Big Fundraiser for Big Island Trip

Funds to support Kilohana students’ off-island studies.

By Jennifer Smith

Community members came out in a big way to support Kilohana Elementary School students during last Saturday’s entertainment-filled fundraiser. The event held at Hotel Molokai exceeded expectations, and provided the funds necessary to send sixth-graders on study trip to the Big Island.

Among the many young attendees, was sixth-grader Keano Kakaio. He learned about the Big Island during the fourth-grade and said he is excited for his first trip to the Big Island.

“I would like to see the lava flows and the eruptions at night,” Keano said. “I’m also excited about going bowling,” he said with a large smile.

Educational Assistant Lani Sawyer will chaperone the trip in May. Her mother, Zennie Sawyer, helped to create the study trip’s curriculum 16 years ago.

For the first time in five years, Sawyer said Kilohana students will once again travel to the Big Island to see the lava flow at the National Park, visit the Imiloa Astronomy Center, and learn about the history of the islands. The students will also spend a day career-shadowing at the Hilton Waikoloa Village.

“This trip helps the kids mature” and allows them to bond, to see how much more is out there – all of the opportunities, Sawyer said. “They are like different kids when they come back.”

Sixth-grade teacher Lisa Palmer said the students will study about volcanoes and the Big Island before their trip. The students will also learn chants and protocols to prepare them for cultural site visits.

“We are really looking forward to it,” Palmer said. “We will travel together and learn together.” She said the students will have homework every night, and do a lot of reflection on the experiences they gain.

Six Pak and Mobettah band guitar player Rick Schonely fulfilled his duties as dad to Kilohana sixth-grader Likeke by arranging the musical entertainment for the event. Shonely said he had no problem convincing Lono, Eddie English and Friends, Eddie Tanaka and Friends, and the Mobettah Band to donate their time to play at the event. “If it’s for the kids, we donate our time. Musicians always give their time for the kids.”

Halau Hula `o Kilohana kumu and mother to sixth-grader Joy Kealoha also did double-duty at the event, as her dancers graced the stage throughout the evening. Kealoha said the event was a tremendous success, and a pleasant surprise since the night’s attendance exceeded the school’s fundraising goal of selling 150 tickets.

“And a good time was had by all,” Schonely said, as he gestured to the lively crowd of Kilohana supporters.

Mahalo to Kilohana parents, faculty, and staff. Mahalo to community members for their continued support of the school. And Mahalo to Amanda Shonely, Christina Shonely, Samantha Shonely, and fellow Kilohana school graduate Nahiwa Naki, who donated their time to support the sixth-graders.


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