EAST students receive high rating

Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School Environmental And Spatial Technology (EAST) students returned from the National EAST Partnership Conference in Arkansas last week, where their presentation got them a high rating of 97 out of 100.

Their “Superior” rating was based on their student growth, use of technology, community involvement, teamwork with fellow students, and problem-solving skills.

It was an improvement from their rating last year of “Excellent.” They were recognized on stage at the main banquet for their high rating, in front of members of nearly 300 other high-school and middle-school EAST clubs from across the country.

Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School is the only middle school in the state to have an EAST lab.

“We presented the projects we were working on to the judges, and competed against other labs for ratings,” said eighth-grade EAST student Chris Flynn. “We brought the judges into our booth, and there was a pair of us that presented to them. We showed them the pictures from the projects.” This is Flynn’s last year in the EAST program, but since there is no EAST program on island for high schoolers, he said he might go back to Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School after school to continue working on projects.

Seventh-grader Danielle Ola not only attended the conference with her fellow EAST students, but was one of 12 students out of the whole conference selected to be an ambassador for it.

EAST advisor Leah Aiwohi nominated Ola for it.

“In pre-conference preparation, teachers submitted names (for nomination) based on work in class, how they work with students, and who would reflect EAST in a nice way,” said Aiwohi. “Luckily, she was one picked.” This came as a surprise to Ola.

“I got to go around and act as a tour guide and show people around, which is unusual because I’m usually the girl in the back of the classroom,” Ola said.

Ola also said that this was a huge learning experience for her.

“I can talk to people better now if I have to,” she said. “I love getting new experiences. I hadn’t been off the island before, and this trip allowed me to see what I could find, that I can really make a future for myself.” Even though the EAST team got a “Superior” rating, there were no prizes or trophies given out.

“It’s more the pride in the quality of their work and have that be recognized, more than winning a prize,” Aiwohi said.

Lanaly Cabalo, lifestyle writer, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 237) or lcabalo@kauaipubco.com.

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