Founders of Virtual Hawaii 5-0 Kukui High Partner with Koolauloa Educational Alliance Corporation for Real Educational Efforts

article top

A movement born of a fictional high school has taken a first step in doing real good. Kukui High has entered into a financial sponsorship arrangement with the Koolauloa Educational Alliance Corporation (KEAC).

As a result of this partnership, a portion of proceeds generated through Kukui High merchandise and events will go toward supporting KEAC initiatives. Both parties will also collaborate on dedicated fundraising activities, and develop unique programs that embody the Kukui High spirit.


“We were just overwhelmed by the fun energy and creativity that was inspired by Kukui High, and knew from the start we wanted to channel that toward a good cause,” said Kukui High co-founder Valentino Valdez.

“There was no shortage of worthy causes, but the KEAC seemed like a perfect match, both because we always envisioned an educational focus for our efforts, and because Kukui High and Kahuku High share a very special connection,” said co-founder Ryan Ozawa.

The Kukui High name comes from a line of dialogue in the pilot episode of CBS’ hit series, “Hawaii Five-0.” The fictional school name, invoked as the alma mater of characters Steve McGarrett and Chin Ho Kelly, was changed at the last-minute from Kahuku High School.

Founded in 1996, the KEAC supports students in the Kahuku School Complex, and was one of the first non-profits to link businesses to public schools. Its programs include scholarships, school-to-work training, and KAHUKU.ORG, an online store that fosters student entrepreneurship.

Among the many possibilities being considered for this new partnership are a Kukui High School Scholarship Fund, and grants to schools for entrepreneurial projects.

“Since KEAC and KAHUKU.ORG support Career Pathways education in the Kahuku Complex Schools, linking with Kukui High seemed like an appropriate match since their goals are similar, but cover a broader geographic area,” said KEAC president Keoki Wallace. “We hope this collaboration can develop a program that will serve as a model to help other school and youth groups set up their own entrepreneurial endeavors.”

The partnership was spearheaded by MaryAnne Long, former KEAC president and Koolauloa Neighborhood Board member. Long will serve as advisor and liason to Kukui High.

The first Kukui High event is a “All Year Reunion” dance party being organized by KUMU 94.7, “Hawaii’s Old-School Station.” The 21+ event will feature classic tunes, drinks and pupus, and a great opportunity for Kukui High alumni to meet or reconnect. Kukui High apparel — designed by Valdez and sold exclusively through Butigroove — will be available for purchase. Butigroove founder B.J. Sabate has committed a portion of the proceeds to KEAC, and other creative fundraising
activities are planned. The event will be held Saturday, Nov. 13 at Oceans 808 in Restaurant Row.

Meanwhile, plans are in the works to stage a full-scale Kukui High Winter Ball, featuring all the charms and cheesy trappings of a real high school prom. For more information, visit

About Kukui High

Kukui High was launched Sept. 21, the day after the “Hawaii Five-0” premiere, and quickly found over 3,500 fans on Facebook and over 750 followers Twitter. It has also been featured in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, on HawaiiNewsNow, on several local radio stations, and across several blogs. It’s the latest collaboration between Valdez and Ozawa, who previously worked together on other projects inspired and driven by social media. The pair have finally made their partnership official, last week forming a company to house their unique style of geeky creativity: In Real Life, LLC.

Submitted by project organizers Valentino Valdez (; Ryan Ozawa (; and MaryAnne Long (