. It makes me feel comfortable about my kids being here and learning from them.”