What is ‘Ohana

Hello friends,

When my daughters Malia entered Harvard Westlake in 2018, through meeting parents at the State of the School, grade parties, party books, volunteering, attending coffees, and athletic events, our family felt like we belonged.

My daughter Kailani entered 7th grade in 2020, at the height of COVID and it was a difficult transition for not only her but for our entire family as well.

It felt especially trying for her to feel like she belonged at a new school where you could only peer at your friends through a 1024 x 768 screen.

Now that Malia and Kailani and all our wonderful kids are back in school, we are over the moon.

Joyful and exuberant.

Excited and grateful — for a community that has embraced them.

From convocation and conversations, Harvard-Westlake made them feel like they belong.

And I believe that’s one desire we all share.

From Studio City to Santa Monica,
each of us,
no matter what revenue or race,
our goal or gender, at our very core,
we long to be valued,
needed, understood,
to belong.

We long to have deep connections that leave us feeling more alive and human.

The greatest gift we can give each other is the feeling of belonging and being a part of something bigger than ourselves.

What is ‘Ohana?

‘Ohana means family.
It means love, it means we belong.

‘Ohana is about “We” not “Me”

It’s about bringing people together.

The feeling that no matter who you are, we are here for you, to celebrate, support, and invigorate you in your amazing journey as a Harvard-Westlake parent, student, faculty, or alumni.

Harvard-Westlake is your ‘Ohana, your family.

You belong.
We belong.

We would love for you to join our ‘Ohana!  Please email me to join or sign up for our newsletter!

E komo mai | You are always welcome.


Kalika, Rodney, Malia & Kailani Yap
Parents ’24, ’26