Independence starts year with island theme Independence starts year with island theme Photo provided by MELANIE JOHNSTON -- Independence Elementary Principal Lisa Raiford welcomes Samyah Gill, a first grader in Gail Caves' class, with an 'aloha' and a lei on Aug. 12, the first day of school. Advocate staff report Aug. 29, 2013 Comments Independence Elementary School started Aug. 12 with a festive island theme. Since Independence uses the FISH Philosophy to support positive behavior, the theme incorporates fish from many islands. Each student at the school received an “aloha” and a lei. During the summer, teachers and staff members conducted a meet-and-greet luau to kick off this year’s theme. The theme will continue throughout the year as classes try to earn the Big Kahuna award. The classrooms will be nominated by staff members for the FISH philosophy, which includes four principles: be there, participate, choose a positive attitude, and make someone’s day.