Sister Edna Louise DeManche, a Sacred Heart’s sister and giant in Hawai‘i’s science education community, died this year at the age of 96. Her love of both religion and science, and her ability to bridge the two, would be one of the defining themes of her life. Sister Edna entered the Maryknoll convent in New York in 1934, and she took her final vows and completed her bachelor’s of science degree in zoology in 1940. She came to Hawai‘i that same year to teach at Maryknoll School. Over the next six decades she contributed to science education in Hawai‘i as a teacher, a curriculum developer, a leader in the Hawaiian Academy of Science where she served as executive secretary and director of the annual Marine Symposium, and associate superintendent of the Catholic School Department. Sister Edna worked as a curriculum developer at CRDG from 1967 until 1980 and is most well known as the author of the Hawai‘i Nature Study program and for her contributions to CRDG’s signature middle school science program Foundational Approaches in Science Teaching (FAST).
Longtime science educator Will University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa College of Education (COE) Professor Will Kyselka passed away on July 1, 2012. With the COE for more than 30 years, Kyselka devoted his career to teaching, mentoring, and developing curriculum. A revered geology and astronomy expert, he co-authored the Foundational Approaches in Science Teaching program that is internationally recognized as an exemplary middle school science program. Kyselka, who came to Hawai‘i a few years after graduating from the University of Michigan with BS and MS degrees in geology and an MA in education, was on the science education faculty in the COE and joined the Curriculum Research & Development Group (CRDG) when it was formed in the late 1960s. In 1966, he was appointed an associate in astronomy at the Bishop Museum where he conducted lectures at the planetarium. His life-long friendship with Nainoa Thompson would begin there. In An Ocean Mind, Kyselka recorded the problem-solving and learning process that Thompson went through in learning to non-instrument navigation. Kyselka and his wife, Lee, were on the escort vessel Ishka that accompanied Hōkūle‘a on its 1980 maiden voyage, and Will was on board the Hōkūle‘a during part of its 1986 Voyage of Discovery. In a Polynesian Voyage Society (PVS) announcement about Kyselka’s passing, Thompson said, “He has been one of the most important and crucial teachers that we have had in the whole 37-year journey of rediscovering our voyaging knowledge.”
Leila (Lee) Kyselka died this year at the age of 95 following a lifetime spent in social service and education. She moved to Hawai‘i from Oregon in the mid-1960s where she worked on teen programs at the Windward and Nu‘uanu YMCAs. She came to CRDG later in her career as director of the Summer Science program. She also lectured in the Women in Transition program at Leeward and Windward Community Colleges. She became involved in the Polynesian Voyaging Society along with her husband Will, and sailed on the escort vessel for the Hokule‘ a’s 1980 voyage to Tahiti.