Chromebooks from corn

KEKAHA — Marilyn Asahi, Kekaha Elementary School principal, said the school’s goal of computers is nearly at a one-to-one ratio.

Thursday, she received a check for $3,300 representing proceeds from a “Corn to Chromebooks” service project to help with the school’s goal of getting every child from kindergarten through fifth grade to have a computer for learning.

“Our goal is to get the students out of the computer labs,” Asahi said. “Instead, our Tavis Kagawa is taking the computers to the students’ classrooms and working with the respective classroom teachers on integrating computers into their curriculum.”

The service project was done by a group, including Philip Kali, Robert Purdy, Donn Kakuda and Lana Spencer, which graduated earlier in the summer from the Leadership Kauai 2017 class.

“We looked to the community for ideas on the service project,” Purdy said. “We wanted to do something to help a Westside school, and Kekaha Elementary School is the school farthest west in the country. Initially, we were going to do something to help with the heat abatement issue, but the state approved air conditioning. That led us to figure out how else can we come up with Chromebooks.”

Under conditions of the project, fifth-graders at Kekaha School worked with the Leadership Kauai team in planting, harvesting, and selling corn with the proceeds going toward improving the computer environment at Kekaha School.

“The class that helped us with this project has already graduated and is now at the Waimea Canyon Middle School,” Spencer said. “But it is our hope that the current fifth grade class will take on the project and continue to help the next classes coming up by raising more money than we have today.”

Hartung Brothers provided the land where the bulk of the corn was raised.

“Hartung Brothers was huge in this effort. We also had a small plot on the school campus where students could work with the corn, and when we harvested the crop at the fields at Hartung, the students did the same without having to leave school,” Purdy said. “We did harvesting for two straight days, harvesting in the morning, cleaning the corn during the day before going to Hofgaard Park across Ishihara Market to sell the corn. Everyone helped, including those who just bought the corn to help the school’s computerization efforts.”

The current fifth-grade class is already making plans for the next harvest.

“This was a good opportunity to work and learn skills, together,” Spencer said.

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