KEKAHA — Teachers, more specifically elementary level educators, are an important part of teaching keiki to become good citizens.
Led by Principal Marilyn Asahi, the Kekaha Elementary School staff was recently thanked for their work with students by a catered breakfast from Mark’s Place and Contemporary Flavors Catering, sponsored by Deja Vu Surf Hawaii.
The breakfast also served to celebrate the Kekaha Early Literacy Project From learning to read to reading to learn headed by Keiki to Career.
“Keiki to Career is about how all keiki can be more successful,” said Marion Paul, the program’s director. “Our group formed five years ago, and helps engage the community and parents toward the success of keiki.”
The Kekaha Early Literacy Project got started weeks ago, and involves working with faculty, community partners and parents to help raise literacy levels among students at Kekaha Elementary.
Some of the programs involve Reading Buddies,where students enjoy extra reading help from community volunteers on designated Fridays, and MotherRead FatherRead, where family members learn to read with keiki for comprehension.
Reading Incentives, a portion of which will be helped through a recent grant from Walmart, motivate students to improve reading scores and boost attendance.
Community events bring neighbors together to promote literacy and distribute books, similar to the annual Waimea Lighted Parade where Rotarians from the Rotary Club of West Kauai handed out more than a hundred free books to keiki.
“Kekaha School was selected because of the tight community,” said Tad Miura. Miura is co-chair of the Keiki to Career Leadership Council with Mark Hubbard, who brought his grandson Tanner Hubbard to help at the gathering. “Kekaha has the core value of helping each other.”
This was demonstrated by the distribution of incentive “treasure chests” and gift bags which were created by Paul’s daughter and filled with goodies gathered from community sponsors, including earrings created by Miura’s sister.
“Kekaha is not forgotten,” said Hawaii Senate President Ron Kouchi.
Kouchi praised the town’s teachers.
“I went to school here and had teachers who instilled the value of reading,” Kouchi said.
“I was going to be a history teacher in high school, and found out that elementary teachers made the difference in a child’s education. High school teachers only improve on the work done by primary school educators. I remember the names of all the teachers I had in elementary and high school.”