Friday, May 27, 2022 |
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LIHU‘E — No one expected a lettuce crop to the tune of $77,945 at the Elsie Wilcox Elementary School.
But that is was happened, Friday, when Kaua‘i State Farm agents Darrellyn Lemke and Skip Koenig were joined by Carolyn Fujioka to present a grant to the school’s principal, Terry Proctor, and other dignitaries at a special assembly.
“This is such a surprise,” Proctor said, addressing the school’s student body and special guests including Kaua‘i Complex Area Superintendent William Arakaki, Kaua‘i Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. and state Rep. Jimmy Tokioka.
Linda Sciaroni, the author of the grant designed to improve and repair the 10-year-old hydroponic facility on campus, was clearly excited and elated over the day’s events.
“Wilcox Elementary School is the recipient of a $77,945 service-learning grant for a financial education/gardening project from the State Farm Youth Advisory Board,” Fujioka said, addressing the students, some of which struggled to grasp the five-digit figure on the gigantic check that arrived in a special cardboard box.
Fujioka said out of 1,100 grant requests received by the State Farm Youth Advisory Board, Wilcox School is one of 82 community organizations to receive the service-learning, student-led grant across the United States and Canada.
“Wilcox School is the only one in Hawai‘i to get the grant,” Fujioka said.
Mr. Yoshi, a former Wilcox School employee who volunteers his time to help the students with hydroponic projects and keep the hydroponic facility, affectionately known as “The White House,” maintained, was in a whir over the excitement.
The soft-spoken gentleman who appeared no taller than some of the students in the school’s hydroponic club was at a total loss for words when selected students of the school’s performing arts class led a special cheer paying tribute to him.
Wilcox School’s program will provide an opportunity for all its students to grow food in a hydroponic garden established 10 years ago by Mr. Yoshi, a release from State Farm says.
The students will share some of the food grown with their families, a food bank and a soup kitchen. The students will also sell some to neighbors. Curriculum at each grade level will be developed to study economics and food production.
“Wilcox School, you rock!” said Carvalho. “This is just the start. You students are setting an example for the island to follow. The ‘White House’ is an example of how families, students and the community come together with positive results.”
The hydroponic project will allow students to learn how to grow their own food and to make a financial contribution to those in need in the community through meaningful work, the release states. The student will also learn how to reinvest some of their earnings in seeds and other costs as well a how to spend some together as a class for a project of their choice.
Sciaroni said the White House could use a concrete floor and the trays containing the nutrients need to be replaced because they are brittle with age.
State Farm supports service-learning because it combines service to the community with classroom curriculum in a hands-on approach to mastering subject material while fostering civic responsibility.
The State Farm Youth Advisory Board is a diverse group of 30 students, ages 17 to 20, who were selected through a competitive process to lead and oversee a $5 million per year signature service-learning initiative.
The Youth Board identified the grant categories, issued the competitive grants and will now provide technical assistance, communication and oversight to each of the grantees.
For more information, visit www.statefarmyab.com.
• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or email@example.com.
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