Roughly 40 members of Konawaena High School’s Class of 1967 have stepped up to help their alma mater, donating more than $7,300 to help make sure teachers get the goods they need, said Linda Nagai, coordinator of the upcoming class reunion.
Since June, alumni have been making monetary donations toward providing school supplies for Konawaena High — an idea that originated from former teacher and alumnus Elvin Hakoda. In this economy, school budgets have tightened and funding for classroom supplies, including equipment for art, physical education and culinary programs, is growing increasingly scarce. This has caused many teachers to dole out their own money, get creative or do without, Nagai said.
Rather than have teachers dig deeper into their own pockets, the class decided to try to help ease the burden. Letters were sent out, asking alumni to donate a dollar for every year since graduation. The response has been “great,” with several alumni generously choosing to contribute more than the suggested $45, Nagai said.
“We’re just hoping our donation helps the teachers and is used to help kids reach their full potential,” she said. “We want the recipients to know that there are people who care, will help when asked, and want you and the school to succeed. For most of us, this was a chance to give back and say thank you to a place that gave us a sure foundation for future success. Some of us have businesses of our own or successful careers and believe in paying it forward.”
All the money will be donated to the school by Friday, she added.
Konawaena High Principal Shawn Suzuki called the donation “absolutely amazing” and “a privilege.”
“Class of ‘67 members have incredible hearts. They care so much for this place, the school and for each other,” he said. “Despite the economic struggles pertaining to education funding and within the community, they wanted to do something. So they gave, said it’s up to our discretion to use the funding as we see fit, and there’s not enough we can do to thank them.”
Besides spending the money on supplies, Suzuki said some of the funding would likely be used toward administering national testing exams for the school’s more than 680 students.