KILAUEA — For Shabd Edralin, watching Kilauea School students use the skateboard ramp he built was a special moment Thursday.
“It falls under tears of joy,” he said. “It’s great to see their faces as they go up the ramp.”
The 18-year-old built four ramps — two quarter-pipes and two small ramps — for the after-school program at Kilauea School.
The ramp work, completed in December, was the project that awarded Edralin his Eagle Scout badge, a feat only 5 percent of Boy Scouts achieve.
“It takes a lot of work to be an Eagle Scout,” Edralin said.
In order to qualify for Eagle Scout, the candidate must earn 21 merit badges, which varies in subjects from First Aid and personal fitness to cooking and family life. They must also complete a service project.
Edralin, who completed 36 merit badges, said building ramps as his service project was a way to give back to his former school.
“I came to the school and saw what the kids were skating on, and I knew it wasn’t enough,” he said. “So I saw a need, and wanted to fill it.”
Previously, the skateboard class used boxes made from wood, said Mike Kline, mentor of the skateboard program.
After meeting several times with Kline, Edralin raised over $1,000 for building and safety equipment, as well as $500 for the end-of-year competition prizes.
After designing the ramps, Edralin contracted the help of local carpenters and spent an afternoon in December building the four-foot-long, two-foot-high quarter-pipes.
“I wanted to make them higher,” he said.
He also built two eight-inch long, two-foot high ramps.
The ramps are stored on school property and are placed in the parking lot every Monday afternoon.
While the students have been using the ramps since January, Thursday was the first time Edralin saw them in action.
“You visualize what it will look like,” he said. “But when you see it, it’s unimaginable.”
There has been a waiting list to get in the class, Kline said.
“We have 14 kids enrolled now — we like to keep it small,” he said.
The skateboard program, funded by the Aloha Angels, a nonprofit, gives students a safe activity, while helping raise their self esteem, Kline said.
“Some of these kids may not be the best at school academically, but they’re good at skateboarding,” he said. “So instead of feeling bad about themselves and school, they have something to look forward to.”
Kalani Hicks, a fourth grader, has been skateboarding for about a year.He says he likes skateboarding because of the feeling he gets when he executes a trick correctly.
“You feel good about yourself,” he said.
Hicks likes the skateboard program because he feels safe.
“You don’t have to drive around, looking for skateboard park,” he said.
Rios Gaia, a fifth grader, added: “The more, the better. The ramps let us try new tricks.”
Bob Toleneoa, sixth grader, said he likes the sport because it’s challenging.
“I like the feeling of landing a trick you didn’t know,” he said.
Edralin gives credit to the students who aren’t afraid to get a little hurt.
“I used to skateboard, but I had too many injuries,” he said. “So I give it up to these kids.”