Kaunakakai School Stage
With a little luck, some good weather, and the help of volunteer community members, Kaunakakai School will have a new outdoor stage in time for its May Day celebration on May 11. The 800 square foot raised permanent stage area, constructed with concrete and sod, will serve as a platform for school and community events like May Day, promotion and other celebrations and activities.
School Principal Daniel Espaniola said the project has moved forward thanks to a generous donation of materials from the Kanemitsu family whose daughter, Aiko, is a sixth grader at the school.
“Last year, I asked my mom if we could have a permanent stage outside our school,” Aiko told Molokai Planning Commissioners last week. “My parents were kind enough to help us fundraise for this project.”
The Planning Commission unanimously voted to give the project a green light, after the County Planning Department deemed the project not a “development” due to its low profile and impact. Espaniola said they’ve been working with the Planning Department on the project since last year, and the materials are already on-island, with community members ready to begin work to complete the stage within the two-week goal.
Teacher and parent Kimberly Ka`ai said each year, the school has to borrow more than a dozen stages for May Day, and parents have to take off work to help transport and set them up on campus. She said they receive frequent feedback that a better space is needed for school events.
“With our enrollment steadily growing each year for the past six years, it has become very difficult to house school performances that will accommodate our students, parents and community members… so everyone is able to enjoy our children’s performances,” said Ka`ai. “I have seen on many occasions parents having to peer through the cafeteria window to get a glimpse of their child performing…”
“The scope of this project is really needed at our school,” added sixth grade teacher Joyce Haase, who submitted support letters from 22 of her students. “…Having this donated by the Kanemitsu family is huge… something we cannot pass up. It’s not going to be possible for us next year.”
Teacher Tere Neuhart has served as May Day chairperson since 1994.
“It was been a dream of mine to have a permanent stage structure on our campus for our students to use for various events,” she said. “This is a beautification project that will genuinely be an asset for our school for students and families to enjoy and use for years to come.”