Lions’ gift to help build student character

Tears welled in the eyes of Karen Heresa, a Wilcox Elementary School teacher.

Fully engrossed with testing going on at the school, Wilcox School principal Sherry Scott made time for Heresa to meet with members of the East Kaua‘i Lions Club Tuesday morning.

The Lions arrived with a check representing matching funds from the state Lions’ Disaster fund, said Lion Roy Nishida.

Earlier, the EK Lions, whose members were first on the scene when a blaze destroyed a portable classroom at the school in March, reacted to the disaster and visited the school with a gift of $500 to help Heresa replace some of her lost supplies.

EK Lions are no stranger to helping Wilcox School with countless number of chores, tasks and other projects that need doing.

In March, when the Lions arrived on campus to begin preparation for the annual pancake breakfast, they were greeted by the eerie orange glow of the burning classroom.

Several of the Lions responded, helping to combat the blaze with water hoses as well as helping when fire fighters arrived on the scene.

Nishida said the Tuesday morning presentation is the matching funds provided by the state Lions organization to help the school and teacher.

“We are deeply appreciative of all the work the Lions do for the school,” said Scott. “The funds will be used to help replace some of the posters and awards used by Heresa in the school’s character education program.”

Scott said Heresa was one of the spearheads of the character development program which features a monthly school assembly where students demonstrating positive character traits are rewarded with certificates and prizes.

Because Heresa was one of the program leaders, most of the supplies, posters and awards were stored in her classroom which was razed by the March blaze.

“This gift will help Heresa replace some of the character education program materials,” Scott said. “But because this program benefits all the students in the school, it also helps all of our students.”

Before the check could be presented, Heresa and her students presented EK Lion president Stephen Fujii with a photo book containing photos and notes from the students on what the Lions’ initial gift had helped replace.

These included teaching aids, books, publications and other material used by the students.

Pictures of these replaced goods formed the basis of their thank-you note.

The area which the destroyed portable occupied has been cleared of debris and leveled with an orange safety fence keeping students out of the area.

Scott said the replacement process will involve a temporary portable being located at the end of the school’s kindergarten wing near the Umi and Hardy Street intersection.

In the meantime, the process for a permanent replacement has already started and Scott explained that it would take approximately two years before a permanent portable will be erected.

For the moment, Heresa is sharing a portable with another school teacher.

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