Rail Team to Donate $25,000 to Hawaii Academy of Science to Help Sustain Science Fair

Media Release:

The Honolulu Rail for Growth (HRFG) team of companies will be collectively donating $25,000 to the Hawaii Academy of Science to support the Hawaii State Science and Engineering Fair (HSSEF). Each member of the Honolulu Rail for Growth team is contributing $5,000 to the donation. The team is led by Sumitomo Corporation of America (SCOA) and includes partners Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America, Inc. (MHIA), KINKISHARYO International, LLC (KI), Thales Transport & Security, Inc. and Wasa Electrical Services, Inc.

The Hawaii State Science and Engineering Fair is an enrichment program that stimulates interest in science and encourages students throughout the islands to enter science and engineering-related careers. Now in its 53rd year, the science and engineering fair is the oldest and largest science education program in Hawaii with nearly 12,000 schoolchildren participating each year statewide. The science fair will take place next week at the Hawaii Convention Center on April 6 & 7th.

Recent reports that the state legislature had cut funding for the HSSEF due to the state’s budget deficit prompted this donation. Chairman of the Hawaii Science Academy’s fund-raising committee, eye surgeon Dr. Neal Atebara, who was co-winner of the 1981 fair, called it the biggest crisis in the science fair’s history…

Commenting on HRFG’s decision to respond to this need, Vice President of Transportation Systems and Equipment for Sumitomo Corporation of America, Gino Antoniello, said, “I am proud that our team has come together in support of such an important issue, I have two daughters and throughout their scholastic years, I have helped on many science projects. “Besides the reward of spending time with my daughters, I believe science fairs can help bring out the potential in our future scientists and engineers.”

Other team members agree that business has a vested interest in nurturing learning that will steer young people to careers in science and engineering.

According to Hiromichi Morimoto, President of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America, “We have participated in youth education events around the country for years, and are very proud to be able to contribute to the ongoing success of the Hawaii State Science and Engineering Fair.”

“Bringing a state of the art METRO Rail system to Honolulu will present career opportunities for local engineers and technicians for generations to come.  This is not only an investment in the Hawaii Science Academy, but also an investment in the future success of our team, the City, and most importantly the Island’s youth,” said Rainer Hombach, vice president and general manager of KINKISHARYO International LLC,

Students will have the opportunity to interact with professional scientists and engineers at the fair. Antoniello will serve as one of the fair’s celebrity judges this year.

“We are very grateful to get this kind of support from the Honolulu Rail For Growth team and look forward to more businesses following their lead. Our students need this kind of experience to stimulate them to achieve academic success,” said Dr. Gareth Wynn Williams, the Hawaii Academy of Science President-elect.

“Student achievement is recognized and rewarded at the science and engineering fair,” said Carolyn Kaichi, Executive Director of the Hawaii Academy of Science. “This donation will help us sustain the event.”

From Honolulu to the World Stage

As they’ve done in the past, this year about 20 students from HSSEF will be awarded the opportunity to visit the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair from May 9-14 in San Jose, California. It is the world’s largest pre-college science and engineering competition and brings together 1,500 young scientists and engineers from up to 50 countries annually.

“This kind of exposure for these young students is vital to educational and economic growth and to building for the future,” added Antoniello

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