Kauai High School students can get a head start in high-tech careers with the help of a brand-new facility and equipment.
A dedication ceremony for the school’s new Technology STEMworks Center took place on Thursday afternoon.
“It truly is a historic day today,” said Rep. James Tokioka, whose son and daughter attended KHS. “When I came and visited with Prinicpal (Anne) Kane, and we saw what was happening, it was really exciting to think about technology and what’s happening here.”
The technology center will have far-reaching effects on students and their ability to use, manage, assess and understand technology, say supporters.
“Here they will be able to use technological tools and employ systems-oriented thinking as they interact with the ever-expanding technological world to motivate them to pursue post-secondary education and training for careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” a release said.
“In today’s world, understanding and applying technology is not just for engineers, it is for everybody,” said KHS Foundation President Gary Yamamoto, a civil/structural engineer and 1960 KHS graduate. “The whole world revolves around technology in everyday life. Because of this, the new tech center will benefit all students at KHS.”
The learning experience at the facility keeps with state goals to support new STEM-related initiatives in its public schools.
“When I was a freshman, we did not have much,” said KHS senior Brooke Kanna. “But as the years have gone by, we’ve accumulated 3D printers, a room full of Macintosh desktops, high-quality filming equipment, fantastic editing software, and now this.”
“A whole new set of doors have been opened for us, literally. And not just for the students and staff of Kauai High School, but for all the public as well,” Kanna added. “The possibilities are endless.”
The $500,000 center is located in Building T on the school campus, which was gutted and renovated to enable the centralization of tech classes. It will provide major spaces for lectures and seminars by teachers, industry instructors and guest speakers, laboratories for classwork application and production, and a media and video control room.
“There are no limits to what school’s can achieve if you give them the tools and the resources and the great family we have to let them take advantage of the opportunity,” said Senate President Ron Kouchi, who was instrumental in receiving funding for the project.
The centralized facility will strengthen the technological focus and opportunities for growth by providing resources and expertise. Project management in the planning and design of the building was provided by licensed architect and structural engineer, Lloyd Sako, a 1965 KHS graduate, and his company, Project Design, at no cost to the foundation and school.
“When we got started, the only thing that I was hoping for was to turn out like this with the kids really using it properly,” Sako said. “I’m an old man now, and technology back then was just a thought in our heads.”
The technology center will further augment the school’s statewide and national recognition in arenas of photography, digital media, computer-aided design and geographic information systems. This first high school on the Garden Island and fifth of the Territory of Hawaii opened its doors in 1914. Current enrollment is 1,249 students for grades 9 through 12.