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Hawaii House of Representatives Recognizes Hawaii's Advocates for Military Children

The Hawaii House of Representatives on April 1, 2013 celebrated the Month of the Military Child by recognizing a few outstanding advocates for military children. (L-R, Front Row: Cherise Imai, Military Liaison for the Hawaii Department of Education; Sonya Bonet, Deputy Director for the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation; John Brummel, Central District Complex Area Superintendent; Jason Kawaguchi, school counselor; Command Sergeant Major Philip Brunwald representing the United States Army Garrison Hawaii; Cathy Ferreira, school administrative service assistant; Brenda Lowrey, Department of Education Facilities Office; Wendy Nakasone, Director of School Support Services for the United States Army Garrison Hawaii; and Tamsin Keone, Army school liaison officer. L-R, Back Row: Rep. Scott Nishimoto, Rep. Aaron Johanson, Rep. Lauren Cheape, and Rep. K. Mark Takai.

FROM THE OFFICE OF REP. K. MARK TAKAI - The Hawaii State House of Representatives approved a House Resolution recognizing Hawaii's advocates for military children on Monday, April 1, 2013, the first day of the Month of the Military Child.

"April is the Month of the Military Child, a time to honor youth impacted by deployments. We wear purple (the color that symbolizes all branches of the military) to show our support and to thank military children for their strength and sacrifice," said Rep. K. Mark Takai, who introduced the resolution.

Military families tend to move quite frequently between military bases, and while reassignments can often be a boon for a military career, they can be difficult for the children of military families, Takai added.

According to the latest figures, the average military student faces transition challenges more than twice during high school, and most military children will attend six to nine different school systems in their lives from kindergarten through the twelfth grade.

"Our military children and military families help sustain our fighting force. Our deployed service members need to focus on the fight. They must not worry about their children or family back in Hawaii. This is why support for our schools, especially those on our military bases, is critical," added Takai, who is the Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans, Military and International Affairs.

On March 7, the Hawaii Congressional Delegation announced that Hale Kula Elementary School received a $26.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense. The state provided matching funds of an additional $6.6 million.

Hale Kula Elementary, a public school located on Schofield Barracks, serves a student population of 1,000 students, which includes 98 percent military dependent children. The grant will help the school make critical facility improvements in order to address student overcrowding.

Facilities at Hale Kula Elementary school were built in 1969 and there have been no upgrades or additional buildings since. Plans include a new two-story classroom building, a student center, a library-media center and additional classrooms. Project groundbreaking is expected to begin this summer.

The late U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye inserted $250 million into the military spending bill for fiscal year 2011 to “address capacity or facility condition deficiencies” at base schools, which Congress passed in April 2011.

"I especially want to recognize the leadership of Cherise Imai, who also serves as a board member of the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools and as a board member of the National Military Impacted Schools Association. Her efforts at the national level helped to secure these much-needed funds," Takai said.

"Besides Senator Inouye’s leadership as our champion on this effort, I also want to recognize both U.S. Senator MazieHirono and U.S. Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa who also were very supportive of this program for schools on military bases like Hale Kula Elementary," Takai added.

Receiving the accolades and certificates from the House of Representatives were:

  • Dr. John Brummel , Central District Complex Area Superintendent;
  • Brenda Lowrey from the Department of Education Facilities Office;
  • Command Sergeant Major Philip Brunwald representing the United States Army Garrison Hawaii;
  • Wendy Nakasone, Director of School Support Services for the United States Army Garrison Hawaii;
  • Ms. Cherise Imai, Department of Education Military Liaison;
  • Jason Kawaguchi, Counselor from Hale Kula Elementary School;
  • Cathy Ferreira, School Administrative Service Assistant from  Hale Kula Elementary School;
  • Tamsin Keone, Army School Liaison; and
  • Sonya Bonet, Deputy Director, Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.

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