LIHUE — Megan Nii, director for the Elsie Wilcox Elementary School Creative Arts Program, said the American flags waved by the students during the Veterans Day parade kept going seen then unseen.
“The students used them all the time,” Nii said. “They kept putting them in and out of their waistbands.”
The Wilcox School Creative Arts Program is one of nine schools approved for the Grove Farm Foundation Challenge Grants, where the foundation will offer a one-time, one-per-school, challenge grant to Kauai public schools.
Under terms of the grant, Grove Farm will match, dollar-for-dollar, monies raised by each school, up to a maximum of $1,000.
“We’re offering it to all the public schools,” said Marissa Sandblom, a Grove Farm vice president. “Each school has different needs, so the grant is to each school for whatever project they feel they need.”
Wilcox School’s grant is for the creative arts after-school program, which encourages students to express themselves through music, dance and drama.
“It’s important that we provide these types of opportunities to build the whole child,” said Corey Nakamura, Wilcox School principal. “The program teaches students the importance of responsibility, hard work, dedication and commitment.”
The Grove Farm challenge grants aim to motivate communities to support their institutions of learning while raising awareness of school programs that require additional support.
“We want the people to know what their contributions are being used for,” Sandblom said.
Other schools already approved for the challenge grants include:
w Koloa School for its Leader In Me program based on Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”
w Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School’s grant for Postive Behavior Intervention focuses on good choices based on its Hana Maika‘i program, which focuses on the four schoolwide expected behaviors — prompt, prepared, polite and productive. Students receive Hana Maika‘i tickets for demonstrating and displaying the behaviors which can be redeemed for gift certificates and vouchers.
“It is easy to point out the negativity in the world in this day and age,” said Jean Morris, CKMS vice principal. “Taking the time to positively reinforce the good choices students make can be pivotal to increasing student success in school and life.”
w Kapaa Middle School’s Alaka‘ina class will be visiting the Waipa Foundation for two days to learn Native Hawaiian values and practices. Students will integrate their learning and realize how it relates to modern life. Students will also learn how to grow and harvest taro and other native plants, which can be used to help better daily lives and activities.
w Kapaa High School will be using its grant for an Ecology Grow Lab, where the biology classes of the HOPES Academy will join forces with the Agriculture/Horticulture classes to create a school garden.
w Na Hopena A‘o, a schoolwide core values program is the recipient of the challenge grant at Kekaha School. The program is based on rewarding students on their General Learner Outcomes performance, with students being selected monthly and becoming eligible for a grand prize drawing.
“It helps out entire school become more aware of our behaviors and how we affect our learning, our school community, and our futures,” said Chelsea Ruiz, student services coordinator at Kekaha School.
Waimea High School principal Mahina Anguay said they are trying to catch students being good.
The Ho‘omaikai program recognizes students each quarter.
Kauai High School plans to open its West Courtyard to students by having them design the courtyard, which currently has two trees, but no benches, flora or fauna. Students’ designs will incorporate raised planters that double as student benches, and the use of native plants.
There is still time for other schools that have not applied for the challenge grant to do so.
The deadline for having projects completed is Dec. 1.