Hawaii Students Going for the Gold

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Graphic by Emily Metcalf

BY JORENE BARUT FOR THE HAWAII DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION – Kahuku High School linebacker Benetton “Benny” Fonua signed a Letter of Intent to play for the UH-Manoa Warriors while defensive back Mekelo Barkley Fiso signed with the Western Oregon Wolves.

* TV game show “Play SMART Hawaii” saw Kahaluu School beat Sacred Heart Academy in the first round of play presented by the Audio Visual Company and airing on Oceanic 16. Kahaluu and Ahuimanu Elementary School will appear in upcoming matches.


* Hawaiian Electric Company chose Kahaluu 5th grader LeNora Suguturaga as a winner of its Home Energy Challenge. Her award-winning poster depicted a New Year’s resolution for saving energy in 2012.

* Waiahole Elementary School was awarded $5,500 from the Minami Foundation. The school’s proposal is for an outdoor marquee to support family engagement and promote school-community communication.

* The students of the Windward District Intensive Learning Center worked together to write a story about Uncle Eldean Kukahiko’s Ukulele Project. Uncle Eldean teaches the 96744 5Rs through music and ukulele classes at Kahaluu, Waiahole and the ILC.  The students submitted their story to the E OLA PONO Campaign that promotes pono and peace. Uncle Eldean’s Project received a second place award.

* Sunset Beach Elementary was awarded a $500 Hawaii Energy Education Grant, which will go toward the purchase of energy-audit equipment and material to help 4th to 6th graders build electrical generators. The projects serve to meet state benchmarks in science and reduce school expenses.

* Kahaluu has started an Extended Learning Opportunities after-school program funded by the 21st Century Grant. More than 70 students continue learning in school until 4:30 p.m. four days a week and engage in computer-based programs Achieve 3000 and Math Whizz.

* The Kahuku Band won the 2nd Annual Kapolei Marching Band Festival, earning top honors out of 14 high school bands. * Redbull, really? Fifty King Intermediate students participated in the annual King Science Fair and five students’ projects advanced to the Windward District Science Fair 2012 this month. The five budding scientists are: Peter Johnson, Strength of Triangles, a Mechanical Engineering Project; Lauren Takasato, Brainersize; Rylan Tagonan, Flamin’ Hot Colors a Physics experiment; and Julianne Matsumoto and Leia Gladstone, RedBull: Gives your Brain Wings.

* Kahuku JROTC took first place at the statewide West Point Society Drill Meet last month, when more than 200 cadets from 20-plus schools competed. * Kahuku High School students prevailed in the We the People Competition. The team, led by advisor Jan Harney, bested three teams from Iolani and a charter school as well as others, and is bound for the national competition. The program is designed to encourage and enhance the teaching, study, and understanding of American history and the democratic principles of the U.S. Constitution.

*For the first time in the We the People Competition, an elementary school fielded an exhibition team. Laie Elementary fifth graders and their advisors Colleen Spring, Sandy Alulii, Lisa Morelock, and Sineha Tupolu, demonstrated through courtroom arguments, a degree of proficiency regarding the Constitution that would be the envy of many AP US history teachers. In March, Kamehameha School students will join Kahuku students for a simulated congressional hearing hosted by the Hawaii State Judiciary. The winning school travels to Washington, D.C., for the national competition in April.

* Waiahole was a recipient of a Distinguished Schools Award from the DOE for achieving 10 percent academic growth during the past five years.

* Punahou School‘s Partnership in Unlimited Educational Opportunities has selected ten fifth and sixth graders from Kahaluu to participate in its program through their graduation from Castle High School. Each summer, participants attend a summer enrichment program to prepare them to be college and career ready. Currently, the program includes 20 students at Kahaluu, 20 at King Intermediate and 80 at Castle.

* Thirteen students from King have advanced to the next competition level of the 2012 Windward District History Day this month. Their projects include exhibits, essays and documentaries modeled after the theme, “Revolution, Reaction and Reform in History.”

* Keawe Saizon, Caleb Kukahiko, Lehua Kane-Badiyo, Thomas Cathcart and their clever projects at Waiahole were nominated by the UH Tech Together team to participate in the Recycle, Reduce, Reuse Windward Fair at the Windward Mall in May.

* The Kahuku Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Program was recognized as an Honor Unit with Distinction for Hawaii. Members from the 8th Brigade, U.S. Army Cadet Command of Ft. Lewis, Wash., oversaw a formal inspection of 18 areas including a drill team performance. This distinction earned Kahuku five appointments to the nation’s military academies.

* King math teacher Gwynne Staton earned the prestigious National Board Certification. This highest teacher certification is achieved through a rigorous, performance-based assessment and the process that takes three years to complete.

* King’s National Junior Honor Society received a certificate of appreciation from the soldiers of the 368th Military Police Company in Kuwait for the Christmas care packages that were sent to each company member.

* Hawaiian Language Immersion Program students at Puohala Elementary School and their kumus attended a legislative hearing at the state capitol, where they witnessed the decision-making process behind the creation of Hawaii State Assessment testing for Hawaiian Immersion students. HLIP students at Hauula Elementary School also attended and learned about the democratic process at the legislative hearing.

*Over 300 Castle High students participated in the Mock Interviews held at Windward Community College. The interviews were conducted by area businesses, and agencies that partner with the school. The interviews are conducted to provide students with real world experiences and some students actually were hired.

* College for Every Student activities were part of a college awareness week where Castle students experienced a variety of college related activities.

*Castle High and Kahuku High schools will play for the OIA White Division Championship in boys soccer February 11. They are the best teams in the league.

* Castle will be conducting their first “Under the Stars” outdoor dance for all students. Honor roll students receive free admission.* Ninety-two students from Japan will visit Castle High School February 21. The students are from Musashino Seijo.  Musashino is a sister school to Castle High. This visit marks the 25th anniversary of the sisterhood. *Heeia Elementary is a nominee for a National Blue Ribbon Award.

*Kahuku High and Intermediate will hold a Mock Congress event at Turtle Bay Hilton on March 8, 2012. * Castle Complex elementary school students were selected to participate in the complex’s performance of “Zombie Prom” on February 21 and 22 at the Ron Bright Theater. The fifth and sixth grade students were selected after completing a school-based residency in performing arts.

* King students met the required adequate yearly progress benchmarks last school year. Confident that they can repeat that success, students and teachers  kicked off the Hawaii State Assessment testing period with an outdoor assembly featuring Vaimatina, a troupe of fire knife dancers directed by three-time World Champion Fire Knife Dancer David Galeai. The performance reinforced the theme, “Fire It Up for HSA.”

* The Windward District Science and Engineering Fair, held at Windward Community College on February 9, 10 and 11 had student projects from 15 of the 16 Castle/Kahuku schools. In all, 28 Windward public schools and one charter school had science fair projects. Windward District vice-principals coordinated the fair this year.

* The Windward District’s History Day will be held at the King Cafeteria on Sat., February 18. Student projects will include research papers, displays, performances, Web sites and documentaries. Winners recommended by the judges at the Windward District Science Fair and History Day will go on the state level competitions.

* Kahuku High’s Girls and Boys Varsity Basketball teams are currently in the state championship playoffs.