Senate Honors Kauila Clark of WCCHC on 2/12/12

Senate Honors Kauila Clark of WCCHC on 2/12/12 (click to enlarge)

The Senate honored Kauila Clark, a long-serving member of the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center (WCCHC) board, for being named Chair of the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC). The following are introductions made by Sen. Shimabukuro following her speech honoring Kauila Clark on 2/21/12:

1) Kauila Clark’s mother, Louise Gregson, born in Kainaliu, Kona, and now residing in Missouri
2) Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center (WCCHC) Kupuna Council members: Ace Kaleohana, Keaunauna Kalua, Al Harrington
3) WCCHC Board of Directors: Kamahana Ferrar, Chair; Renee Rego
4) WCCHC Staff: Rich Bettini, CEO; Dr. Ric Custodio, Director of Education; Dr. Vija Seghal
5) Dr. Marjorie Mau, UH Medical School
6) John McColmas, AlohaCare CEO
7) Sheila Beckham, Waikiki Health Center CEO
8) Mei Akamine, Waimanalo Health Center CEO
9) Emmanuel Kintu, Kalihi Palama Health Center CEO
10) Leilani Collins, Queen Liliuokalani Children’s Center staff and cousin to Kauila Clark

Many other supporters of Kauila Clark were in the gallery. Congratulations to Kauila for being the first Native Hawaiian Chair of NACHC, as well as the first health care consumer to serve as Chair!

Nanakuli’s Avery Choy Retires After Serving Nearly 30 Years at HPD

Maile enjoyed celebrating Avery Choy’s retirement along with her friends and family.  “I am so fortunate to know such an inspiring and positive person like Avery,” said Maile.  “Mahalo for including me in your beautiful celebration.”
Avery Choy with family and friends. (Click to enlarge.)

Text from the State Senate Certificate for Avery Choy:

Hawaii is greatly enriched by the contributions of dedicated public servants who give of themselves to make our communities better and safer places in which to live and work.  Avery Choy, with nearly three decades of service with the Honolulu Police Department, is one such person.

Avery is entering a well-deserved retirement after a distinguished career which began in 1983.  Starting as a recruit, she rose through the ranks to detective—serving in various districts from Waikiki to Wai’anae.  She was especially effective in community policing programs and working with victims of sex crimes.

Leeward Coast residents are indeed fortunate to have benefited from Avery’s contributions while assigned to District 8—not only as a police officer, but as a role model for young people.  In the late 1990’s she proved to be a very positive influence on the lives of youth living in Wai’anae public housing.

The Senate of the twenty-sixth Legislature joins with family and friends who have gathered at the Kapolei Recreation Center on Friday, February 3, 2012, as they celebrate Avery Choy’s many years of service to residents of the City and County of Honolulu.  We wish her the very best in all her future endeavors—and a happy and healthy retirement.

Vote for Video Featuring E Ala Canoe Captain Kamu Kapoi by March 1

Message from the White House:

In the fall of 2011, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders launched the “What’s your story?” video challenge. The challenge aimed to highlight the personal stories of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) across the country who have impacted their community through their dreams, experiences, and dedication to a cause.

Ultimately, we received over 200 unique and inspiring stories. Each video shines a light on the important work happening around the country. And they remind us what makes this community so strong. From these submissions, we have chosen the top 11 video entrees based on strength of content and creativity.

Now we need your help. Please help us by watching these 11 video submissions at and voting for the story that most inspires you. The deadline for voting is March 1, 2012.

Note from Sen. Shimabukuro: Kudos to Wai`anae’s Kamu Kapoi for being featured in one of the 11 videos that made it to the finals.  Please cast your vote for the video “E Ala (Arise)” by March 1 to bring needed national attention to the E Ala voyaging canoe and one of its captains, Kamu Kapoi!

Wai’anae Coast Elementary Students Heading to New Hampshire Summer Robotics Camp: Support Needed

Click here for 5.17.12 update.

Click to enlarge.

Contact: Kay Fukuda
(808) 561-0427


Wai’anae Coast Elementary Students Heading to New Hampshire Summer Robotics Camp

Three Wai’anae Coast elementary schools, in collaboration with the University of Hawai’i, are preparing to send twelve students to a weeklong summer robotics camp in Manchester, New Hampshire.  Students from Waianae Elementary, Kamaile Academy and Nanaikapono Elementary got their first taste of robotics and the intensity of participating in statewide robotics competition this year, as a result of their participation in PALS (Program for Afterschool Literacy Support).  PALS is funded by the Native Hawaiian Education Program (NHEP), is administered out of University of Hawai’i SEED (Student Equity Excellence and Diversity), and has been operating in elementary schools along the Wai’anae Coast since 2007.  This year robotics was introduced into the program, which provides place-based academic enrichment opportunities to 4th, 5th and 6th graders, with a goal of bringing STEM opportunities to elementary grades during afterschool hours; and creating a robotics pipeline along with Wai’anae Coast.  In November 2011, PALS coordinated the First Annual Wai’anae District Robotics Tournament which resulted in three Waianae Coast teams going on to compete at the state level.

Students were awe struck by the first-time opportunity and the excitement has not dissipated.  The student engagement and enthusiasm has not gone unnoticed by principals and teachers.   At Nanaikapono, two robotics tables are a permanent fixture on the cafeteria stage so students can practice throughout the day.  As the Nanaikapono principal wrote after witnessing her students prepare at a pre-tournament scrimmage:

“I had the great fortune to watch our robotics team at their first scrimmage at Kapolei Middle two weeks ago. It was awesome! I saw high engagement, problem-solving, innovating, collaboration and teaming not just among our school team but with the other participating students as well. It was an experience that made me think, “Ah, so this is what a 21st century learner looks like!”  I’m so glad we have this wonderful opportunity to have robotics at Nanaikapono. All of the elements involved – science, hands-on construction, problem solving, technology – speak to the inherent skills and interests of our students. To have observed our robot only programmed to move forward on the first round to completing several tasks without penalties by round 3 was thrilling! In 2 hours our students figured out programming and how to think and act under pressure! Our students gained confidence with every try and they’ve been passing it on to others in school! (So thanks for building the second table, Kellen!!)  A great program like this happens because of great kids, great teachers like Josette, Marlene and Kim,and great partnerships like with PALS. My biggest concern is: how does one cheer at events like this? We wholeheartedly appreciate this opportunity!”

A fifth grade math teacher, who is also a PALS teacher,  relates the impact robotics has on one of his students.

“At the beginning of the school year she was shy and lacked confidence in her abilities. She is a student with lots of potential to do well in school but has had very few opportunities to participate in extra-curricular activities. She had to be coaxed into joining the PALS robotics group and at first she attended the sessions more as an observer than a participant. However, with the encouragement of the other students she soon became involved in the problem solving aspects of the robotics challenges. She began to contribute to the various tasks; sometimes offering a possible solution or building an attachment to the robot so it could complete a mission. As her confidence grew in the robotics arena so did her confidence as a participant in the Food Factor Challenge. She began to contribute more and even spoke in front of a panel of judges (twice!) to do her part as a member of the PALbots team. This was no small feat for her. For both competitions she was almost a “No show” because she wasn’t sure that she could actually present orally in front of others. She did show up, however, because she just had to – everyone was counting on her.

I think the biggest change has occurred in the classroom. Prior to her joining the robotics team, she rarely raised her hand to contribute to class discussions or she just sat as an observer during small group problem-solving sessions. Much of the confidence that she began to exhibit in PALS began to be exhibited in the classroom. She is now more of a risk taker, participating more actively with her newfound self-confidence.”

These Waianae Coast PALS students now have an opportunity to attend a 5-day summer robotics camp at the LegoLeague national headquarters in Manchester, New Hampshire the week of July 9, 2012.   This is an incredible opportunity for our keiki!  They will learn so much more about robot construction, programming strategies, teamwork – and what a cross cultural experience!

These robotics students are just one example of the talented pool of students along the Waianae Coast; students who consistently battle the negative stereotypes of student achievement and capability.  One of the PALS teams doubled their robot performance score from the district tournament to the state tournament.  That team placed about 25th out of a field of almost 60 – and this was their first try!!!  And their robot performance was within reach of the first place winner!

The cost of attending the summer camp is $2400 per person.  PALS is required to raise most of the funds in order to send the deserving students and teachers to the summer camp.

In addition, each school team will be required to hold its own fundraising in order to pay for incidental costs, including a day of canoeing in the White Mountains.  Each student will also be required to attend pre-travel study sessions.  The students will study the history and geography of the Manchester region, and learn iMovie making, as students will be required to create a documentary of the experience.

We are seeking donations in order to provide this incredible opportunity for the Wai’anae haumana, and are reaching out to the community to ensure this experience becomes real.