Over the course of the last two months students, parents, staff, and volunteers from the Locations Foundation worked on changing the landscape of Kanoelani Elementary School. They gathered to work on the "Legacy Project," based on a $25,000 grant from the Locations Foundation. The funds were put toward a new science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) lab, improvements around outdoor classrooms and a mural created by famed artist Hilton Alves.
"The students are thrilled about these changes at school. They feel like they are a part of a significant milestone at Kanoelani Elementary," said Principal Stacie Kunihisa. "They have learned so much from the beautification process and will get to enjoy the fruits of their labor – learning in the STEM lab, watching their gardens grow and admiring their artwork throughout the campus."
As part of the Legacy Project, benches were added for teachers to use as outdoor classrooms, garden boxes were constructed for each class, storage containers were decorated with student art, and the school's map mural stage was given a fresh coat of paint.
"This was a fun experience for us to help our school," said Jenna Hickman, student, Kanoelani Elementary. "Although I'm in sixth grade and can enjoy this for the rest of the year, it is exciting that many other students get to benefit from the work accomplished for years to come."
"The more they know about your school's story as well |
as the community that surrounds it, the more they will care."
- Principal Kunihisa
On Saturday, Nov. 14, the school celebrated the changes by with a reveal event for members of the community. Students led tours and provided entertainment, which included the Kanoelani Glee Club.
"I'd like to extend a heartfelt mahalo to the Locations Foundation, Vice Principal Neil Battad, Vice Principal Walleen Hirayama, STEM teacher Richard Ogawa, the faculty of Kanoelani and the hundreds of volunteers who helped make this project a reality," added Kunihisa. "The generosity and outpouring of support has helped create this legacy for future generations of Kanoelani students."
The Legacy Project grant took a lot of work to get. That's where the leadership of Principal Kunihisa, Vice Principal Battad and the school team plays a major role. Over the past year, Kunihisa and her team has secured a total of $100,000 in grants awarded to Kanoelani.
When Kunihisa was the principal at Pohakea Elementary School in 2009-2010 she successfully applied for a $75,000 grant, which went to huge improvements in technology access for all students.
Kunihisa credits her team and their ability to understand the needs of her schools' communities as the reason for securing grants.
"Principal Kunihisa clearly recognizes the needs of her schools and connecting with businesses to partner in not only fulfilling those needs, but also building community collaboration," said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. "She is an example of our school leaders who focus on solutions and goes after it. The results she's achieved are true bright spots."
Kunihisa depends on data when applying for grants.
"The more they know about your school's story as well as the community that surrounds it, the more they will care," notes Kunihisa. "I take time to understand the goal of the grant and the kind of difference the foundation and/or company is trying to implement."
In a nutshell, she helps her school find and apply for grants that match the goals of the school. When that match occurs, it's not only a legacy for the grantee, but also for the school community.