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Learn How to Divide Cattleya Orchids

The Kona Daifukuji Orchid Club demonstrates how to divide cattleya orchids during the May 10 meeting. Betty Matsuo, one of the club’s original members, will lead the presentation. Open to those interested in orchids, the meeting is 7 p.m. at the Daifukuji Soto Mission Hall. Bring a potluck dish to share. For info, phone 808-328-8375.

The Kona Daifukuji Orchid Club is West Hawai‘i’s oldest orchidaceae organization with a mission to learn and foster orchid culture and promote fellowship among orchid collectors. The club meets the second Wednesday of every month at the Daifukuji Soto Mission Hall on Hwy. 11 at mile marker 114, just north of Kainaliu. For information, visit www.facebook.com/orchidsinparadise.

Big Island Students Travel to India

Parker students witnessed new cultures and participated in an unforgettable volunteer experience on an 11-day trip to India as part of the school’s Travel Club.

Ten Parker upper school students visited India on a recent 11-day trip as part of the school’s Travel Club.

Ten upper school students, along with two teachers and a Parker parent, traveled to India in March where they visited the Gandhi Museum and a Sikh Temple in New Delhi, participated in the Holi Festival (color festival) in Jaipur, and volunteered to help rescued sloth bears and elephants at Wildlife SOS in Agra.

“Wildlife SOS is a non-profit in India that rescues sloth bears and Asian elephants in addition to working with local communities to create employment opportunities that do not endanger animals,” says Melissa Lunchick, Parker middle school Spanish teacher and Travel Club advisor. At the Wildlife SOS headquarters, students learned how development threatens animals and habitats in India. They also had the chance to monitor animal behavior for research, bathe elephants, prepare food for the animals, as well as build enrichment structures for the sloth bears’ enclosures.

“Along with this profound volunteer experience, our journey through several urban and rural parts of India allowed students to witness different walks of life in the developing world,” says Jessie Marshall, also a Parker teacher and co-advisor of the Travel Club.  “Experiencing Indian food, culture, and lifestyle gave us a valuable perspective about the things we take for granted.”

This is the second trip made by the school’s newly reformed Travel Club, with eight students traveling to Peru last summer for the club’s first travels abroad.

Big Island Police Searching for Missing 14-Year-Old Girl

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 14-year-old Hilo girl who was reported missing.

Kahli Akau was last seen in the Waiākea Villas area on March 17, 2017.

She is described as Hawaiian, 5-foot-4, 115 pounds with long brown hair, brown eyes, and a fair complexion.

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 island wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Additional Open Application Period Begins for Hawaii Preschool Open Doors Program

The Department of Human Services (DHS) has opened an additional application period for its Preschool Open Doors (POD) program and encourages families to apply between May 1 and May 31, 2017.  Applications received during this period will be considered for preschool participation during July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018.

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This program, which currently serves more than 1,700 children statewide, provides child care subsidies to eligible low- and moderate-income families to pay preschool tuition. POD aims to provide children whose families might otherwise not be able to afford preschool the opportunity to gain essential skills to be successful in school and in life.

To qualify for the program, children must be eligible to enter kindergarten in the 2018-2019 school year (born between August 1, 2012 and July 31, 2013). Families are reminded that a child must be five years old on or before July 31 to enter kindergarten. Families may choose any one of the 433 State-licensed preschools. Underserved or at-risk children receive priority consideration for the POD program, and funds are limited.

Interested families may request an application beginning Monday, May 1, 2017 from the Department’s POD contractor, PATCH, by visiting or calling 791-2130 or toll free 1-800-746-5620. PATCH can also help families locate a preschool convenient for them.

Applications must be received by Wednesday, May 31, 2017 to be considered during the July 1, 2017-June 30, 2018 program period. Applications should be dropped off, mailed, faxed, or emailed to the following:

PATCH – POD, 560 N. Nimitz Hwy, Suite 218, Honolulu, HI 96817, Fax: (808) 694-3066, PODAdmin@patch-hi.org

Eligibility and priorities for POD program selection are detailed online in HAR §17-799, which is available online at humanservices.hawaii.gov/admin-rules-2/admin-rules-for-programs.  For more information about other DHS programs and services, visit humanservices.hawaii.gov.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Free Summer Junior Ranger Programs Begin June 6 and June 13

Keiki from ages seven to 13 years old are invited to become “Next Generation Stewards” in the free summer junior ranger program through Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. A fun-filled, three-day program for keiki ages seven to 10 is June 6-8, and a program for youngsters ages 11 to 13 is June 13-15.

Island youth listen as Ranger Noah explains how shards of volcanic glass, called Pele’s Hair, are formed. NPS Photo by Janice Wei

Each age group begins Tuesday and ends on Thursday. For the first two days, “Next Generation Stewards” begins at 8 a.m. and ends at 3:30 p.m. On the last day (Thursday), the program begins at 11:30 a.m. and ends at 7 p.m. The programs will start and end at the Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai.

The summer junior ranger program is designed to encourage a child’s enthusiasm for conservation by connecting the child with park resources and staff, and to inspire his or her appreciation of what is uniquely Hawaiian by exploring the natural and cultural heritage of Hawai‘i.

Participants must bring and be able to carry their own day pack with water, snacks, lunch, and raingear, and hike for age-appropriate distances over uneven terrain at a leisurely pace. All interested applicants must submit an application to register. Contact Education Specialist Gwen “Lanakila” Anderson at (808) 985-6020 or email gwen_anderson@nps.gov for information and an application.

Applications are due by noon on Wednesday, May 17, and selections will be made, and parents notified, on May 18.

The summer “Next Generation Stewards” junior ranger program is co-sponsored by the Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association and the Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Park entrance fees apply.

Big Island Chocolate Festival Names Winners

Culinary entries from Maui and the Big Isle were tapped winners at last night’s Big Island Chocolate Festival gala. A sold-out crowd of 600 attendees sprawled inside and out of the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel for the sixth annual fundraiser to benefit four island non-profits.

The event theme “Worth Its Weight in Gold-The History of Chocolate” was depicted at culinary stations and the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai was tapped Best Decorated Booth.

From Left: Big Island Chocolate Festival founder Farsheed Bonakdar presented the professional culinary winners with their plaques: Michelle Yamaguchi of Wailua Estate for Best Bean-to-Bar, Chef Dayne Tanabe of Hilton Waikoloa Village for Best Savory, Chef Donald Wressell of Guittard Chocolate Company for Best Plated Dessert and People’s Choice Best Sweet, Chef Eddie Enojardo for Best Bonbon and Chef Alan Heap, Mara Masuda and Albert Asuncion of Huggo’s for People Choice Best Savory. Photos by Kirk Shorte

Creations by chefs, chocolatiers, college and high school culinary students were critiqued on taste, texture, appearance and creativity by a team of celebrity judges at competitions during the two-day festival.

Gala winners were Chef Dayne Tanabe of Hilton Waikoloa Village for Best Savory, Chef Donald Wressell of Guittard Chocolate Company for Best Plated Dessert, Chef Eddie Enojardo of Hilton Waikoloa Village for Best Bonbon and Michelle Yamaguchi of Wailua Estate for Best Bean-to-Bar Chocolate.

People’s Choice Awards went to Chef Alan Heap of Huggo’s for Best Savory and Guittard for Best Sweet. In the farm awards division, Gini Choobua of Likao Kula Farm earned Best Cacao while J. Bennett of Nine Fine Mynahs took Best Criollo.

Gini Choobua of Likao Kula Farm in Kona earned Best Cacao.

Six high school culinary teams participated in the gala with Kea‘au High School winning first, followed by Waiakea in second and Konawaena in third.

Earning first place in the high school culinary division were students from Kea‘au High School.

Students at Waiakea High School placed second in the high school culinary division.

Taking third place in the high school culinary division was the Konawaena team.

Three students earning culinary scholarships were Hannah Norman and Mina Acosta-Cabamungan of Waiakea and Rhoma Dai of Kea‘au.

From Left: High School scholarship winners included Hannah Norman and Mina Acosta-Cabamungan of Waiakea and Rhoma Dait of Kea’au.

For Friday’s college competition, UH-Maui College took first and second while UH-Palamanui came in third. Due to a mix up in the judging process, the incorrect winners were named during the gala and the judges later made the correction.

The team of judges for the various competitions were Chef Donald Wressell of Guittard Chocolate Company, Chef Alicia Boada of Cacao Barry, Paul Picton of Maverick Chocolate, Chef Elizabeth McDonald of B3 a Beach Bunny Bakery, Chef Ricky DeBoer of The Fairmont, Kea Lani; Chef Yoshikazu Kizu of Ritz Carlton Kapalua, Chef Teresa Shurilla of UH-Maui College, Chefs Connor Butler and Frank Kramm of the Kona Butcher Shop, Chef Krista Garcia of UH-Maui College, Chef Stephane Treand, Nat Bletter, Neal Campbell, Weston Yap, Paul Picton, Farsheed Bonakdar and Chef Bruce Trouyet of Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea.

The real winners of the annual festival are the four beneficiaries: the ACF Kona Kohala Chefs Assn., Kona Dance & Performing Arts, Kona Pacific Public Charter School and Waimea Country School’s Na Keiki Aloha ‘Aina.

Presented by the Kona Cacao Association, the Big Island Chocolate Festival not only heralds Hawai’i’s growing cacao industry, but also the professional and student culinarians who masterfully create foods featuring chocolate.

In addition to last night’s gala, the festival offered a full lineup of chocolate decadence from planting to plating: a Kona cacao farm tour, plus growing and processing seminars and how-to culinary demonstrations by chocolate industry experts.

Visit www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com for updates on next year’s event.

The Big Island Chocolate Festival is presented by the Kona Cacao Association, Inc. The mission and goal of KCA is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island of Hawai‘i by presenting BICF as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts. Mahalo to 2017 event sponsors Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel, Guittard Chocolate Company, Prova, Valrohna USA, Cacao Barry, Barry Callebaut, ChoiceMART, Kona Auto Center, Dolphin Journeys, Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory, Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union, Amoretti, Cocoa Outlet, Kona Brewing Company, Young’s Market, Waialua Estate Coffee & Chocolate, XPress Reprographics, The Spoon Shop, Island Asphalt Maintenance, DHX, Island Air, Republica Del Cacao, The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, Pivotal Shift Consulting Group, Hawaii Coffee Connection and TheWave@92FM.  www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com. #BIChocoFest, #ChocolateGold

Three Hawaii Public School Students Selected for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program

Seniors from Mililani High School, Waipahu High School and Kalani High School have been selected as semifinalists for the 2017 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. These students were selected out of 5,100 candidates and are in the running, along with 723 semifinalists nationwide, to be in the 53rd class of U.S. Presidential Scholars.

L to R: Emily Yang, Jommel Macaraeg, Tyler Labonte

The 2017 Hawaii public school semifinalists include:

  • Tyler Labonte, Mililani High School
  • Jommel Macaraeg, Waipahu High School
  • Emily Yang, Kalani High School.

The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964 to honor distinguished graduating seniors. The program recognizes students who demonstrate exceptional academic performance, talent in the visual, creative and performing arts and accomplishment in career and technical education fields, as well as evidence of community service, civic leadership and demonstrated commitment to high ideals.

“Congratulations to these outstanding students, their families and schools for receiving this prestigious recognition acknowledging their hard work and commitment to academic and civic excellence,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We wish them the best of luck as the finalists are selected, as well as continued success as they pursue their college and career goals.”

As a third degree black in Karate, Tyler Labonte has the discipline and drive it takes to balance a full schedule, which includes advanced placement classes, extracurricular activities and a part-time job. He is currently a member of the Mililani High Student Senate, a programmer for the school’s VEX Robotics team, state president for SkillsUSA Hawaii and executive committee member of Mensa Hawaii.

Jommel Macaraeg has taken on numerous leadership roles at Waipahu High including class president during his junior and senior years, president of Waipahu High’s Academy of Health and Sciences House Council, and secretary for the school’s National Honor Society. He has also balanced a rigorous class schedule maintaining a 4.075 grade point average, while also giving back to the community by volunteering at events like the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Walk, the Great Aloha Run and the Taste of Waipahu.

Emily Yang will be graduating as the top valedictorian of Kalani High and plans on attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she will major in Biology. Her interest and talent in science has helped her win numerous awards at district and state Science and Engineering Fairs. This year, she competed in a science fair in Japan and was a return participant at the 2017 Intel international Science and Engineering Fair.

Annually, up to 161 students are chosen for one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students. For more information about the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, click here.

VOICES Brings Vocal Ensemble Concert to Hilo

The ensemble VOICES, led by local voice teacher Mark Sheffield under the auspices of his Mark Alan VocalWorks studio, will bring their unique interpretations of classics and new favorites to Hilo. The group’s pianist is Kanako Okita. Showtimes are Friday, May 12, and Saturday, May 13, at 7:30 p.m. at the First United Protestant Church.  Admission is free and by donation, with a suggested donation of $10.00. For more information, call 238-6040.

Mark Sheffield

The evening’s program, entitled That’s Life, presents music for ensemble and solo voices both a capella and with piano, especially chosen to highlight the seasons of the year and the seasons of life.  From songs which may be new to the audience to beloved classics of stage and screen, the recital brings to life old favorites and new gems. With composers as varied as Eric Whitacre and Lili Boulanger, and songs as varied as the sacred My Song in the Night by Mack Wilberg and Africa by Toto, the concert promises something for every fan of vocal music. Solos and small ensembles intermingle with full ensemble numbers to provide variety and interest.

Mark Sheffield, Tenor and Voice Teacher, began his studio in Hilo over a decade ago. In that time he has given students success in local theater productions and concerts. He has also sent students to further study and to careers in professional theater and music. His work as a voice teacher has been highly regarded for his skill in bringing each singer’s true voice forward. Now, his students make up the personnel of his new group VOICES.

VOICES, a vocal ensemble consisting entirely of students in Sheffield’s Mark Alan VocalWorks studio, gives Sheffield’s advanced students the additional challenge of learning and performing challenging ensemble music within the context of Sheffield’s instruction in vocal technique and interpretation. Last year’s debut concert of the group included staged theatricality as well as new interpretations of songs from classic to modern. VOICES has also performed on the UH Hilo Performing Arts Center stage, featured in recent UH Hilo choral concerts. Beyond this, VOICES and its less formal predecessor has a decade-long history of performing to acclaim at the annual Keaau Christmas Parade.

Asked about how he came to create That’s Life, Sheffield said, “I was inspired by the seasons of life, and how they fit with the four seasons of Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. This program takes VOICES and the audience on a life journey through youth to maturity and venerable age. We end with a note of hope and timelessness that surpasses all seasons, whether of weather or life. The concert includes songs in a rich variety of styles designed to showcase the brilliance of the ensemble as well as the theme of the evening.” Sheffield continued, “This concert is our second full-length concert, presented as a gift to our community. We appreciate your support, we welcome your donations toward our future endeavors, and we look forward to seeing you at That’s Life. Please do come and join us in this evening of vocal excellence.”

VOICES: That’s Life comes to Hilo May 12 and 13, 2017, at 7:30 p.m. at the First United Protestant Church for two shows only.  Admission is free and by donation, with a suggested donation of $10.00. Donations accepted at the door. Call 238-6040 for more information.

Former Heald College Students Eligible for Federal Student Loan Cancellation and Refunds

The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) Hawaii Post-secondary Education Authorization Program (HPEAP), joined with at least 42 other states and the District of Columbia, is notifying nearly 2,500 Hawaii residents who attended schools operated by Corinthian Colleges, Inc. – including Heald College in Honolulu – that they are eligible for cancellation of their federal student loans used to attend those schools.  If a student’s federal loan is cancelled, the student will make no more payments on the loan, and any payments already made will be refunded.

Approximately 2,474 Hawaii residents are eligible for federal student loan cancellation and will receive a letter explaining the relief available and enclosing a short application that must be filed with the U.S. Department of Education.

After intense scrutiny by various government entities, for-profit Corinthian Colleges abruptly ceased operations in 2015, transferring some of its campuses to a non-profit called Zenith Education Group.  The U.S. Department of Education then found that while it was operating, Corinthian Colleges made widespread misrepresentations between 2010 and 2014 about post-graduation employment rates at its Heald College campus, and elsewhere across the nation. Lists of the affected campuses, programs, and dates of enrollment are available at https://www.StudentAid.gov/heald-findings and at https://www.StudentAid.gov/ev-wy-findings.  Students who first enrolled in the identified campuses and programs during the specified time periods are eligible for streamlined discharge of their federal student loans.

“Former students are still unnecessarily paying for loans that should be forgiven,” said Bobbi Lum-Mew, HPEAP Program Administrator.  “This is the latest effort by state and federal officials to reach these Hawaii residents and put money back in their pockets.”

 HPEAP’s outreach will be sent to students who fall within the U.S. Department of Education’s findings of fraud discussed above, and who are eligible for a special “streamlined” process to discharge their federal student loans.  However, any student who attended Corinthian Colleges and believes that the school lied about job prospects, the transferability of credits, or other issues may apply to have their federal student loans canceled using the Department of Education’s universal discharge application at https://borrowerdischarge.ed.gov.  More information is available at https://studentaid.ed.gov/borrower-defense.

Borrowers should beware of student loan scams.  You can apply for loan forgiveness, or get information on loan forgiveness, for FREE through the U.S. Department of Education.  The U.S. Department of Education never charges application or maintenance fees, so if you’re asked to pay, walk away.

It may take time for the U.S. Dept. of Education to process applications, so anyone who applies for loan discharge should continue making payments on the affected loans until informed by the U.S. Dept. of Education or his loan servicer that his federal loans are in forbearance while his application is pending or that his loans have been cancelled.

If you have questions, more information about the Office’s outreach to former Corinthian Colleges students can be found at http://www.HealdOutreach.com.  Students can also call the U.S. Department of Education hotline at 1-855-279-6207 or e-mail questions about discharge of their federal student loans to FSAOperations@ed.gov.

Leeward Oahu Administrator Named Hawaii’s 2017 National Distinguished Principal

The Hawaii Elementary and Middle Schools Administrators Association today named Principal Nelson Shigeta from Makaha Elementary School as the 2017 National Distinguished Principal. Shigeta will join the National Association of Elementary School Principals awardees from the other 49 states in Washington D.C. in October.

2017 National Distinguished Principal Nelson Shigeta thanks his staff and praises other nominees and administrators. Photo Credit: Department of Education

“These school leaders possess strong collaborative values, working with their teachers and staff to create effective school communities to support students,” said Deputy Superintendent Keith Hayashi. “Congratulations to all of the nominees, Principal Nelson Shigeta and the Outstanding Vice Principal of the Year Greg Nakasone.”

Shigeta is a veteran educator who has spent many years on the Leeward Coast. He values technology and has identified ways to incorporate 21st Century Learning strategies to improve reading proficiency, and increased the number of 1:1 devices available to students in order to enhance access to leveled texts in each classroom. As a result, students have spent more than 5,000 hours reading a total of 19,000 books, and reading proficiency has improved in numerous areas.

“I’m humbled to be recognized, especially after hearing the stories of the other nominees,” shared Shigeta. “Leadership is a team effort and one of the things I’m most proud of at Makaha Elementary School is my staff who work hard everyday to meet the needs of our students. This award means so much to me because it recognizes their commitment too.”

The other 2017 National Distinguished Principal (NDP) nominees who were honored include:

  • Alison Higa, Shafter Elementary School
  • Darlene Javar, Naalehu Elementary School
  • Gay Kong, Keolu Elementary School
  • Jason Yoshida, King Kaumualii Elementary School
  • Kim Mukai-Ontai, Kamalii Elementary School
  • Laura Vines, Kalihi Kai Elementary School

Front Row (L to R): Nelson Shigeta, Laura Vines, Darlene Javar; Second Row (L to R): Gay Kong, Kim Mukai-Ontai, Alison Higa, Jason Yoshida, Greg Nakasone. Photo Credit: Department of Education

The 2017 NDP awards took place at the Hale Koa Hotel and were sponsored by Oceanic Time Warner Cable, Hawaii USA Federal Credit Union and VALIC.

The Hawaii Elementary and Middle Schools Administrators Association (HEMSAA) is the local chapter of the National Association of Elementary School Principals. The purpose of HEMSAA is to facilitate positive educational leadership and serve as a voice for elementary, middle-level principals and other members. For more information, click here.

Students from Kalani High School Power Ahead to 20th Annual National Ocean Sciences Competition

Kalani High School students will be competing for the first time in the National Ocean Sciences Bowl. The 20th annual Nationals Finals Competition will take place April 22-23 at Oregon State University. The team joins 24 other regional winners out of a total of 392 competing teams.

L to R: Zoe Asahan, Rovi Porter, Mika Ishii, Daniel Huang, David Higashi, Coach Leslie Hamasaki.  Photo Credit: Kalani High School

Students from Kalani High School will compete against other top high school scholars in the 20th annual National Finals Competition of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB) this Sat., April 22 and Sun., April 23. The team won the Hawaii regional competition and joins 24 other regional winners (out of a total of 392 competing teams) at the finals at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon.

“This is the first time that students from Kalani High School will be competing in the National Ocean Sciences Bowl, and we are excited to cheer them on this weekend,” said Principal Mitchell Otani. “The lessons and skills the students have learned by preparing for the competitions have given them a strong foundation as they pursue post-secondary opportunities in science-related fields as well as public policy.”

Students will test their knowledge of ocean-related topics, which include cross-disciplines of biology, chemistry, policy, physics, and geology by answering buzzer-style, multiple choice questions, and longer, critical thinking-based team challenge questions. They will also participate in the Science Expert Briefing, a mock congressional hearing where they present science recommendations on a piece of legislation, enhancing their critical thinking skills and building a better understanding of the broader context of science.

The Kalani High School team consists of: Zoe Asahan, David Higashi, Daniel Huang, Mika Ishii and Rovi Porter.

The NOSB, a program of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, is building the next generation of ocean-literate citizens and scientists, educating them on timely topics that will remain relevant for years to come. The Finals competition theme this year is “Blue Energy: Powering the Planet With Our Ocean.”

Follow the Kalani High School team at the NOSB National Finals competition this weekend on Twitter (@NOSBRocks), FacebookInstagram, and Tumblr, using #NOSB17 and #NOSBturns20.

Big Island Students Qualify for National Speech and Debate Tournament

Parker School qualified five students for the National Speech and Debate Tournament during the three-day Hawai’i Speech and Debate State Tournament held at Kamehameha and Punahou Schools on O’ahu April 6-8, 2017.  This sets a new school record for the number of students to qualify for nationals during a single season.

Five Parker School students qualified for the National Speech and Debate Tournament in Alabama during the recent Hawai’i Speech and Debate State Tournament April 6-8, 2017.

Parker junior Kirk Hubbard, IV and senior Susie Krall placed first in Varsity Policy Debate, followed by Parker sophomores Zoe Vann and Anna Gaglione earning second place. By placing first and second, both Parker debate teams instantly qualified for the National Speech and Debate Tournament in Alabama in June and are the only two teams to represent Hawai’i at the national level. Parker freshman Hunter Kalahiki-Arnbrister also qualified for the national tournament after placing second in Program Oral Interpretation.

Other highlights include freshman Jordan Vedelli and junior Zach Mader taking first place in Junior Varsity Policy Debate, with freshmen Tyler Thomas and Hiroki Soler placing second.  In addition, senior Alex Coley placed fourth in Championship Lincoln Douglas, sophomore Colin Klimt fourth in Student Congress, sophomore Malia Dills fourth in International Extemporaneous Speaking and junior Kirk Hubbard IV placed fifth in Impromptu Speaking. In the program’s eleventh year, the debate team sent 45 students to compete in the state tournament.

Hawai’i Island schools had a strong presence at this year’s Hawai’i Speech and Debate State Tournament having won half of the six major debate categories. Parker earned top honors in both the Varsity Policy Debate and Junior Varsity Policy Debate, while Hilo High School’s newly founded debate team won Beginning Public Forum.

“Coach Roland Laliberte and the Hilo High School debaters did an amazing job in their first year at states,” says Carl Sturges, Parker School headmaster and debate coach. “Having had regular inter-squad matches with Hilo’s debate team this season, our entire team was excited for their success.”

Multi-Media Dance Show – “Dance of the Bees”

Saturday, May 6, at 7 pm, and Sunday, May 7, at 4 pm, Kahilu Theatre presents Dance of the Bees, a multi-media dance show that examines the life and plight of honeybees. Director Angel Prince is collaborating with local beekeepers to create an artistic and educational show based on a topic that is both relevant, and urgent. Over 100 students from the Kahilu Performing Arts Classes (KPAC), ages five to adult, will come together in this original Kahilu Production.

Photos by Evan Bordessa

“The subject of the honeybee, an insect of which the future of our species is intrinsically tied too, is an urgent matter,” says Angel Prince. “The concept of the show is to elevate the life of the honeybee to a stage performance, in part to raise awareness of the honeybee, and perhaps to soften their image. This show is both entertaining and exuberant and showcases the talented youth and choreographers of the Big Island.”

Dance of the Bees includes contemporary dance, trapeze, aerial silks, hip-hop and breakdancing, and features choreography by Angel Prince, Lynn Barre (Kona), Elizabeth McDonald, Mana Ho‘opai (Hilo), and Kat Reuss, with exciting and eclectic music from Mum, Zoe Keating, Jon Hopkins, and more.

Dance of the Bees will also play for local schools and children in two youth Shows on Wednesday, May 3rd at 9 am and 10:30 am. For more information about the Youth Shows offered at the Theatre please contact Education Coordinator Lisa Shattuck at youth@kahilutheatre.org.

Doors open at 6 pm for the performance on Saturday, May 6, at 7 pm, and at 3 pm for the performance on Sunday, May 7 at 4 pm. There will be snacks and beverages available for sale at the Kahilu Theatre bar. In the Kahiu Galleries, a Climate of Change Juried Exhibit is on display in the Kohala Gallery, and Dance of the Bees – The Exhibit is on display in the Hamakua Gallery. Both exhibits run through May.

Tickets are $38 / $28 / $22 / $16 and available for purchase online at kahilutheatre.org, by calling (808) 885-6868, or at the Kahilu Theatre Box Office at 67-1186 Lindsey Road, Kamuela, HI 96743, M-F 9 am to 1 pm.

This Kahilu Production and these performances are made possible by sponsorship from Terry & Michael Cromwell, Mimi & Brian Kerley, and John & Anne Ryan.

Island Air Honors Explorers Program Graduates

Island Air recently honored 25 students who graduated from its Explorers Program, a 10-week mentorship program that gives high school and college students an opportunity to learn about careers in the aviation industry.

“We are proud of these young men and women for their accomplishment and completion of the Explorers Program,” said David Uchiyama, president and CEO of Island Air. “This is the future generation of Hawai‘i’s aviation industry. We applaud their passion for airline careers and look forward to seeing them follow their dream and obtain local jobs.”

Explorers are offered an in-depth, hands-on overview of the airline industry, learning everything from how airplanes operate to customer relations management and corporate responsibility. The 10-week program provides information for airline related jobs such as pilots, flight attendants, ramp operators and aircraft mechanics, as well as visits and lectures from members of the Federal Aviation Administration, Transportation Security Administration and Air Traffic Control.

In addition to mentorship, the Explorers Program graduates have the opportunity to receive the Jaime Wagatsuma Award, a $1,000 scholarship named in honor of the program advisor and pilot for both Island Air and Aloha Airlines who lost her battle with cancer in 2007. This year Island Air awarded two top achievers. The recipients are Mizuki Wiseman of Leeward Community College and Jordan Fines of Damien Memorial School.

The 25 graduates include:

  • Chad Alcantara-Rillamas – St. Louis High School
  • Phoebe Brandt – Castle High School
  • Carlos Bulan – James Campbell High School
  • Abigail Dang – Home School
  • Dylan Decker – Kalani High School
  • Caleb Dirks – Kaiser High School
  • Marcus Faufata-Pedrina – Damien Memorial School
  • Matthew Faufata-Pedrina – Damien Memorial School
  • Jordan Fines – Damien Memorial School
  • Kawelo Inciong – Kamehameha Schools
  • Kyo Johnson – Leilehua High School
  • Chance Kim – Roosevelt High School
  • Kristen Kop – Mid-Pacific Institute
  • Shane Kunimitsu – Kamehameha Schools
  • Elijah Lewis – Home School
  • Kealani Lui-Kwan – Castle High School
  • Kayla Malta – ‘Iolani School
  • Daylen Masaki – Moanalua High School
  • Cannan Nodine – Kaiser High School
  • Rovi Porter – Kalani High School
  • Wyatt Ross – Kaiser High School
  • Kaylin Urata – Hawaii Baptist Academy
  • Caden Warhawk – Home School
  • Mizuki Wiseman – Leeward Community College
  • Micah Yamamoto – Mid-Pacific Institute

Island Air’s Explorers Program is the only student workforce initiative in the aviation industry on O‘ahu. It became an official Explorer Post of the Boy Scouts of America when the program graduated its first class of students in April 2009. Since its founding, 161 students have completed the course. Many graduates have returned to Island Air for internships or full-time employment.

For more information, visit www.islandair.com/explorers-program.

Walgreens Helps UH Hilo College of Pharmacy with Diversity Initiative Funding

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy received a $7,000 check from retail pharmacy Walgreens to fund a diversity initiative. An additional $5,000 will go toward scholarships to students in the PharmD professional program.

From left, Quinn Taira, Eleanor Wong, Carolyn Ma, Amy Song and Heidi Ho-Muniz

This is the ninth year the college has received funding from Walgreens for diversity. The funds have sponsored educational programs such as a tour of healthcare facilities at Kalaupapa on Molokaʻi.

Walgreens began the diversity program in 2009 to donate $1 million annually toward diversity initiatives at all of the accredited pharmacy schools nationwide.

Eleanor Wong, Walgreens area healthcare supervisor for the San Francisco Peninsula/Hawaiʻi region, presented the check to Dean Carolyn Ma at Walgreens specialty store on Oʻahu. Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy alums Quinn Taira and Amy Song, who both work at the retail store, were in attendance along with Heidi Ho-Muniz, district manager for Walgreens Pharmacy and Retail Operations.

“We are grateful for this initiative that has helped our student pharmacists through the years and strengthened our own commitment to promoting and embracing diversity,” Ma said.

The University of Hawaiʻi Foundation, a nonprofit organization, raises private funds to support the University of Hawaiʻi System. The mission of the University of Hawaiʻi Foundation is to unite donors’ passions with the University of Hawaiʻi’s aspirations by raising philanthropic support and managing private investments to benefit UH, the people of Hawaiʻi and our future generations www.uhfoundation.org.

Kona Historical Society and Ke Kai Ola Present Free Monk Seal Lecture

Kona Historical Society is pleased to partner with The Marine Mammal Center’s Ke Kai Ola: The Hawaiian Monk Seal Hospital to present “A Natural History of the Hawaiian Monk Seal,” the April installment of the 2017 Hanohano ‘O Kona Lecture Series. The lecture is free to the public and is scheduled for Wednesday, April 26, 2017 at 5:30pm at the West Hawaii Civic Center.
 
During their presentation, Ke Kai Ola’s outreach and rescue staff will explore the natural history of the Native Hawaiian Monk Seal, including the historical and cultural significance of this endangered species. Hawaiian Monk seals are native to Hawaii and are not found anywhere else in the world; they are also the most endangered animal species in the world. In 2014, The Marine Mammal Center opened “Ke Kai Ola” (“The Healing Sea”) a hospital and education center dedicated to caring for injured, ill, and orphaned Hawaiian monk seals and returning them to the wild.
For the past six years, Kona Historical Society has offered this community lecture series, spotlighting local and state speakers on a wide variety of cultural and historical subjects. It is a gift from the Society to the community that has supported it for so long and it is presented in cooperation with the County of Hawaii. The lectures are free of charge and open to all, residents and visitors alike.

Big Island High School Senior Earns National Art Award

Parker School is pleased to announce senior Eric Fetsch has earned national recognition in the 2017 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, presented by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers.

Eric Fetsch

Fetsch was selected by a panel of creative professionals as the most accomplished in the nation and received a Scholastic National Silver medal award for his art portfolio titled “Human Figures.” His portfolio included 10 sculptures of the human figure in clay and is one of the most prestigious categories as it shows a sustained level of excellence over multiple works in both concept and execution.

This year, more than 330,000 works of art and writing were submitted, with approximately 18,800 submissions receiving a Gold Key award – the highest honor at the regional level. Fetsch is among the top 1% of only 2,740 students to be awarded at the national level.

Fetsch has been invited to attend a ceremony at the world-famous Carnegie Hall on June 8 and to participate in showcase events at Parsons School for Design at The New School and Pratt Institute’s Pratt Manhattan Gallery in New York City.

Nine additional Parker high school students earned regional recognition out of more than 1,500 submissions in the state, including Shea Ervin (grade 10), Riley Herendeen (grade 11), and Coco Romano Giordano (grade 12) who each earned Gold Key awards.

Since 1923, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards have recognized creative teenagers from across the country. By earning this award, Fetsch joins a legacy of celebrated authors and artists including Andy Warhol, Sylvia Plath, Robert Redford, Lena Dunham, and many more.

Parker School Raises $205,000 for Student Financial Aid

Parker School held its 12th annual Kahiau auction gala for financial aid on March 4 at the Fairmont Orchid along the Kohala Coast.  Over 250 people attended this evening event which raised approximately $205,000.

Parker senior Alex Coley shares appreciation for the support and encouragement the school has shown during high school years.

Nearly 50 percent of the 340 kindergarten through grade 12 students at Parker receive financial assistance, which is nearly triple the national average of approximately 18 percent.  This commitment by Parker School helps make the dream of an independent education possible for more children on Hawaii Island. Kahiau, meaning “to give generously from the heart,” is the school’s primary source of financial aid and funding.  Attendees enjoyed cocktails, pupus, a sit-down dinner, live and silent auction, plus dancing.

The highlight of the evening was a speech given by Parker senior, Alex Coley, regarding his appreciation for the support and encouragement Parker School offered during his high school years. Attendees responded to the senior’s speech by donating nearly $98,000 during the “raise the paddle” portion of the evening.

Parker School is grateful to the Fairmont Orchid, sponsors, donors, volunteers, and attendees who helped make the dream of an independent, college preparatory education possible for more families.

Industry-Led Coalition Launched to Prepare Next Generation of Hawaii Workforce

The Hawaii State Department of Education announced its Connect to Careers (C2C) coalition today alongside business and education partners. The initiative is designed to collaboratively prepare students for success in high-skill, in-demand career pathways.

Legislators and business and education leaders came together to launch the C2C coalition. Photo Credit: Department of Education

The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) announced its Connect to Careers (C2C) coalition today alongside business and education partners including the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii, Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) and the Hawaii Carpenters Apprenticeship and Training Fund. The initiative is designed to collaboratively prepare students for success in high-skill, in-demand career pathways.

“Preparing students to be ready for life after high school is an evolving target, and it is important that professionals from various industries and trades are involved to ensure we are providing the right skill sets and aptitudes in our schools,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We are thrilled to launch C2C and grow Hawaii’s future workforce and economy, and thank our partners for supporting and investing in our students.”

The effort has three pillars:

  1. Business-led: Industry identifies needed entry-level skill sets and employability qualities, and collaborates on degrees and certifications that prepare students for these opportunities.
  2. Aligned curriculum and opportunities: The K-12 and post-secondary educational systems coordinate relevant and rigorous learning pathways that answer these needs.
  3. Tracking effectiveness: Industry identifies needed entry-level skill sets and employability qualities, and collaborates on degrees and certifications that prepare students for these opportunities.

“When we have a strong workforce, it creates a healthy economy,” stated Linda Chu Takayama, DLIR director.  “By educating our middle and high school students about the practical application of their skills after they graduate, our kids not only have a shot at employment but also we put them on a path for their future careers.”

The announcement took place in Kapolei at the Hawaii Carpenters Apprenticeship and Training Fund site.

“For our local construction industry, this is a valuable partnership,” said Edmund Aczon, executive director, Hawaii Carpenters Apprenticeship and Training Fund. “Currently we have programs underway at Kahuku, Waianae and McKinley high schools. In addition to aligned curriculum, we have teacher support and coursework at community colleges.”

The Chamber of Commerce Hawaii and the University of Hawaii are leading industry partners.

“During our sessions we are able to determine what career pathways are needed most and discuss the changes that are taking place in our industry sectors,” stated Sherry Menor-McNamara, president and chief executive officer, Chamber Commerce of Hawaii. “C2C is transformative work that we believe will put students on a path towards success and result in an innovative workforce.”

For more information about C2C, visit http://bit.ly/Connect2Careers.

Ongoing Partner Investment

The C2C coalition building and planning was first facilitated through the New Skills for Youth grant that was competitively awarded to HIDOE in 2016 from JPMorgan Chase in partnership with the Council of Chief State School Officers and Advance CTE. Hawaii was among 24 states and the District of Columbia to receive the New Skills for Youth grant.

C2C industry partner Harold K. Castle Foundation recently approved up to $200,000 to be spent towards Career and Technical Education within C2C to improve, enhance and expand career academies. The following six schools were awarded funds for the following initiatives:

  • Waipahu High School: $30,000 to expand quality and rigor to three more high school academies so that all five meet National Standards of Practice and achieve National Certification as model academies.
  • Farrington High School: $29,600 for the Health Academy to meet National Standards of Practice and achieve National Certification as a model academy.
  • Kapaa High School: $29,100 to create the Natural Resource Academy.
  • Kapolei High School: $20,550 to improve overall governance, student voice and staff capacity as a wall-to-wall academy school that offers eight career academies.
  • Waimea High School: $28,513 to expand the Engineering Academy and create the Natural Resource academy.
  • Pearl City High School: $30,000 to help the school transition to wall-to-wall academies in school year 2018-19 as well as to improve the rigor of the existing SALT Academy.

In total, $167,763 was awarded directly to selected high schools. The Castle Foundation  also budgeted $12,500 for a mid-point gathering in October 2018 and $19,500 for the National Career Academy Coalition to conduct a Baseline Analysis in each participating high school at the end of the grant period as way to gauge progress and impact.

“We understand the benefit of investing in areas that connect our students to career opportunities and these schools are committed to developing educational pathways for students,” shared Alex Harris, senior program officer for education, Harold K. Castle Foundation. “We congratulate all of the schools and look forward to seeing the progress of the career academies.”

Grants Approved for Digital Repository of Spoken Hawaiian Language

Grants approved for digital repository of spoken Hawaiian language
The National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) have collectively awarded grants totaling $448,464 over a three-year period to fund a project involving multiple University of Hawaiʻi campuses to build a digital online repository of spoken Hawaiian language, or ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi.

Principal Investigator Keiki Kawai`ae`a, director of Ka Haka ʻUla O Ke`elikōlani (KHUOK) College of Hawaiian Language at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo

The NSF grant is for $283,464, while the NEH portion totals $165,000. The awards are effective August 1, 2017 and will be managed by Principal Investigator Keiki Kawai`ae`a, director of Ka Haka ʻUla O Ke`elikōlani (KHUOK) College of Hawaiian Language at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, along with co-Principal Investigators Larry Kimura, associate professor at KHUOK, and Andrea Berez-Kroeker, associate professor in the Department of Linguistics at UH Mānoa.

The project, entitled “Building a Hawaiian Spoken Language Repository,” will create Kani`āina, a digital corpus of recordings and transcripts of Native Hawaiian language. Kani`āina will feature hundreds of hours of audio and video recordings, fully searchable transcripts in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, catalog information in both English and ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, and a unique crowd-sourcing feature for soliciting enhanced transcription and content-tagging of the recordings from the public.

The recordings and transcripts will be accessible online at Ulukau: The Hawaiian Electronic Library, beginning with Phase 1 of the first two collections: Ka Leo Hawaiʻi and Kū i ka Mānaleo, later this year. The content will be archived for long-term preservation in Kaipuleohone, the University of Hawaiʻi Digital Language Archive, which is part of ScholarSpace, the UH institutional repository.

Kawai`ae`a says the awards also include funding for undergraduate research opportunities and for a cross-campus graduate educational exchange in language documentation and revitalization, which is especially timely.

“We are elated that we can now move toward building a larger public repository of audio and visual native speaker collections to support the growing population of Hawaiian speakers,” Kawai`ae`a said. “Kani`āina comes at a crucial time when the number of Hawaiian speakers is increasing as the last of the native speaking elders is rapidly dwindling. We now estimate the number of elder native speakers outside of the Ni`ihau community to total between 20 and 30.”

Data from an April 2016 report by the State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism on Hawaiʻi’s non-English speaking population found the number of persons aged 5 and older who spoke Hawaiian at home statewide totaled 18,400. Kawai`ae`a also noted that more than 3,000 students are presently enrolled in Hawaiian-immersion schools P-12, while 13,500 are enrolled in Hawaiian language coursework in public and private educational institutions, and 2,000 students are enrolled in similar coursework at UH campuses.

Kawai`ae`a says the broader impacts of Kani`āina will include its integration into immersion-based language education from pre-school to the university level, Hawaiian knowledge in the natural and social sciences, and beyond. The project will also engage underrepresented groups as citizen scientists through its creation of a publicly available corpus of an endangered U.S. language.