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Kona Family Fun Day Celebrated

The Big Island Substance Abuse Council (BISAC) hosted one of its annual events in Kona.  The Kona Family Fun Day, was an event which celebrated community, promoted positive messages, and provided opportunities to enhance family relationships.  Over 15 community organizations participated in providing the community with resources and family-fun activities.  In true style, BISAC had carnival games, bouncers, giveaways, family activities, an arm wrestling exhibition, and lots of good tasting food.  Hundreds of individuals took part in the event.

BISAC through its events and long standing positive reputation in the community continues to inspire positive change and helps individuals and their families reclaim their lives.  The Kona Family Fun Day was made possible by Hawaii County Council members: Karen Eoff, Maile David, and Dru Kanuha.  “This event was very successful and we will continue to provide these types of outreach events in the future” said BISAC’s CEO, Dr. Hannah Preston-Pita.  “Our next annual event, Summer Jam is scheduled for July 28-29th and we hope to see you all there.”

Since 1964, BISAC has been inspiring individuals and families to reclaim and enrich their lives in the wake of the ravages of substance abuse and mental health.  They offer a continuum of services that are culturally appropriate and aligned with the ever-changing behavioral health field.

For more information about BISAC and all of its programs call 969-9994 or visit www.bisac.org.

Annual Waimea College Fair – April 6th

Hawaii Preparatory Academy will host the annual Waimea College Fair sponsored by the Hawaii Association for College Admission Counseling from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 6, in the schoolʻs Castle Gym.  The event is free and is designed for all Waimea area students interested in pursuing higher education opportunities.

This yearʻs program will feature 80 colleges, including all colleges and universities within the state of Hawaii.  Other colleges represented include:

  • California Institute of Technology
  • Dartmouth College
  • Santa Clara University
  • Gonzaga University
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of California, Irvine
  • Colorado State University
  • Northeastern University
  • University of Oregon
  • West Point

A general advising and financial aid center will be available to students and their families to answer specific questions regarding the college admission process and financial aid.

For more information, please visit the Hawaii Association for College Admission Counseling website at www.hawaiiacac.org, or email HawaiiACAC@gmail.com.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Announces Hawaiʻi Students Nominated to Military Service Academies

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today released the names and photos of her nominations to the U.S. Military Service Academies for classes entering Summer 2017.  After an exhaustive application and interview process, she nominated twenty-two students from across Hawaii’s Second Congressional District. Their applications are now being considered for final selection by the United States Military Academy at West Point, the United States Naval Academy, and the United States Air Force Academy.

“Across Hawaiʻi, high school seniors will soon begin gearing up for graduation, summer plans, and either beginning college, serving in our military, or entering the work force. A select few will be enrolling in one of the U.S. Military Service Academies, and I’ve had the privilege and great responsibility of nominating twenty-two phenomenal applicants to represent our Aloha State in service to our country.  I wish each of these nominees the very best in the final weeks of the selection process and in their promising futures,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.

The nomination application period opens May 15th of each year for candidates who are high school juniors and will be seniors the following school year, or who have already graduated. Nomination does not guarantee an appointment. The honor of attending a Military Service Academy comes with the obligation and commitment to serve in the military for a minimum of five years upon graduation. More information about the nominations process is available here.  

The following students from Hawaii’s Second Congressional District were nominated by Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard to the corresponding military academy / academies below (photo available for download by clicking the nominee’s name).

HAWAIʻI ISLAND RESIDENTS

KAUAʻI RESIDENTS

MAUI RESIDENTS

OʻAHU RESIDENTS

Grammy-Winning Honoka’a High Jazz Band Goes to Maui County

Meet them at the bridge of music on Maui and Lāna‘i  as they celebrate Aloha, Peace and National Jazz Appreciation Month

The Grammy-winning Honoka’a High School Jazz Band is performing on Maui and Lāna‘i  from March 30th to April 2nd in order to celebrate National Jazz Appreciation Month which culminates in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) International Jazz Day on April 30th.

The Honoka’a Jazz Band is a group of advanced music students who uphold a long tradition of excellence at Honoka’a High and Intermediate School. Under the direction of Gary Washburn, a dedicated teacher and accomplished jazz artist, the band is considered one of the state’s top High School Bands.  Honoka’a High School was one of 36 schools out of 22,000 eligible programs in the U.S. to receive the GRAMMY Signature Schools Award. Their Director, Gary Washburn has been recognized as a Living Treasure of Hawaii for his work as a music educator and has received a Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction award.

This year, the theme of the Honoka’a Jazz Band’s Big City Tour Band is all about bridges as they become an ambassador of aloha bridging the Big Island of Hawaii to Maui and Lāna‘i  through music.

Besides the term “bridge” being a musical term referring to a section in music that provides a contrast to the verses in a song and the chorus, the music itself becomes a bridge that can be significant for the sharing of aloha and peace.

Gary Washburn notes that, “Music is a universal language and as such, opens doors between cultures and communities. Music does not involve words, only sound. Sound expresses emotion, particularly in Jazz where the freedom and spontaneity are the corner stones of the art. Jazz musicians have a “special connection” through a common “secret language” that celebrates peace and friendship. Their purpose is to create connections between the listeners by expressing common emotions” stated the band’s director.

The concept of the bridge is not only seen as music shared which will be connecting three islands on this tour, it connects the past and future in the life of the Honoka’a Band.  Nearly four decades ago, the then little known jazz band from the Hawaii Island went to Maui.

State of Hawaii House District 1 Representative Mark M. Nakashima recalls, “As a member of the Honoka’a High School Band, our first neighbor island trip was to Maui to march in the Maui County Fair Parade.  Mr. Washburn was in his second year as a band teacher at Honoka’a and this did a lot to revitalize and energize the music program.  This return to Maui seems like a bridge between the past and the future as Honoka’a marks a return to the Valley Isle once again after 38 years” said Nakashima.

Returning to Maui to extend a heart of friendship from Honoka’a, the band will be performing at the Maui Adult Day Care Nisei Ocean View Center on March 30th at 1p.m. and the Queen Ka’ahumanu Center on March 30th at 6p.m.

On Friday, March 30th, the band is excited to bridge over to Lāna‘i where they will do three appearances connected to the eleventh Fifth Friday Lāna‘i Town Party.  This is seen as a significant exchange according to Bradley Bunn, Chair of the Lāna‘i Chamber of Commerce, who wrote the following.  “We look forward to welcoming the Honoka‘a Jazz Band to Lāna‘i. More importantly we hope that lasting connections will be formed through their performances with our students and community.”   For more information on Fifth Friday see https://fifthfridayLāna‘i .com.

A highlight of their Maui Tour is the music bridge to agriculture.  On Saturday, April 1st, they perform twice at the 10th Annual Maui County Agricultural Festival held at the Maui Tropical Plantation.  They will be on the Main Stage at 11a.m. and the Keiki Stage at 2:15 p.m.  Warren K. Watanabe, Executive Director of the Maui County Farm Bureau welcomes the connection.

Our goal has always been to educate residents about the importance of a vibrant ag industry on Maui….In addition to providing beautiful landscapes, managed and productive ag lands are at the core of agritourism, festivals and entertainment, and Maui as a culinary destination. In short, a thriving agricultural community supports our culture, our community, our economy, and our health. We’re excited to bring people together at AgFest and honored to welcome the Honoka’a Jazz Band to perform on Maui” said, Watanabe.

The band’s final appearance on Maui will be at the Lahaina Arts Society Banyan Tree Fine Art Fair on April 2nd from noon to 2p.m. where they bridge music to the fine arts.

While the tour will be exciting, the most challenging bridge to cross for the band will be between the past 40 years of the Honoka’a music program with the beloved Linaka Washburn by her husband Gary’s side, and the first music tour without her.  Linaka loved bridges and made sure the 2017 Honoka’a Big City Tour would go on despite her fight with throat cancer.  Linaka passed this past January and in honor of her constant aloha and support, the Honoka’a Jazz Band’s 2017 tour is all about bridges.

Meet them at the bridge of music on Maui and Lāna‘i . The bridge has been built with such incredible aloha from the Office of Representative Mark Nakashima, Maui County Office of Economic Development, the Maui County Farm Bureau, Maui County Ag Festival, Lahaina Arts Society, Lāna‘i  Chamber of Commerce, Lāna‘i  Fifth Friday Committee, the Lāna‘i  Schools, Maui’s Adult Care Center, the University of Hawaii Maui Community College and even Queen Ka’ahumanu Mall.

For more information on National Jazz Appreciation Month which is celebrated every April see: http://americanhistory.si.edu/smithsonian-jazz/jazz-appreciation-month

For more information on the United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) International Jazz Day 2017 see http://jazzday.com/about/

Big Island Police Searching for 17-Year-Old Kailua-Kona Boy Reported Missing Again

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 17-year-old Kailua-Kona boy who was reported missing again.

George Price-Apo

George Price-Apo was last seen in Kailua-Kona on January 24, 2017.

He is described as Hawaiian, 6-foot-2, 140 pounds with black hair and brown eyes.

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

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island wide 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.

Report on College Readiness for the Class of 2016 Shows Increase in Post-High School Preparation

The College and Career Readiness Indicators Report for the Class of 2016, released by Hawaii P-20 Partnerships for Education, show that Hawaii students continue to reach higher levels of achievement, with more students taking college-level courses while in high school and graduating with college credits.

​Indicators used to measure student readiness for college and careers reveal that Hawaii’s students continue to reach higher levels of achievement, with more students taking college-level courses while in high school and graduating with college credits.  The College and Career Readiness Indicators Report (CCRI) for the Class of 2016, released today by Hawaii P-20 Partnerships for Education, shows that Hawaii’s public school graduates have made steady, and in some cases significant improvements in key indicators of college and career readiness, including earning college credits before graduation (often referred to as “early college”), Advanced Placement (AP) participation, and completion of career pathways.

Of last year’s high school graduating class, 515 more students graduated with college credits than in the prior year. High school students who graduate with college credits are more likely to enroll, persist, and succeed in higher education.

While nationwide college enrollment for Hawaii’s students has remained steady over the last few years at around 55 percent, the enrollment rate for four-year colleges has increased over four years, from 26 percent for the Class of 2012 to 32 percent for the Class of 2016.

In the Class of 2016, more students participated in the AP exams, which many colleges recognize for college credit. Last year, some schools registered significant increases.

Remediation rates for both English and mathematics have been steadily declining with each graduating class since the reports’ inception with the Class of 2008.  Following a decade of collaboration on improving educational outcomes for Hawaii, the University of Hawaii System’s (UH) 10 campuses instituted a new placement policy beginning in Fall 2016 that allows students to be placed into college-level coursework based on their achievements as a high school student.  Research shows that the more quickly students enter and complete these college-level courses, the more likely students are to attain their higher education goals.

“More high school graduates entering into college-level courses immediately after high school demonstrates that the changes we’ve initiated from Hawaii Common Core to early college programs and the collaboration with the University of Hawaii are paying off for our students and community,” said Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi.  “These results are a clear testament to the commitment of our school leaders and teachers who stayed the course in raising the rigor and setting high expectations for our students.”

Collaboration between the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) and UH to provide opportunities for students to access and be successful in higher education is making an impact.  Research shows that participation in college-level coursework during high school increases students’ exposure and confidence to pursue postsecondary opportunities.  High school students who graduate with college credits are more likely to enroll, persist, and succeed in higher education.

New to this year’s CCRI report is the measurement of Career Technical Education (CTE) program completers.

In the Class of 2016, the number of dual-credit participants (students who enrolled in college-level courses during high school) increased by four percentage points statewide, from 10 percent for the Class of 2015 to 14 percent for the Class of 2016.  Of last year’s high school graduating class, 515 more students graduated with college credits than in the prior year.  At Waipahu High School, about one in three students in the Class of 2016 participated in dual credit, for a total of 32 percent of the Class of 2016.  Several other schools increased dual-credit participation by 10 percentage points or more since the Class of 2014:

  • Hilo High School: 24% from 7% (+17 points)
  • Kaimuki High School: 29% from 14% (+15)
  • Kapaa High School: 23% from 8% (+15)
  • Kailua High School: 20% from 5% (+15)
  • Roosevelt High School: 21% from 8% (+13)

In the Class of 2016, more students participated in the AP exams, a rigorous assessment that measures students’ mastery of college-level coursework, which many colleges recognize for college credit.  This continues the trend of the last five years of more public school students graduating having taken AP courses and exams:  24% of the Class of 2012 to 33% of the Class of 2016.  Last year, some schools registered significant increases in AP exam-takers.  The top five schools with the highest increases between the Class of 2014 and 2016 are:

  • Roosevelt High School: 58% from 30% (+28 points)
  • Nanakuli High School: 33% from 11% (+22)
  • Castle High School: 43% from 23% (+20)
  • Aiea High School: 44% from 25% (+19)
  • Radford High School: 47% from 33% (+14)

Nanakuli, Castle, and Aiea High Schools made significant strides, moving from below the statewide average for AP exam participation, to above the statewide average.

Several schools are spotlighted in the Class of 2016 CCRI for gains made in a number of additional areas of college and career readiness, including:

  • Radford High School
    • Increased on-time graduation rate to 94% for the Class of 2016, from 87% for the Class of 2012
    • Increased participation in AP examinations to 47%, from 36% for the Class of 2012
    • Increased nationwide college enrollment to 62%, from 51% for the Class of 2012
  • Lahainaluna High School
    • Increased nationwide college enrollment to 55%, from 47% for the Class of 2012
    • Increased college-level course enrollment at UH in math to 52%, from 25% for the Class of 2012
    • Increased college-level course enrollment at UH in English to 57%, from 45% for the Class of 2012
  • Nanakuli High and Intermediate School
    • Increased dual-credit participation to 19%, from 3% for the Class of 2012
    • Increased participation in AP examinations to 33%, from 11% for the Class of 2014
    • Increased nationwide college enrollment to 38%, from 29% for the Class of 2012
  • Farrington High School
    • Increased participation in AP examinations to 22%, from 4% for the Class of 2012
    • Increased college-level course enrollment at UH in math to 34%, from 27% for the Class of 2012
    • Increased college-level course enrollment at UH in English to 59%, from 43% for the Class of 2012
  • Hilo High School
    • Increased dual-credit participation to 24%, from 10% for the Class of 2012
    • Increased college-level course enrollment at UH in math to 54%, from 26% for the Class of 2012
    • Increased college-level course enrollment at UH in English to 63%, from 37% for the Class of 2012

Stephen Schatz, recently appointed as Executive Director of Hawaii P-20 Partnerships for Education, said, “Year over year, we see that Hawaii’s public high school graduates are more prepared for success after high school.  The College and Career Readiness Indicators report is an important tool that quantifiably measures college readiness of our public high school students, and gives leaders the data they need to make improvements.”

CCRI reports are an annual collaboration between HIDOE and UH, coordinated by Hawaii P-20 Partnerships for Education, to present information on how well-prepared Hawaii public school graduates are for college.

Hawaii’s CCRI reports are continuously recognized by national organizations, including the Data Quality Campaign, Achieve, and the National Governors Association, as a leading example of collaboration between K-12 and higher education and for providing useful information on college readiness. The full reports can be found at: http://www.p20hawaii.org/resources/college-and-career-readiness-indicators-reports/ccri-2016-data, and also at: http://hawaiidxp.org/research/ccri_reports.

Hawai’i Island Schools Receive Funding for Environmental Projects

Schools in Hilo and West Hawai‘i will be going green with the help of funding from Kupu and Kōkua Hawai‘i  Foundation’s inaugural Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge (HYSC) mini-grant program. The mini-grant funding will be supporting students at Hilo Union Elementary School, St. Joseph School, Kealakehe Intermediate School and Kohala High School to help them implement their innovative project proposals, which include a children’s book, a community garden and robot prototypes.

“We’re really excited to be able to support schools on Hawai‘i Island in developing unique ways to mālama ‘āina,” said John Leong, CEO of Kupu. “Our youth are the next generation of environmental stewards and community leaders in our state, and hopefully projects like these, inspire and empower them to continue to create sustainable solutions for a better, more resilient Hawai‘i.”

A total of 25 schools across the state will be receiving funding to implement new environmental projects that raise sustainability awareness and practices in schools and their communities. HYSC mini-grant funding will be provided to the following projects on Hawai‘i Island:

  • Hilo Union Elementary School will be launching their “Let Us Grow” program, in which their 5th graders will grow their own greens through hydroponic buckets, as well as educating other students on how to do the same and how hydroponics compares to growing vegetables in soil.
  • Through its proposed project, “Huli Ka Lima I Lalo,” St. Joseph School’s Hawaiian language class will be creating a Hawaiian garden or mala on campus, to grow native plants based on the Hawaiian moon calendar, to learn more about traditional Hawaiian knowledge and how to successfully grow and maintain a Hawaiian garden.
  • Kealakehe Intermediate School was awarded two mini-grants for its children’s book and “The Edible Vending Machine” projects. Students in 7th and 8th grade will be producing a book about harvesting pa‘akai (sea salt) to better educate about the connection between traditional Hawaiian knowledge and sustainable living. “The Edible Vending Machine” is a project proposed by 8th grader Riley Estrada, who will be designing a vending machine prototype and app to offer healthy, delicious and sustainable snacks to students.
  • Inspired by a recent beach cleanup, students from Kohala High School are hoping to educate their community about marine debris through recycling stations, presentations and building a prototype of a futuristic micro-plastic cleaning robot.

“The Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge has allowed us to further connect with and empower Hawai‘i’s students to carry out innovative and much-needed projects to address their vision for a healthy, sustainable future,” added Natalie McKinney, Kōkua Hawai‘i Foundation executive director. “We are inspired by their creativity and look forward to seeing the outcomes of their projects. For over a decade, Kōkua Hawai‘i Foundation’s Mini-Grant Program has funded these types of projects in and out of the classroom. We are honored and proud to work with our many partners on the HYSC to reach even more students across the state.”

The Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge (HYSC) was first announced by First Lady Dawn Amano-Ige at the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress and is dedicated to inspiring youth to be intentionally engaged with the environment through action, advocacy and education. The HYSC mini-grant program is a Legacy Initiative from the IUCN Congress, made possible through funding by Harold K. L. Castle Foundation, Kamehameha Schools and Public Schools of Hawai‘i Foundation, with the support of the Hawai‘i State Department of Education.

“I’m thrilled to see so many students throughout the state engage in the Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge, and even more excited to support their creativity and environmental stewardship through this IUCN Legacy Initiative,” said First Lady Dawn Amano-Ige. “These students are agents of change in their own communities, helping us to promote the importance of our natural resources, while implementing innovative projects that will help preserve the beauty of our environment for generations to come. Congratulations to all the Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge mini-grant recipients.”

For more information about the Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge, please visit www. kokuahawaiifoundation.org/mini grants.

Zonta Club of Hilo Scholarships, Award Available

The Zonta Club of Hilo is accepting applications for its 2017 Nursing, Math & Science Scholarships, the Jane M. Klausman Women In Business Scholarship, and the 2017 Young Women in Public Affairs Award (YWPA).

Each scholarship awards $1,000; the YWPAA awards $500.

The Nursing Scholarship is open to women enrolled in a nursing degree program at the University of Hawaii at Hilo (UHH) or at Hawaii Community College (HCC).

The Math & Science Scholarship is open to women enrolled full-time at UHH or HCC, working towards a degree in mathematics, physics, engineering, technology, computer science, pharmacy and astronomy.

The YWPAA recognizes young women who are committed to volunteering, demonstrate leadership skills and are dedicated to empowering women and girls. YWPAA applicants are asked to reflect on their volunteer work and the problems limiting the advancement of the status of women in their community and worldwide. YWPAA applicants must be between the ages of 16 and 19 on April 1, 2017, and be a resident of Hawaii County.

The application deadline for scholarships and the YWPAA is Friday, March 31, 2017.

Applications are available at zontahilo.org or through Zonta Hilo’s Service Chair, Julie Tulang at info@zontahilo.org.

Hawaii State Civil Rights Commission Decries Threat Against Jewish Preschool

On behalf of the Hawaiʻi Civil Rights Commission, Chair Linda Hamilton Krieger today strongly condemned the threatening phone call made on Monday, February 27, 2017, that necessitated the evacuation of the Temple Emanu-El preschool, and renewed the Commission’s previous call for Hawaiʻi to stand against the national upsurge in discriminatory harassment and intimidation. “We must all come together to condemn this despicable, hateful act against Hawaii’s Jewish community,” said Krieger. “No one should have to live in fear because of their religion, just as no one should live in fear because of their national origin, race, sex, gender, sexual orientation, or immigration status.”

“It is sobering that this happened here in Hawaiʻi, in the context of threats against 20 Jewish community centers and day schools on the same day nationwide, as well as the bias-motivated shooting that took the life of an Indian man in Kansas last week,” added HCRC Executive Director William Hoshijo. “Those who share a commitment to civil rights must stand up for those who cannot stand alone, and condemn the post-election proliferation of anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, and anti-immigrant attacks and threats, acts of vandalism, and hateful rhetoric.”

The Hawaiʻi Civil Rights Commission is responsible for enforcing, and will enforce, state civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, and

State-funded services. The HCRC stands in opposition to discriminatory harassment, whether in schools, workplaces, places of business, or in our communities.

If you feel you have been subjected to discrimination or harassment because of your race, ancestry, disability, sexual orientation, religion, sex, including gender identity, or other prohibited bases, contact the HCRC at telephone (808) 586-8636, or email DLIR.HCRC.INFOR@hawaii.gov.

For more information, go to the HCRC webpage at:  http://labor.hawaii.gov/hcrc/.

Sponsors Sought for Summer Food Service Program to Provide Meals for Children During Summer Break

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is seeking sponsor organizations on all islands to help provide children in low-income communities with reduced-price meals during the summer months.  The SFSP provides nutritious meals that help children to learn, play and grow during the summer break when many schools are not in session.

Schools, public agencies, and private nonprofit organizations may apply to be SFSP sponsors. Sponsoring organizations receive reimbursements for serving healthy meals and snacks at approved sites to children and teenagers, 18 years and younger. Photo Credit: Department of Education

Schools, public agencies, and private nonprofit organizations may apply to be SFSP sponsors.  Sponsoring organizations receive reimbursements for serving healthy meals and snacks at approved sites to children and teenagers, 18 years and younger.  Sponsors are encouraged to provide educational or recreational activities.

In 2016, a daily average of 12,829 children, 18 years and younger, participated in Summer Meals Programs. This average increased by 1,125 children per day from the previous year. Photo Credit: Department of Education

“Summer food service programs are vital to many of our keiki who normally rely on school meals for most of their daily intake,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi.  “Well-rounded, nutritious meals are a priority for children who need regular fuel for learning, physical activities and growth.”

In 2016, a daily average of 12,829 children, 18 years and younger, participated in Summer Meals Programs.  This average increased by 1,125 children per day from the previous year.  SFSP sites are often located at nonprofit organizations, preschools, churches, parks and housing facilities and the Hawaii State Department of Education’s Seamless Summer Option provides meals at select school locations.

The Hawaii Child Nutrition Programs (HCNP) will conduct workshops for new and returning sponsors on Maui, Hawaii, Kauai and Oahu from March 14 to 24.  Personnel responsible for administering the SFSP will be required to attend.

For more information about SFSP, contact Jennifer Dang at Hawaii Child Nutrition Programs at 587-3600.

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Hawaiian Airlines Welcomes Public High School Students to Inaugural Ka Ho‘okele Mentorship Program

Hawaiian Airlines is opening its doors to public high school students in a new mentorship program that provides hands-on learning about all aspects of the airline industry.

The carrier’s Ka Ho‘okele “The Navigator” Explorers Program, developed with the Aloha Council Boy Scouts, features more than 20 Hawaiian Airlines employees from diverse sectors of the company who volunteer to mentor high school students in aviation careers.

In a recent visit to Hawaiian Airlines’ maintenance facility, public high school students practiced sheet metal skills as part of the carrier’s Ka Ho’okeele mentorship program.

Earlier this week, the inaugural class of 19 students from nine O‘ahu public high schools, including Castle, Farrington, Kailua, Kalāheo, Kalani, Kapolei, Mililani, Moanalua, and Pearl City, took part in their first afterschool tour of Hawaiian’s maintenance operations. Students were given a safety briefing, practiced sheet metal skills such as cutting, bending and fitting, studied aircraft electronic systems and observed quality control checks.

“Ka Ho‘okele provides youngsters in our community a window into the multiple facets of the airline business, introduces them to a large array of skills and showcases exciting career options available for them to pursue,” said Debbie Nakanelua-Richards, Hawaiian’s director of community relations.

“Aloha Council, Boy Scouts of America is proud to partner with Hawaiian Airlines in providing a high-quality career-oriented Explorers program. The students will gain invaluable career skills through the mentoring provided by Hawaiian Airlines,” said Jeff Sulzbach, scout executive and CEO of Aloha Council.

Participants will spend the next 10 weeks immersed in Hawaiian’s operations as employees share their expertise in areas ranging from cargo to flight and airport operations, among many other fields. Throughout the program, the group will also be introduced to Hawaiian’s culture of Ho‘okipa (Hawaiian hospitality), learn about educational requirements to achieve successful aviation careers, and practice key job skills such as interviewing, presentation and teamwork.

Prior to an exam and graduation in May, the class will participate in a weekend community service activity alongside Hawaiian’s Team Kōkua volunteers.

The Ka Ho‘okele program is the latest addition to the airline’s growing education outreach efforts in the community. Over the past several years, Hawaiian has conducted popular Keiki Tours for preschool and elementary students at Honolulu International Airport and it recently launched a mechanic apprenticeship program with the Honolulu Community College’s Aeronautics Maintenance and Technology program and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union. Last year, the Hawaiian Airlines Foundation donated $50,000 to Maryknoll School’s new high school Mx Scholar Program for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) & Aerospace.

For more details about the Ka Ho‘okele program, please visit https://scoutingevent.com/104-ExProgramHawaiianAirlines.

Hawaii Department of Human Services Adopts Safe Sleep Rules

The Department of Human Services has adopted safe sleep provisions into its administrative rules, further strengthening its responsibility to keep infants safe in regulated child care settings. These amendments codify the department’s decade-long commitment to ensuring all licensed and registered child care providers follow safe sleep best practices. The rule went into effect on Friday, February 24, 2017.

“This department is committed to the health and safety of Hawai‘i’s children. These rules embody our commitment by making explicit our department’s practice of requiring licensed and registered child care providers to use safe sleep best practices. We believe these rules are the natural evolution of our dedication to safe sleep practices in licensing child care providers,” said DHS Director Pankaj Bhanot.

This act of codifying DHS practices responds to community concerns and reinforces that the department values safe sleep practices in all child care settings.

DHS has prioritized safe sleep practices since 2005 when the department began including them as part of the child care licensing protocol. The national Safe Sleep campaign began targeting child care settings just a few years prior.

DHS licenses various child care settings, including family care homes, group child care centers and homes, before- and after-school programs, and infant and toddler child care centers. The department’s Child Care Licensing staff conduct initial, annual and biennial monitoring visits at each home and facility to ensure providers are compliant with laws, regulations and best practices. Since 2005, licensing workers have educated providers about the importance of safe sleep practices and verified their compliance.

These protocols contributed to zero child fatalities in licensed and registered child care settings in 2016.

You can access the rules (17-891.1 and 17-895) here on our website. More information about the Department of Human Services is available at humanservices.hawaii.gov.

Health Occupation Students of America at UH Hilo Turns in Strong State Performance

Students from the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo claimed top honors in multiple categories at the 12th Annual HOSA (Health Occupation Students of America) – Future Health Professionals State Leadership Conference held recently on O`ahu.

HOSA at UH Hilo members Leslie Arce, Jerold Cabel, and Marjie Retundo captured 1st place in the Public Service Announcement event with their 30-second PSA on “My Preparedness Story: Staying Healthy and Resilient!”

Individual winners included Chrisovolandou Gronowski in Behavioral Health and Kateleen Caye Bio in Pharmacology. Lark Jason Canico placed 2nd in Prepared Speaking with his topic on “Leadership, Service, and Engagement.”

In other results, HOSA at UH Hilo was awarded Honorable Mention as one of the largest post-secondary chapters in the state. The gathering also elected Canico, the Immediate Past President (local chapter) and Hawaiʻi Island HOSA Regional Coordinator, as the new Hawaiʻi HOSA Post-secondary Vice President.

“HOSA at UH Hilo’s growth and performance over the years has been impressive,” said Dr. Cecilia Mukai, who steps down as faculty advisor at the end of the semester. “I want to thank everyone who has supported this group, which has a positive influence on students pursuing health-related careers.”

The HOSA at UH Hilo team now moves on to the International Conference, scheduled for June 21-24, at Disney’s Coronado Springs in Orlando, Florida.

Grammy Foundation Award Winning Honoka’a High School Jazz Band at The Shops at Mauna Lani

The Shops at Mauna Lani invites the community to its first annual Moonlight Mele Jazz Concert on Friday, March 10, 6-7 p.m. The event features the musical stylings of nationally recognized, Honoka’a High School Jazz Band.

Under the direction of Gary Washburn, a dedicated teacher, accomplished jazz artist, the band is considered one of the top in the nation. The ensemble consists of advanced music students who uphold a long tradition of excellence at Honoka’a High and Intermediate Schools.

The Jazz Band has played on National Public Radio’s “From the Top,” and opened for the Royal Hawaiian Band at Iolani Palace where they were recognized by the State Legislature. They do a yearly multi-concert tour of Oahu to celebrate National Jazz Appreciation Month, and their 14th CD (an annual fundraiser) has just been released. In 2011, they received a national Grammy Signature Schools Award.

The Moonlight Mele Jazz Concert at The Shops at Mauna Lani is free, and all are welcome.  For more information, visit www.shopsatmaunalani.com, or call (808) 885-9501.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Hosts Criminal Justice Reform Roundtable, Visits Inmates

This morning at the Hawaiʻi Youth Correctional Facility in Olomana (Windward Oʻahu), Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) hosted a Criminal Justice Reform Roundtable, bringing together advocates, experts, educators, health professionals, and leaders from Hawaii’s state, county, judiciary, corrections, and non-profit sectors.

They discussed the current state of Hawaii’s juvenile justice system, and how they’re working toward innovative solutions to help empower our youth, reduce recidivism, and provide service and support to our keiki, their families, and our community at-large.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard toured the Hawaiʻi Youth Correctional Facility (HYCF) and the Women’s Community Correctional Center, where she learned about the programs being offered and spent time with inmates. The young men at HYCF shared their hopes and plans for their futures, and the women talked about the importance of vocational training and work opportunities that will help them to succeed and support their families when their time is served and they return home.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is working with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to address the many problems that plague our criminal justice system. She has long advocated for common sense criminal justice reform legislation like the bipartisan SAFE Justice Act, the Sentencing Reform Act, the Smarter Sentencing Act, Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health Act, as well as long overdue reauthorization of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act. She has been a vocal advocate supporting state programs like Drug Courts, Veteran Courts, the Hawaiʻi Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE), and the State Juvenile Justice Hoʻopono Mamo Civil Citation Initiative.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Seeks Students for Kaha Kiʻi Art Competition

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today announced that she is accepting submissions from Hawaiʻi high school artists in the 2nd Congressional District for the 2017 Congressional Art Competition:

Hayden was awarded a cash prize at the capital for his artwork in elementary school.

“Every year, I’m impressed by the talent and creativity of Hawaii’s young artists,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who has hosted the Kaha Kii Art Competition for Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District since 2013. “This competition is a great platform for our students to showcase the beauty of our islands and communities from their unique perspective to people from across the state and in our nation’s capital. I’m grateful to the fine arts educators who inspire our young artists every day and encourage them to participate in activities like the Congressional Art Competition.”

The deadline to submit artwork to the competition is March 6, 2017. Semi-finalists will be announced March 18th and semi-finalists’ artwork will be hung at the Hawaiʻi State Capitol on Saturday, April 1st. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard will announce the winning pieces at an awards ceremony on May 13th at the Hawaiʻi State Capitol. The first-place piece will be displayed for one year in the U.S. Capitol, along with winning artwork from all other congressional districts around the country that participate in the nationwide competition.

Interested applicants can find complete details regarding the competition by clicking here.

Hawaii Ranked 1st Nationally in School Internet Connectivity

Hawaii’s public school system is the top ranked school district in K-12 broadband connectivity according to the 2016 State of the States annual report released by EducationSuperHighway, an advocacy group dedicated to upgrading Internet infrastructure in K-12 public schools.

“In 2014 we accomplished our goal to deliver Wi-Fi to all public schools statewide, which was a huge undertaking by our Office of Information Technology Services and Office of School Facilities and Support Services,” noted Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “The work of our teams have paid off and we’re very proud to be recognized as number one in the country for our Wi-Fi connectivity.”

From 2010 to 2015, the Hawaii State Department of Education increased its broadband at schools from 0.3 gigabytes/second to 8.0 gigabytes/second.

“Having access to the Internet allows our teachers to enhance classroom lessons and gives our students vast digital learning resources that make learning an interactive, hands-on activity. Complete connectivity is a large step forward towards 21st Century Learning initiatives and preparing our students for college and careers,” added Superintendent Matayoshi.

Hawaii’s national No. 1 ranking is based on full 100 percent scores in the report’s four criteria:

  • Connectivity, reflecting the percentage of school districts meeting 100 kbps per student;
  • Fiber, reflecting the percentage of schools with fiber optic connections needed to meet bandwidth targets;
  • Wi-Fi, reflecting the percentage of school districts reporting sufficient Wi-Fi in all classrooms; and
  • Affordability, the percentage of school districts maximizing their bandwidth within set budgets.

EducationSuperHighway is a non-profit advocacy group focused on providing equal access to high-speed broadband for all K-12 public school students.

Kupu Receives National Recognition with 2017 Project of the Year Award

Kupu, Hawai‘i’s leading conservation and youth education organization, received The Corps Network’s 2017 Project of the Year Award at The Corps Network 2017 National Conference in Washington, D.C., last night. Kupu is one of four organizations in the nation, and the only in the state to receive this prestigious accolade. This year’s award recognizes the Kupu’s critical role in establishing youth-focused programming at the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress.

Kupu Receives The Corps Network 2017 Project of the Year Award in Washington, D.C. (L-R: Janice Kim, Kim Matsukawa, Kana Smith, Matthew Bauer, Bettina Mok, Luella Costales, Marie Walker)

“This award is a true celebration of our incredible team and partners, who helped strengthen our impact and create a robust platform of educational opportunities at last year’s IUCN World Conservation Congress,” said John Leong, CEO of Kupu. “When we focus our efforts in elevating our youth, we’re establishing a new generation of stewards that will lead our communities towards a healthier, more sustainable future.”

Kupu played a significant role in developing and launching various youth-based programs during the 10-day conference, which helped to engage over 1,500 students from more than 20 countries throughout the world. The Congress included 10 education-focused events, including: He Puko’a Kani ‘Aina – Biocultural Conservation Stories from Pacific Island Youth; a youth symposium; student-guided media workshops; and eco-system restoration projects. In addition, Kupu kicked off the inaugural IUCN Students’ Day: Hawai‘i Youth Challenge 2020, which brought together 1,000 middle and high school students and teachers throughout the state. The program included conservation-related presentations and discussions, as well as a Design Thinking workshop led by Oceanit, which encouraged students to develop collaborative and sustainable solutions for their communities.

“Hawai‘i set a precedence for engaging youth in the IUCN Congress,” said Randall Tanaka, president of the IUCN National Host Committee. “Kupu’s leadership development program is second to none, and with their experience and partnerships, last year’s Congress was the biggest and most successful youth engagement initiative in the history of the IUCN. Through their efforts and our partners’, we were able to accomplish one of Committee’s critical priorities of building the next generation’s capacity, while integrating our unique culture and values.”

Kupu recently also helped to launch one of the 2016 IUCN Congress Legacy Initiatives – the Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge (HYSC) is a new educational mini-grant program that provides financial support to environmental projects proposed by Hawai‘i’s K-12 students and educators. The HYSC was first announced by First Lady Dawn Amano-Ige at the 2016 IUCN Congress and is dedicated to inspiring youth to be intentionally engaged with the environment through action, advocacy and education.

For the past decade, Kupu has served as a member of The Corps Network, which leads and supports over 130 of America’s Service and Conservation Corps that engage participants in service projects, job training and academic programming. The organization delivers three distinguished accolades each year, chosen through a competitive nomination process: Corpsmember of the Year, Project of the Year and Legacy Achievement Awards. For more information about the organization and awards, visit http://www.corpsnetwork.org/.

Student Leaders From Hilo and Kalaheo High Schools Chosen for Week-Long Program in Washington DC

Jessica Valdez from Hilo High and Matthew Darrah from Kalaheo High have been selected to represent Hawaii at the annual United States Senate Youth Program. The student delegates will receive a $10,000 scholarship from the Hearst Foundation and a trip to Washington D.C.

Jessica Valdez (Hilo High) and Matthew Darrah (Kalaheo High) Photo Credit: Department of Education

Jessica Valdez, president of Hilo High’s Student Association, and Matthew Darrah president of Kalaheo High’s Student Association, will be heading to Washington D.C. for the 55th annual Washington Week in March. The duo was selected to represent Hawaii at the annual United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP).

“Congratulations to Jessica and Matthew for being selected for this prestigious program,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “This is a wonderful opportunity for these student leaders to see how their experience serving at their school and state councils could turn into a career in public service by seeing it firsthand in our nation’s Capitol.”

The student delegates will receive a $10,000 scholarship from the Hearst Foundation and a trip to Washington D.C. where they will tour the national monuments and museums, as well as have the opportunity to attend meetings and briefings with legislators, an ambassador to the U.S., a justice of the Supreme Court and other government leaders.

“I was honored to be part of the program last year. It gave me a newly found sense of confidence, and once in a lifetime experiences that I’m applying in Hawaii as a college student and intern at the legislature,” shared Zachary Espino, 2016 USSYP Hawaii delegate. “My advice to Jessica and Matthew would be to take a lot of notes, and listen and engage in conversations with the other delegates. These are students who share the same passion and drive, and are valuable connections that you may rely on down the road.”

Valdez serves as the chairperson of the Hawaii State Student Council. She was elected to this position to effect positive change and promote the voice of Hawaii’s public school students. At Hilo High, she has served as vice president, recording secretary and representative of her School Council. Valdez has also held a variety of leadership positions including chair of the Inter-Club Council, and secretary, treasurer and president of the Rainbow Friends Club, which raises money for and awareness about a local nonprofit sanctuary protecting, caring for and sheltering the community’s animals in need.

Darrah serves as sergeant at arms of the Hawaii State Student Council, the secretary of his school’s organization of clubs as well as a member and representative of state and district councils. He intends to attend the University of Florida to major in environmental studies and minor in political science, with the hopes of a career at the Environmental Protection Agency or an environmental institute.

The USSYP was established in 1962 by U.S. Senate Resolution, is a unique educational experience for outstanding high school students interested in pursuing careers in public service. For more information, visit http://ussenateyouth.org.

Parker School Dedicates Athletic Field

On Tuesday, January 31 Parker School’s athletic field was named “The Goodfellow Brothers Inc. Athletic Field” in a school-wide dedication ceremony.  This special ceremony honored the fourth generation, family-owned construction company Goodfellow Brothers Inc. for their continued commitment to Parker School and the Hawai’i Island community.

Parker School administration, board members, along with Chad Goodfellow and Ed Brown both of Goodfellow Brothers Inc. unveil Parker School’s newly dedicated athletic field.

All 340 kindergarten through grade 12 students, along with current and former board members, attended the dedication ceremony held next to the school’s athletic field.  Originally constructed in 2011, Parker’s athletic field was named in honor of Goodfellow Brothers Inc. for its generous support of athletics at Parker School, including a newly resurfaced basketball court completed last year.

Lower school students showed their gratitude by presenting Chad Goodfellow, president, and Ed Brown, vice president of operations–Hawaii of Goodfellow Brothers Inc. with an oversized, handmade thank you card.  Upper school students presented each with a taro plant and Parker Bulls Soccer Club players gifted a signed soccer ball.

“Parker School is grateful to Ed Brown, Steve and Chad Goodfellow and Goodfellow Brothers Inc. for its support of our athletic programs over the past several years.  Goodfellow Brothers Inc. isn’t just a company that focuses on making money, but making a community.  This athletic field is a testament to that generosity,” says Carl Sturges, Parker School headmaster.

Parker’s athletic field is also home to the Parker Bulls Soccer Club, a player development program for youth soccer players open to the Waimea community.