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Aka’ula’s Big Night

Photo by Noelani Lee

On a windy Saturday night in Kaunakakai, Aka’ula School hosted their Ku Ka Lau Lama fundraiser for the first time since 2019 at the Molokai Community Health Center. Well-dressed students transformed into waiters and entertainers for the night for their families and community supporters as artwork, coolers, crossbows and more were auctioned off to the crowd.

Proceeds from the event went to support the financial aid program for the fifth through 12th grade private school, according to Victoria Newberry, an administrator at the school.

In addition to the general fundraiser, attendees could contribute specific “giving tree” gifts to students. These included art supplies, school materials, ceramics classes, water polo clinics and more.

A message from the school’s board explained that “community support is critical to the continued success of the school. We look back on the last 20 years with appreciation for the kokua of those who have made our path smoother.”

During the event, kupuna Zennie Sawyer was honored with this year’s lifetime education achievement award for her years of work in activism, art and education.

“Zennie remains a one-woman show, doing her own designing, making screens, hand printing every garment and processing everything,” read a statement from Aka’ula.

The statement likewise highlighted a quote from Sawyer, which read, “ask yourself…how can I be a blessing today and who can I bless?”

The memorable night closed with a variety of student performances including hula, stand-up comedy and a singing of Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler.”


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