LIHU‘E — Thanks to the Alexander and Baldwin Foundation, the three Kaua‘i public high schools’ Project Graduation programs are closer to their funding goals.
The foundation made donations to all three programs Thursday.
“When we received the letter informing us of the award, we were so happy,” said Cassie Camara, representing the Kapa‘a High School Project Grad program. “Fundraising is the hardest part of putting on this program. A lot of our students are involved in sports and they go out to fundraise for their programs so we feel bad having to go out and ask for more help.”
Dewayne Kong of Matson Navigation, one of the A&B subsidiaries on Kaua‘i, said the award is for the betterment of the kids and to keep them safe while they celebrate graduation.
The three public high schools will be celebrating their commencement exercises May 18 at different sites, with the common bond of hosting their respective Project Grad programs following the graduation.
Participating graduates will be bussed to a location, determined by each program, where they spend the night in an alcohol- and drug-free environment. For many, this will be the final time they have to spend with each other before moving on with their post-high school paths.
Renee Gaspar, representing the Waimea High School Project Grad, said they charge each participant $25 and have 140 students of the 157-student class already registered to participate.
Camara said Kapa‘a High School’s program is still accepting registration for its Project Grad with about 94 percent of the graduating class registered. The fee for students is $75 for the all-night event.
Darnell Aquino, representing the Kaua‘i High School Project Grad, said her final child will be graduating this year, but she will stay on with the program for one more year to help a successor.
She said Kaua‘i High School has 265 students in its senior class with about 190 already signed up to participate in Project Grad. Their registration fee is also $75 per student.
Tom Shigemoto, vice president of A&B Properties, another of A&B’s subsidiaries, encouraged the Project Grad representatives to apply for grants from the A&B Foundation because it helps the students.
Trinette Kaui of A&B Properties said there was no program like Project Grad when she graduated from high school, and praised it for allowing graduates to have fun and be safe while staying off the streets.
Ron Victorino of Kaua‘i Commercial, another A&B subsidiary on Kaua‘i, also helped with the presentation.
• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.