Star-Advertiser: Cal Domen Leads Effort to Beautify Wai’anae HS

By Rosemarie Bernardo
Waianae alum leads effort to restore camera-ready coast
POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Mar 08, 2015

Calvin Domen, a 1963 Wai'anae High School graduate and Wai'anae Coast resident, in a December 2010 photo from the 21maile archives.

Calvin Domen, a 1963 Wai’anae High School graduate and Wai’anae Coast resident, in a December 2010 photo from the 21maile archives.

Sunsets and pristine blue waters have served as a stunning backdrop for generations of graduates of Wai­anae High School, possibly the only school in the nation to hold its commencement on the coast.

Dozens of towering coconut trees were once part of the panorama, but weather changes and neglect caused the trees to die one by one. Only four of the original trees remain.

But thanks to recent work by a Leeward Oahu resident, the array of trees has nearly been restored.

Calvin Domen, a 1963 Wai­anae High graduate, said he hopes groups and individuals, primarily the younger generations of graduates, will commit long-term to regularly maintain the grounds.

It’s not a two- to three-year project, he said. “It’s a 50-year project.”

Since 2013, Domen and a group of volunteers have planted about 75 to 80 trees at the site, a mix of coconut, lau hala and Manila palms.

Along with extra hands, Domen, 69, is seeking donations of about a half-dozen more potted palms, 10 to 12 feet tall.

Fanned by cool winds on a recent morning, Domen walked along the shoreline to check on the new additions. He and other volunteers will soon install an irrigation system with pipe fixtures donated by local farmers.

“They’ve worked so hard to beautify our graduation area,” said Principal Disa Hauge, who joined the school last year.

Domen has long been committed to improvements at the school. Fifteen years ago, he led a group of about 100 volunteers to fix and renovate the school’s football field bleachers.

The volunteers also have planted throughout the school grounds, providing shade for students at the campus, where classroom temperatures can hit 100 degrees.

Domen launched his most recent project after hearing the school planned to move its graduation ceremony to Aloha Stadium. He felt it was important to keep alive the tradition of holding graduations on the shoreline.

Hauge said the volunteers took care to not plant trees that obstruct the view of the ocean.

“It’s an incredible view to have,” she said.

Those interested in joining the beautification project or in donating trees can call Domen at 282-2443.

Read the full article on the Star-Advertiser site.

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