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St. Theresa School keeps students on campus

  • Courtesy of St. Theresa School

    St. Theresa School students receive their education in Kekaha in a classroom modified to accommodate the additional health and safety guidelines due to COVID-19.

KEKAHA — St. Theresa School, one of two Catholic schools on the island, is in its second week of the home half of being a St. Theresa Safe Campus Program for the school year that started in August.

“The St. Theresa Safe Campus Program was created to address the specific safety needs for carrying out in-person education during the COVID pandemic,” said Wendy Castillo, STS principal.

“Under the Safe Campus program, families, learners, staff and parents abide by strict guidelines each day. The daily schedules were modified to provide separated recess times, safe drop-off and pick-up routines and self-contained classes throughout the day,” she said.

The successful implementation of the Safe Campus Program generated a full school with wait lists as STS completed the second semester with the start of winter break.

“The ability of STS to stay in session relies on all shareholders being on board at all times,” Castillo said.

“Everyone is responsible for the protection of the school campus. That responsibility is taken seriously. STS is by no means ‘counting chickens before they hatch,’ and we will continue to do everything in our power to provide on-campus learning for the remainder of the year,” she said.

”We are very grateful for our team of parents, learners, teachers and staff, who make it possible for us to continue our work.”

STS contracted Service Master, a local cleaning service owned and operated by the Kleidosty ‘ohana, to clean and sanitize the entire campus on every school day at a cost of more than $4,000 per month.

“The cost was not budgeted,” Castillo said. “But it was deemed necessary and has proven to be effective. Many donors and organizations have pitched in to keep the cleaning costs manageable, and a huge mahalo to all of the angels out there who keep us going strong — some give a little, some sponsor an entire month, but all are appreciated and blessed.”

Leading the efforts are the STS Community Building Team, which through a recent car wash generated more than $900, and a See’s Candy fundraiser churned up more than $4,700.

These efforts are in lieu of the annual St. Theresa School Carnival that was first postponed, then finally canceled due to the pandemic.

The STS Online Auction raised more than $2,250, and joins the individual efforts of Our Seahawks Angel, the Hawai‘i Community Foundation, the Sandy Kucera Memorial, Sister Margarita Souza and a host of individual contributors, including the users of the St. Theresa Church and School charity on AmazonSmile.

Castillo said the St. Theresa School Endowment program is also going strong. The endowment fund provides stability and ensures longevity for the school, she said. Each year, endowment contributions are matched by a very generous donor. This year, donors, including the Hawai‘i Community Foundation in care of the Munar ‘ohana, J. Zavaglia, M. Nitta, the Shimatsu ‘ohana, Phuong Riola Photography and anonymous donors contributed a total of $12,445 for a matched total of $24,890 being added to the fund.

“Catholic education is a blessing, and we feel honored to be able to continue our mission during these trying times,” Castillo said.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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