Thursday, May 19, 2022 |
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WAIMEA — ‘Ele‘ele Elementary School third-grade students came to thank Pioneer Hi-Bred for seed, and left the Waimea facility with seeds of their own on Friday.
“What is a seed?” the 75 students chorused. “A seed is the beginning, the start of something new. A seed is a need indeed.”
Third-grade teacher Lori Carl said that through the generosity of Pioneer Hi-Bred, the school was able to open 59 savings accounts at Kaumakani Federal Credit Union.
“Through a grant with DuPont Pioneer, every student who opened a savings account received $25 in seed money,” Carl said. “Each month throughout the year, Kaumakani Federal Credit Union will come into their classrooms and because of DuPont Pioneer’s generosity, students will be able to add to their deposits.”
Carl said the Kid’s Savings Project was started four years ago at ‘Ele‘ele School through a collaborative effort with the University of Hawai‘i, the Kaumakani Federal Credit Union and Pioneer.
“We started with 22 savings accounts that year,” Carl said. “Students at ‘Ele‘ele have saved nearly $25,000 in just three years.”
The statement ignited applause from the Pioneer Hi-Bred employees who joined the students in the facility’s lunchroom.
“Many of our students have parents and family members who work here at Pioneer,” Carl said. “We are truly thankful for your investment. More importantly, we have formed a partnership between the school, Kaumakani Federal Credit Union and Pioneer. This partnership benefits our children who are the future of Kaua‘i.”
The chorusing students also asked, “Who wants to go to college?” and answered, “We are going to college!”
Carl said since the Kid’s Savings Project started, the school’s funding through the University of Hawai‘i has been cut and the school almost lost the project, prompting the teachers to apply for a grant with DuPont Pioneer to fund the program for the next two years.
“Thank you for your tremendous donation,” the students chorused. “We’ll promise to work hard every day. Then one day we’ll come back and say that you were the ones who believed in us. And because of you, we’ll be strong enough to work on Kaua‘i and take the lead, knowing you were the ones who planted our seeds.”
The short presentation by the students was reciprocated by a tour of the Pioneer facility by its staff, the students learning about the importance of seed facilities in being able to supply food for a growing population in face of declining land availability.
The learning lessons were reinforced by hands-on activities including examining insects, centering on corn pests, under microscopes and studying pests using enlarged computerized slides and seed art. Another lesson was about examining the world using an apple and learning about the amount of land distribution through apple slices before enjoying the sample. There was also a seed germination project where students got to plant seeds in a disposable plastic glove and take it home so they can watch the seed germinate.
Sarah Styan, a scientist at the Pioneer Hi-Bred facility in Waimea, said Pioneer invites people in groups to arrange field trips.
“We welcome everyone from senior groups to young students,” Styan said. “We’ve got Kekaha Elementary School coming up and there are some seniors coming to visit as well.”
Call Ryan Oyama at 338-8300 for more information, or to arrange a field trip.
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