Walking School Bus makes last run

The Walking School Bus celebrated its final run of the school year Wednesday at St. Catherine School, Kapa‘a Elementary School, Kilauea Elementary School and Kalaheo Elementary School.

Eager hands skyrocketed when Bev Brody, the Kaua‘i island coordinator for Get Fit Kaua‘i, posed the question of how many students are planning to participate in the Walking School Bus when it resumes following the start of school.

“When school starts, it will be on the second Wednesday of the month,” Brody said, noting the change from the fourth Wednesday of the month, which was in effect during the current school year.

Brody was joined by Kaua‘i Area Complex Superintendent William Arakaki at the Kilauea walk, while Deputy Police Chief Michael Contrades and state Rep. Derek Kawakami joined Jenn Linton, the Safe Routes to School coordinator, at the Kapa‘a walk, which serviced both the St. Catherine’s School and the Kapa‘a Elementary School.

“Kathy Leonard, the Get Fit Kaua‘i administrative assistant, will be leading the Kalaheo School walk,” Brody said Tuesday afternoon.

A change in the trash pickup in the Kapahi area by the county greeted walkers with an unanticipated obstacles: automated trash pickup containers.

“I couldn’t figure it out,” Linton said. “I ran up the route and saw all these containers and kept wondering what that was all about. It’s the new trash pickup schedule.”

But the walkers were undeterred, getting help from Traffic Safety Unit officers to make the journey from the former cannery to the schools.

“Joseph Contrades was the superintendent for Hawaiian Canneries and oversaw pineapple cultivation and processing operations in Kapa‘a,” said Deputy Police Chief Contrades. “The route passes right in front of where he used to work.”

Michael Contrades, with the help of the Contrades ‘ohana and Kaua‘i Cycles, donated two bicycles, a boys’ model and a girls’ model, for which he had the honor of drawing the winners following the walk.

Joseph and Dora Contrades were married for 54 years; they were longtime residents of Kapa‘a and living in a home on Kawaihau Road where the walking school bus passes, Michael said.

Dora was a homemaker and raised 10 childen, all of whom attended St. Catherine School, Kapa‘a High School and Kamehameha Schools.

“They’re both gone, but are always in our memories and in our hearts,” Michael said. “The bicycles were donated in their honor.”

Brody did the honor of drawing the winners of the Kilauea School winners with the help of Linton.

Kawakami, who walked with his daughter at Kapa‘a Elementary School, was at the Kilauea School fourth quarter assembly to present the Kilauea School National Board Certified Teachers awards to Mike Kline, Farrah Krovoza, Joanne Thompson and Judy Waite.

But Brody was quick to announce and introduce Kawakami as the spearhead behind House Bill 2626, relating to Safe Routes to School program, which is currently awaiting the governor’s signature to become law.

HB 2626 permanently establishes the safe routes to school program within the Department of Transportation and establishes a safe routes to school program special fund. Violators of speeding in a school zone will be assessed a $25 surcharge and a $10 surcharge on other violations, with these funds being deposited into the safe routes special fund.

Brody said once signed by the governor, this new law takes effect Sept. 1, 2012.

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