Big Island State Champs Heading to Washington D.C. – Seeking Sponsor

Hawaii’s defending girls basketball state champs are headed to Washington D.C.

WildcatsThe Konawaena Wildcats, six-time state champions in the last dozen years, are one of 48 teams across the nation that have been invited to participate in the prestigious Title IX Tournament  and Conference to be held Dec. 27-30 at the D.C. Armory  in our nation’s capital.

This three-day, four-bracket tournament widens opportunities for female student-athletes as teams with highly recruited players compete against local talent before a wide range of coaches and scouts seeking to award scholarships  — scholarships made possible because of the passage of Title IX.

Konawaena returns a strong lineup of six returnees who were part of the team that defeated Lahainaluna of Maui 51-41 to win the Hawaii High School Athletic Association state tournament in March. The wildcats feature Chanelle Molina, the state’s top player and the most recruited girls basketball player in Hawaii high school history.

Also returning are starters Mercedes “Ihi” Victor, Mikayla Tablit, and sisters Celena Molina and Cherilyn Molina. They are joined by returnee Mahie Kaawa and newcomer Jenny Fong. The Wildcats, who were ranked 20th in the nation last year, are favored to repeat as state champions in 2015.

While participating in the tournament and conference in D.C., the team will also tour important institutions, monuments and sites within the District of Columbia. The event is sponsored by the Sankofa Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising the bar of expectations for girls, particularly as scholar-athletes. It also seeks to raise the expectations of the systems and communities that support them.

The team is seeking a title sponsor for this event in return for any type of marketing opportunities for the sponsor as amateur athletics will allow. If a title sponsor cannot be identified, the committee hopes to seek smaller donations by businesses and individuals who have supported the program in the past and see the value of the Konawaena girls basketball program. Many of Coach Bobbie Awa’s players have had the opportunity to receive college educations, and some of them have returned to Kona and Hawaii and become role models to new generations of scholar athletes.

The companion conference will allow participants to learn about Title IX, but more importantly. the girls will be empowered to self advocate in the area of sports, STEM careers, leadership, public speaking, financial literacy, citizenship and civics.

“This experience will last a life time for some of our girls,” said Awa. “We’ve been invited to other good tournaments, but this is an opportunity for them to learn about Title IX, where their opportunities came from.”

A committee has been formed by Athletic Director Bill Trumbo to come up with donations to defray the cost of this trip for the team and coaches. This committee is made up of Trumbo, head coach Awa and Bobby Command, Konawaena booster and deputy planning director for the County of Hawaii. Separate travel packages will also be available for basketball fans who would like to accompany the team to Washington D.C.

“The success at Konawaena doesn’t just happen,” said Trumbo. “It takes the passion and commitment of someone like Coach Awa. I see this trip as recognition for all her years of  building this program.”

There is reason to believe that the Kona girls have a shot at faring well in this tournament. The 2014 version of the Wildcats gained national prominence during the Iolani Classic by defeating No. 23-ranked Miramonte 63-62 and No.  1-seeded Riverdale Baptist (Md.) 49-41, before falling to St. Mary’s of California 68-59 in what would be the team’s only loss of the season. The Wildcats finished 31-1 and ranked 23rd in the nation.

“This is just like the movie ‘Hoosiers,'” said Command. “This is a small team from a tiny school in a far off corner of an isolated state traveling to the big city miles to play some of the top teams in the nation.”

Konawaena High School is a firm supporter of equal opportunities for female scholar athletes, which were made possible by the 1972 passage of Title IX co-authored and introduced by Sen. Birch Bayh (Ind.) and Hawaii Rep. Patsy Takemoto Mink, the first Asian-American woman to serve in Congress.

Now known as the Patsy Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act, it states, in part, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”

Mary Poppins at the Hilo Palace Theater

My son will be starring as “Michael” in the the Palace Theater Production of the 14th Annual Fall Musical “Mary Poppins”.
Mary Poppins PosterTickets are $15.00 in advance or $20 the day of the shows.

Seven Hawaii Schools to Offer Free Meals to All Students

This school year, the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) will implement a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) pilot program this school year at seven public schools, which will allow all students at those schools to receive free meal service.

Free Lunch

The program, called the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), allows a school district, a group of schools or a single school to serve free meals to everyone even if they do not qualify for the free or reduced lunch reimbursement.

The CEP program has been adopted by jurisdictions around the country. “One major factor in the future of the program is the high cost of a meal in Hawaii compared with the much lower rates around the country,” stated Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We’re grateful for this opportunity to participate in this pilot to benefit families in need.”

The schools participating in the pilot program are:

To qualify for CEP, a district, grouping or school must have a minimum of 40 percent or more of its students eligible for free or reduced meals through the National School Lunch Program.

Currently HIDOE pays an average of $5.50 a meal (including food costs, labor, utilities, etc.). The USDA reimburses the state $3.85 for students who qualify for a free meal and $0.40 for those paying for a meal. HIDOE charges $2.50 for elementary school lunch for a total of $2.90 in recouped cost for the state.​

Under the program, all students in a CEP school would qualify for the higher $3.85 reimbursement. While the seven pilot schools will no longer be collecting meal monies and ensuring accounts have sufficient funds, families will be required to provide information for data collection.

“The schools were chosen so that the Department can analyze how families and students in a single island community such as Molokai, respond to the program while also giving officials the chance to study the impact of individual schools in separate and distinct districts on Oahu and Hawaii Island,” Office of School Facilities and Support Services Assistant Superintendent Dann Carlson said.

For more information about CEP visit: http://bit.ly/HawaiiCEP

 

This Weekend – BISAC Summer Jam 2015

The Big Island Substance Abuse Council is inviting the public to come out to celebrate the fun-filled days of summer at its Summer Jam 2015 on Saturday July 25, 2015 at Waiākea High School from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.

This year’s entertainment line up features New Zealand pop sensation Pieter T and Hawaiʻi’s own Nesian N.I.N.E.

Pieter T

Pieter T

Pieter T has been steadily climbing up the New Zealand radio charts since his days with the musical group, Boyband. In 2009 Pieter T debuted as a solo artist with the single “Cold Nights” followed by the singles, “Stay With Me”, “Can’t Stop Loving You” and “Something Else”, which peaked at number six on the NZ Radio Charts. His latest release is the single “Business” featuring PNC and Dei Hamo off his debut album “Life”.

Nesian N.I.N.E. (Natives Inna New Era)

Nesian N.I.N.E. (Natives Inna New Era)

Island Reggae Music group Nesian N.I.N.E. (Natives Inna New Era) hit the charts in 2009 with their Hōkū-nominated album “Press Play,” and has been going strong ever since, appearing with BoyZ II Men, Klymaxx, El Debarge and others.

Other featured artists in the line up include, 2014 Brown Bags to Stardom winners One Rhythm 808, Beyond Paradise, and Kolea.

“It’s really very exciting to once again have so many talented artists coming to play at the Summer Jam,” said BISAC CEO Dr. Hannah Preston-Pita.

This year’s event will also feature a National Qualifier Strongman Competition, ‘ono food and keiki crafts and activities including the Zoo Choo, Bouncy Houses, Human Hamster Ball, Laser Tag, Bungee Run and a Sticky Wall. Keiki ride wristbands purchased online are 50% off. Entry is a $2 suggested donation.

All funds raised above the cost of producing the event go towards BISAC’s adult and school-based Poʻokela Vocational program, Mom and Babies program, and Keiki School Based Services.

For more information about BISAC’s Summer Jam go to www.summerjamhawaii.com.

 

Department of Education Updates Income Qualifications for Free and Reduced Lunch

The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) is announcing its policy update for free and reduced-price meals for children unable to pay the full price of meals served under the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs for the 2015-16 school year. Copies of the policy are available at public schools. Children from households with income at or below the following levels are eligible for free or reduced-price meals: 

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Application forms are being sent to all homes with a letter to parents or guardians. To apply for free or reduced-price meals, households should fill out one application and return it to the school where the child is enrolled or complete an online application via ezmealapp.com. Applications for the current school year (2015-16) are now being accepted. The application information will be used to determine eligibility and may be verified at any time during the school year by the school or other program officials.

For DOE officials to determine eligibility, households receiving SNAP or TANF must list the child’s name, date of birth, grade, school code and their SNAP or TANF case number and the signature and name of an adult household member. Households not receiving SNAP or TANF must list: 1) the names of everyone in the household; 2) the amount of income received by each person, how often the income is received and the source of the income; 3) the name and social security number of either parent/guardian who is the primary wage earner or the adult household member who signs the form or the word “none” if neither adult household member has a social security number; and 4) the signature of an adult household member.

Applications may be submitted at any time during the year. View our program page here​.

Under the provisions of the free and reduced-price policy, the DOE will review applications and determine eligibility. Parents or guardians dissatisfied with the ruling of the official may wish to discuss the decision with the reviewing official on an informal basis. Parents wishing to make a formal appeal may make a request for a hearing on the decision in writing to:

Glenna Owens, SFA Director, 1106 Koko Head Avenue, Honolulu, HI 96816
Phone Number: (808) 733-8414 or toll-free 1-800-441-4845.

In certain cases foster children are also eligible for school meal benefits. If a household has foster children living with them and wishes to apply for them, the household should contact the school for more information.

The information provided by the household is confidential and will be used only for purposes of determining eligibility and verifying data.

In accordance with federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability. This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

 

Yagi Summer Hoops Camp Still Has Openings – Late Registration Fee Waived

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Parks and Recreation still has openings for its 3rd Annual Jimmy Yagi Summer Hoops Camp and has waived the late registration fee for the camp set for July 21-24 in Hilo.

Can you find my son in a previous camp picture?

Can you find my son in a previous camp picture?

Parents may still take advantage of the discounted early entry fee of $60 per child. All participants will receive a camp shirt and group picture.

Registration forms are available at the Department’s Recreation Office located within Aunty Sally Kaleohano’s Lu‘au Hale at 799 Pi‘ilani Street in Hilo and online at http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/parks-and-recreation/. Completed forms should be submitted at the Recreation Office or the Department’s main office at Suite 6 within Aupuni Center. Please make checks payable to the County Director of Finance and include the note “Jimmy Yagi Summer Hoops Camp.”

Open to boys and girls 9 to 17 years old, the Jimmy Yagi Summer Hoops Camp is named in honor of the legendary former University of Hawai‘i at Hilo basketball coach who helped guide the Vulcans-Hawai‘i Basketball School for 37 years. It will be held at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium and the Pana‘ewa Covered Play Courts.

UH-Hilo women’s basketball coach David Kaneshiro will share his basketball expertise by serving as lead clinician for the four-day camp. Assisting Kaneshiro will be Daphne Honma, Honoka‘a High School girls basketball coach and a former Division II coach of the year. Additional basketball coaches have volunteered to serve as camp clinicians.

Campers will receive personalized instruction as they practice agility, ball-handling and other basketball drills each morning before breaking for lunch. Players will return to showcase their skills by competing in games expected to last until about 3:30 p.m. each day.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 961-8311 or jarmstrong@hawaiicounty.gov.

17-Year-Old Hilo Girl Goes Missing… Again

Editors Note – This is the second time this person has gone missing.  Click here for first time: http://damontucker.com/2015/03/27/big-island-police-searching-for-missing-17-year-old-hilo-girl/

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 17-year-old Hilo girl who was reported missing.

Makaala  Pea

Makaala Pea

Makaala Pea was last seen in Hilo on April 7. She is described as 5-foot-6, 130 pounds with brown eyes and black shoulder-length hair.

Police ask anyone with information on her whereabouts to call the Police department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

New Law Helps Children Born With Facial Abnormalities

The measure signed into law today by Governor Ige dramatically impacts the lives of several dozen Hawaii families that include children born with cleft palates or other facial abnormalities.

Anya Maga with Governor Ige and Reps. Gregg Takayama (bill introducer), Della Au Belatti, and Henry Aquino.

Anya Maga with Governor Ige and Reps. Gregg Takayama (bill introducer), Della Au Belatti, and Henry Aquino.

In Hawaii, approximately one in every 500 babies is born with what is called an “orofacial anomaly.”  For example, between 2007 and 2012, 61 babies were born with a cleft lip or palate and 83 were born with other craniofacial defects at the Kapiolani Medical Center.

Rep. Della Au Belatti, House Health Committee Chair, said it’s crucial to correct these defects, not just for visual appearance, but because this condition affects basic functions such as eating, chewing, speech and breathing.  The complicated treatment to correct these kinds of birth defects usually requires multiple surgeries ranging from about $5,700 to $20,000 or more.

House Bill 174, introduced by Rep. Gregg Takayama (D-Pearl City, Waimalu, Pacific Palisades), requires health insurers to cover such orthodontic treatment, as do 16 other states.

“For families whose children have a cleft lip and palate, the range of medical, dental and other services can exceed $100,000 from birth until late adolescence,” testified Eileen Matsumoto, a registered nurse for more than 35 years.

The cost of reconstructive surgery is covered by medical insurance but not the full cost of the medically necessary orthodontic procedures required to prepare for these surgeries, which usually amount to more than $10,000 over a child’s lifetime.

These treatment costs are already fully covered by Med-QUEST for poor families but not by private health insurers for Hawaii’s working families.

The State Legislative Auditor reports the cost to all policyholders would be minimal – probably increasing premiums by two cents to four cents per member per month, based on the experiences of California and Massachusetts.

The measure has been called “Anya’s Law” after one of its active supporters, 6-year-old Anya Maga, who testified for the measure along with her parents, who are residents of East Honolulu.

UH Hilo Awards Chancellor’s Scholarships to 13 High School Students

Thirteen students from public and private high schools in Hawaiʻi have been awarded the prestigious Chancellor’s Scholarship by the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo.

UH Hilo Moniker
The award, valued in excess of $26,500, covers four years of tuition for students graduating from a Hawaiʻi high school who earned either a GPA of at least 3.5, a combined 1800 SAT (reading, writing, math) or a composite score of 27 on the ACT while demonstrating leadership and/or community service.

All Chancellor Scholars are required to enroll as full-time students and earn a minimum of 24 credits each academic year. They must also maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.25 and participate in leadership activities and/or community services with other Chancellor Scholars.

The 2015 Chancellor Scholarship recipients and their respective high schools include:

  • Nicole Antonio (Waiakea High)
  • Harley Broyles (Waimea High)
  • Pomaika`i Cathcart (Kamehameha – Maui)
  • Jasmine Curiel (Hanalani Schools)
  • Jon Ehrenberg (West Hawaii Explorations Academy)
  • Sarah Ferguson (Leilehua High)
  • Trent Furuta (Mililani High)
  • Courtney Ip (Waiakea High)
  • Cody Kojima (Waiakea High)
  • Kaydee Rapozo (Waiakea High)
  • Melia Takakusagi (Waimea High)
  • Brandon Tomota (Waiakea High)
  • Amirah Waite (Roosevelt High)

Pahoa Student Wins Prestigious Foodland Scholarship

Yesterday, at the Hawaii Prince Hotel in Waikiki, Foodland Hawaii honored its 2015 recipients of the “Shop for Higher Education Scholarships”.

Big Island Recipients of the Foodbank Shop for Higher Education Scholarships.

Big Island Recipients of the Foodbank Shop for Higher Education Scholarships.

Camry Isabel from Pahoa High School was a recipient earning a scholarship in the amount of $2000. She has been accepted to attend the University of Hawaii-Hilo (UHH) campus where she plans to major in Nursing. Her goal is to become a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner.

Camry Isabel and Foodland CEO Jenny Wai

Camry Isabel and Foodland CEO Jenai Wall

Since moving to Pahoa High in November, Isabel has been inducted into the National Honor Society and will be graduating from Pahoa with Magna Cum Laude honors. In addition to maintaining a 4.0 GPA, she also works part-time and takes credits at Hawaii Community College.

Camry is the daughter of Debra and Slade Isabel from Pahoa.

Construction Resumes On $22.3 Million Pahoa District Park

Fulfilling the County of Hawai‘i’s pledge to expand healthy recreational opportunities for the families of Lower Puna, construction on the $22.3 million Pāhoa District Park has resumed.

Pahoa Park RenderingPark construction was paused in 2014 due to a rapidly advancing lava flow threatening Pāhoa. After the lava flow threat level was downgraded, and after consultation with the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and Hawai‘i County Civil Defense, the park project was given the green light to resume.

“Our commitment to the families of Puna remains strong,” said Mayor Billy Kenoi. “One of our priorities has always been to create more safe places for our kids to stay active and healthy. In collaboration with our Hawai‘i County Council, we are pleased to move forward with this project that will provide access to positive recreation for Hawai‘i Island’s fastest-growing communities.”

When complete, this 29-acre first phase of the Pāhoa District Park will include a covered play court building, two baseball fields, two multipurpose fields, a playground, concession building, comfort station, accessible walkways, and ample parking. These features will complement Pāhoa’s existing recreational facilities that include the Pāhoa Community Aquatic Center, Pāhoa Neighborhood Facility, and Pāhoa Skate Park.

The park is also adjacent to the Pāhoa Senior Center, which reverted to its previous use as a fire station during the lava flow threat. That facility is currently being converted back into a senior center, housing senior activities for kūpuna in Lower Puna.

The Puna Community Development Plan, adopted by the Hawai‘i County Council in 2008, identified the need for a district park in Lower Puna. A comprehensive planning process involving the community, the County, and project designers began in 2012 to ensure these new facilities reflect the recreational needs of Puna’s residents.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at (808) 961-8311 or jarmstrong@hawaiicounty.gov.

North Hawaii Students Learn Bike Safety from PATH and NHCH

Over the past three months, staff from North Hawaii Community Hospital’s (NHCH) Trauma Program have partnered with Peoples Advocacy for Trails Hawaii (PATH) to provide free bicycle training and safety education to more than 250 fourth grade students at Kohala Elementary School, Honokaa Elementary School, Kanu o ka ‘Aina New Century Public Charter School and Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School.

Path kids

“Partnering with PATH offered an ideal opportunity to provide injury prevention and safety education to North Hawaii students,” says Kimberly Bastien, RN and NHCH Trauma Program Manager. “While PATH taught students proper riding techniques and skills through their Bike Ed program, we provided bicycle safety education and emphasized the importance of wearing a helmet.” Each participating student was properly fitted with a free multi-sport safety helmet, provided by the hospital’s Trauma Team. “Students were thrilled once they learned the brand new helmet was theirs to keep. It made bike education more interesting and fun for them.”

Tina Clothier, Executive Director with PATH added, “We are delighted to partner with North Hawaii Community Hospital’s Trauma Program in our mutual quest to keep North Kohala youth safe while they explore the joys of bike riding. The participants are excited about receiving their own brand new helmets and wear them with pride. Having the NHCH Trauma Program as our partner had raised the bar for our ever popular Bike Ed classes.”

PATH is a non-profit bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organization dedicated to safely connecting the people and places on Hawaii Island with pathways and bikeways. PATH’s Bike Ed program is a bicycle skills program offered to all Big Island schools and youth clubs. During this three-day bicycle program, students learn important bicycle and safety skills, including: the fundamentals of traffic and road safety, hand signals, proper bicycle clothing, as well as how to navigate an intersection, to yield and to ride in control with others.

“Today, children are riding bicycles, scooters, skate boards and other ride-on vehicles,” said Bastien. “Wearing a helmet is crucial to injury prevention and results in fewer injuries in our emergency room.   Not only do helmets reduce the risk of bicycle-related head injury by 80 percent, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but Hawaii State law requires kids younger than 16 years of age wear a helmet. We understand many families may not have the means to purchase a helmet; that’s why we’re doing our part to help keep our keiki safe.”

NHCH’s Trauma Team will offer free helmets to children ages 3 to 12 at the 16th Annual Waimea Healthy Keiki Fest on Saturday, April 18th from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Parker Ranch Center in Waimea. NHCH was designated as a Level III Trauma Center in 2013, which allows the hospital to treat injured patients that would otherwise be diverted to trauma centers located over an hour away. The mission of NHCH’s Trauma Program is to continually improve and optimize the care provided for injured patients through an evolving multidisciplinary performance improvement committee, data collection, injury prevention, community outreach and education. For additional information about the hospital’s Trauma Program, please contact Kimberly Bastien, RN and Trauma Program Manager, at 808-881-4820 or Kimberly.Bastien@NHCH.com.

Hawaii Department of Education Releases Annual Financial Audit

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) today released its Annual Financial Audit for the 2014 fiscal year (FY 2014) which shows the Department is doing a better job at keeping its finances in order.

Click to view the report

Click to view the report

The independent report analyzed financial statements of the public school system, including operating, capital improvement and federal funds. The DOE’s FY 2014 audit was submitted last month to the Federal Audit Clearinghouse, which operates on behalf of the Office of Management and Budget.

The DOE’s financial audit provides an objective third-party examination of the presentation of the Department’s financial statements for the most recent fiscal year, coordinated by the State of Hawaii’s Office of the Auditor​.​The DOE elects to maintain a separate, independent audit, rather than being incorporated with a single State of Hawaii audit.

“Annual independent audits are crucial to ensure taxpayers’ funds are being monitored and maximized to support teaching and learning in the most efficient way,” said DOE Senior Assistant Superintendent and Chief Financial Officer Amy Kunz. “The findings validate our financial controls and provide guidance for improvement in some areas.”

The 65-page audit report published by Honolulu-based N&K CPA Inc. reviewed the DOE’s $1.494 billion general fund appropriation for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014. It concluded internal controls examined are appropriately structured to prevent or detect financial misstatements, and found the DOE to be in compliance with requirements of major federal programs.

Auditors noted “opportunities for strengthening internal controls and operating efficiency.” Kunz says the Office of Fiscal Service has already moved to address the recommendations as outlined in the findings, including:

  • ​Adjusted the calculation of vacation and sick leave accrual for a small portion of  teachers to align with the correct fiscal year.
  • Strengthened accounting procedures for new federal grant payments to ensure  accurate reporting.

During the last four years, the DOE has also increased its internal audits to identify areas in need of improved controls. This move aligns with the DOE/Board of Education joint Strategic Plan​, which calls for effective organizational,​​ financial, human, and community resources in support of student success.

All Students to Return to Schools Affected by Puna Lava Flow

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) today announced students in lower Puna who were reassigned in October 2014 due to the threat of a lava flow will be returning to their original school. Keonepoko Elementary will welcome back students to its campus in Hawaiian Beaches and all public school students in the Kea’au, Ka’u, Pahoa (KKP) complex area will start the 2015-16 school year in their geographically determined schools.

Pahoa High and Intermediate

“We realize that some families whose students were reassigned to another school may not want to return to their geographically determined school,” stated Chad Farias, KKP complex area superintendent. “However, those reassignments were made based on the pending lava flow. Now that the lava has been determined no longer a threat to KKP, students must go back to the school they came from for their education.”

DOE officials added that families may apply for Geographic Exceptions (GE) and follow the guidelines under Chapter 13 should they decide to make a change. KKP schools that experienced a shift in students and staff include: Pahoa Elementary, Pahoa High & Intermediate, Kea’au Elementary, Kea’au Middle, Kea’au High, Keonepoko Elementary, and Mountain View Elementary.

“The Department is currently evaluating staffing needs and determining the appropriate processes to return the maximum number of employees to their pre-lava flow schools,” said Barbara Krieg, the DOE’s assistant superintendent for the Office of Human Resources. “There are a lot of details to be worked out and we appreciate the patience and understanding of our staff during this process.”

Decisions affecting employees will be made in consultation with the Hawaii State Teachers Association, Hawaii Government Employees Association and the United Public Workers union. Information will be distributed to employees once details are finalized.

Kamehameha Schools Announces Four New Executives

Kamehameha Schools CEO Jack Wong today named four new leaders who will join his executive team in the next few weeks.
Kamehameha SchoolsEach brings strategic and innovative thinking to the leadership team, as well as substantial insight and career experience with Kamehameha’s educational mission and Native Hawaiian and Christian foundations.

The new leaders named today are: Kāʻeo Duarte, Vice President of Community Engagement and Resources; Darrel R. Hoke, Executive Vice President of Administration; Kevin N. Cockett, Vice President of Communications and Chief Communications Officer; and Lauren S. Nahme, Vice President of Strategy and Innovation.

“I am excited about how these new leaders will help transform the work we do, how we collaborate with others, and help drive sustainable impacts for improved Native Hawaiian educational success,” said Wong. “They all have proven leadership abilities, solid values, integrity and passion for our mission, and they will enhance the already resilient and dynamic leadership team we have in place.”

Kā‘eo Duarte, a 10-year KS employee, is promoted to Vice President of Community Engagement and Resources, a new executive position that demonstrates Kamehameha’s commitment to a community-based approach, which includes responding collaboratively to the specific needs of communities.

“The Community Engagement group is probably the most “unique and new” group in KS’ new organizational structure, but its purpose is an old one,” explained Duarte. “It is about engaging and elevating people and place . . . kanaka and ʻāina, and I am the first to admit we have a lot to figure out and even more to do, but I am committed to rolling up my sleeves and working hard.”

Duarte will oversee management of KS resources in nine regions statewide, plus agriculture and conservation land programs, community resource centers and sustainability initiatives. Last year, Duarte was named Senior Director, West Hawaiʻi Region, charged with directing the combined endowment and education efforts in the region for more effective and efficient impact. Duarte has a Ph.D. in environmental engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a B.S.E. in civil and geological engineering from Princeton University.

Kevin N. Cockett will join Kamehameha Schools in June 2015 as Vice President of Communications and Chief Communications Officer. He is a 23-year veteran of the communications profession, with a strong blend of local and national experience in both corporate and agency settings. Cockett, a 1984 KS graduate, has operated his own communications business since 2011, and was previously a Senior VP at Communications Pacific, Inc., and in public relations for Best Buy Co., Inc.

“It’s a privilege to serve Kamehameha Schools in this capacity,” said Cockett. “I’m excited to join the organization at a time that feels like the dawn of a new era and to work alongside a group of such committed teams and individuals.”

Wong also named Darrel R. Hoke as Executive Vice President of Administration, affirming his extensive knowledge and a deep understanding of how KS’ support infrastructure and processes must enable KS to be a high-performing, mission-driven organization.  “I’m looking forward to moving all groups towards the strategic goal of operating as a high performing Native Hawaiian Organization,” said Hoke, “and building on the foundation established over the years, to ensure that KS is successful in delivering on our Strategic Plan targets in 2020.”

Hoke, a CPA and KS’ Internal Audit director since 2002, brings 27-years of experience in audit, accounting and finance to his new position. He graduated from Seattle University with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting, Magna Cum Laude. He will oversee Human Resources, Information Technology, Education Operations and Facilities Development and Support.

Lauren S. Nahme, previously director of Strategic Planning and Implementation, has been named Vice President of Strategy and Innovation. “Lauren brings seasoned expertise and a clear understanding of KS’ visioning and strategic planning processes to the executive team,” confirmed Wong. “She steps into this role already high up on the learning curve and with the ability and confidence to lead our current strategic planning efforts.”

Nahme had an extensive background in finance and banking when she joined KS in 2006 as Controller. In 2010, she transferred to Strategic Planning and Implementation, and has led KS’ planning efforts for SP2020. Nahme is a graduate of the University of Hawaiʻi-Mānoa with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. “It has been an intense but rewarding experience for our planning team to work with Trustees, Jack and his leaders across the organization to develop KS’ path to 2020,” Nahme explained. “Our direction is clear, commitment is strong, and momentum is building to spur us forward.”

Today’s announcement marks the completion of the first part of Wong’s November 2014 announcement that he would reorganize and streamline his leadership structure to reaffirm education as the primary focus of Kamehameha Schools, and to strengthen the organization’s ability to execute its Strategic Plan 2020.

Kamehameha Schools’ executive structure now includes seven executives reporting directly to CEO Wong: Education, Finance, Administration, Community Engagement and Resources, Communications, Legal, and Strategic Planning and Innovation. Wong expects to name the Executive Vice Presidents for Education and Finance in the next few months.

Vice president profiles:

OHA Provides Funding to Support Na Pua No`eau

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is providing a total of $896,232 to the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Na Pua No`eau program, the Center for Gifted and Talented Native Hawaiian Children.

Na Pua No`eau

Na Pua No`eau provides Native Hawaiian students Kindergarten through college with learning opportunities as a University of Hawaiʻi Center. Students have direct access to UH facilities and faculty where they are guided and supported in their educational and career goals. Na Pua No`eau has staff and offices at the University’s campuses on O`ahu, Kaua`i, Maui, Lana`i, Moloka`i, and Hawaiʻi Island.

In 2015, Na Pua No‘eau celebrates its 25th anniversary. Throughout the years, the Center has supported thousands of students in their educational and career goals. In Fall 2013, graduates made up 9% of the Native Hawaiian students enrolled at UH. In Spring 2013, Na Pua No`eau made up 13% of the Native Hawaiian students who graduated from UH.

Along with the enrollment and graduation of Native Hawaiian students, Na Pua No`eau is also committed to creating opportunities and supporting Native Hawaiian students in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and health career pathways. In Fall 2013, Na Pua No`eau students made up 11% of the Native Hawaiian students enrolled in STEM fields and 9% of the Native Hawaiian students enrolled in health fields in the UH System.

For information or registration for Na Pua No‘eau, contact representatives on the respective campuses: UH Hilo: (808) 974-7678; UH Manoa: (808) 956-9410; Kaua`i Community College: (808) 241-8387; UH Maui College: (808) 984-3364; Moloka`i Education Center: (808) 553-9993; Lana`i High and Elementary School: (808) 565-9100; University Center West Hawaiʻi: (808) 322-4867.

HPCSN Announces 4th Annual Hawaii Charter School Awardees

Hawaii Public Charter School Network (HPCSN) will honor charter schools and leaders at the 2014-2015 Hawaii Charter Schools Awards, taking place Thursday, May 14, 2015 at the Pomaikai Ballrooms at Dole Cannery from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Today, HPCSN announced a list of awardees, including:

voyager PCS

Charter School of the Year

  • Voyager Public Charter School, Honolulu, Oahu

Most Improved Charter School

  • Innovations New Century Public Charter Schools, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

Creating New Best Practices

  • West Hawaii Explorations Academy, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
  • Kawaikini Public Charter School, Lihue, Kauai

Circle of Teaching Excellence

  • Mary Quijano, Na Wai Ola Public Charter School, Mountain View, Hawaii
  • Heather Nakakura, West Hawaii Explorations Academy, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
  • Kananinohea Makaimoku, Ke Kula o Nawahiokalaniopuu Iki Laboratory Public Charter School, Hilo, Hawai‘i

Governing Board Member of the Year

  • Philip Whitesell, PhD, Lanikai Elementary School, Kailua, Oahu

Charter Leader of the Year

  • Jennifer Hiro, Innovations New Century Public Charter Schools, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

“We look forward to celebrating the innovation and achievement that happens every in charter classrooms across Hawaii,” said Lynn Finnegan, Executive Director of the Hawaii Public Charter Schools Network.

“This year’s theme, ‘Changing the Education Paradigm,” encompasses what charter schools are all about.  Despite many challenges, charter schools are doing more with less and delivering effective models of education.”

“Through our advocacy and support services, HPCSN works to help schools navigate these challenges, especially those unique to charter schooling in Hawaii, so that charter schools can focus on what they do best, educating students,” Finnegan added.

All awardees above as well as Legislators of the Year and Community Partner of the Year (yet to be selected) will be honored at the 4th Annual Hawaii Charter Schools Awards dinner.  The dinner is open to the public and tickets can be purchased by phone at 808-380-6403 or online at http://2015hawaiicharterschoolsawards.eventbrite.com/.

Keonepoko Elementary School to Reopen – Lava No Longer Immediate Threat

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) will begin the planning process to reopen Keonepoko Elementary School in Hawaiian Beaches now that lava is no longer an immediate threat to the area. The planning will also include addressing all of the adjustments made in October 2014 that affected 1,700 students and 300 employees.

Keonepoko

“Many families were affected by our contingency plans to safeguard access to education and we appreciate their cooperation and understanding through all of it,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We now have a ton of details to work out before making any official announcement on dates or assignments, however it is important to let families and staff know where we stand. The decision to reopen Keonepoko Elementary extends beyond just the facility. We want to be very thoughtful about our approach.”

The decisions affecting employees will be made in consultation with the Hawaii State Teachers Association, Hawaii Government Employees Association and the United Public Workers union. In upcoming weeks, principals in the Kau-Keaau-Pahoa Complex Area and DOE administrators will map out a course of action. The DOE is aiming to have details solidified by May to provide families ample time to plan for School Year 2015-16.

In late October 2014, DOE closed Keonepoko Elementary in response to the rapidly advancing lava flow. It was determined then that the lava would be crossing Highway 130. DOE built a temporary facility in the Keaau High lower parking lot and adjusted classroom assignments for students and staff within the complex area.

Recently the lava flow changed in threat status from ‘warning’ to ‘watch.’ Hawaii County Civil Defense has informed the Department that based on the most current information available the lava is no longer headed toward Pahoa.

Complex Area Superintendent Chad Farias stated, “We continue to evaluate what all possible futures might be for the education of children within Puna and are thinking not just about the current situation, but how to provide quality education to all of the families in our area for years to come.”

The DOE will provide more information to its staff and the public once it is available.

 

Hawaii Moon RIDERS Honored at Capital

The House of Representatives today recognized the Iolani School and Kealakehe High School robotics team, known as the Moon RIDERS, for their work on the electrodynamic dust shield lunar project and their partnerships with PISCES, NASA, and Google Lunar Xprize. 

PISCES Executive Director Rob Kelso, Moon RIDERS, and members of the Hawaii House of Representatives.

PISCES Executive Director Rob Kelso, Moon RIDERS, and members of the Hawaii House of Representatives.

In February, the group was selected to take part in an experiment involving electrodynamic dust shield technology that will be conducted on the surface of the moon by the end of 2016. 

Kealakehe teacher Justin Brown, Kealakehe student Moon RIDERS, and Reps. Nicole Lowen and Mark Nakashima.

Kealakehe teacher Justin Brown, Kealakehe student Moon RIDERS, and Reps. Nicole Lowen and Mark Nakashima.

The selected Hawaii students will be mentored by NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.  The project came about through an agreement with PISCES and NASA to work on a Hawaii high school STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) project.

16th Annual Waimea Healthy Keiki Fest Coming Up

The 16th Annual Waimea Healthy Keiki Fest will be held on Saturday, April 18th, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Parker Ranch Center.

Keiki Fest 2015

Designed for children ages 3 to 12, our keiki along with their parents will spend the day exploring a variety of free, hands-on activities addressing environment, fitness, health, mind, nutrition and safety.

Families will have the opportunity to explore more than 30 hands-on learning booths offering activities designed to develop healthy brains, healthy bodies and healthy beings. Activities include:

  • Free bicycle helmets from North Hawaii Community Hospital’s (NHCH) Trauma Team
  • “Glow Monster” hand hygiene education with NHCH
  • Bike safety course by Lex Brodie’s, PATH, South Kohala Traffic Safety and NHCH’s Trauma Team
  • DIY paper volcanoes with Center of the Study of Active Volcanoes
  • Veggie stamp art with Kohala Village Hub
  • Car seat fitting by the Department of Health – Public Health Nursing
  • Collage making art activity with the Waimea Arts Council
  • Many more hands-on activities

Each child will receive a “passport” to track their participation at each learning booth.  A completed “passport” offers keiki the opportunity to choose from a host of activities, such as a turn on the rock climbing wall or bounce house, or receive an airbrush tattoo.   This event’s mission is to bring the schools and communities of North Hawaii together to celebrate the health and safety of our greatest asset, our keiki.  All activities are free.

This year’s Keiki Fest is brought to you by North Hawaii Community Hospital (NHCH) and Tutu’s House. This event supports the hospital’s Community Health Needs Assessment topic of “Exercise, Weight and Nutrition”.   The umbrella topic of “Exercise, Weight and Nutrition” allows NHCH to touch the numerous health disparities found within the community. The Parker Ranch Center is located at 67-1185 Mamalahoa Highway in Kamuela.   For more information and to learn how you can support this hands-on kids’ event, please contact Laurie Edmondson, Community Outreach Coordinator at North Hawaii Community Hospital, at 881-4425 or at Laurie.Edmondson@NHCH.com.