Video provided by Hawaii Community Foundation, Voice of Stephanie Salazar
WAIMEA, Hawaii – Mayor Billy Kenoi talked to students, families, teachers, and community of Waimea Middle School last week, sharing rarely-told stories from his past.
It was part of Kenoi’s special message for the students. Some of them are struggling with their classes much like the mayor did when he was young.
The inspirational talk was part of the Connecting for Success program, made possible by a three-year grant from the Hawai‘i Community Foundation and 13 funders to 10 public middle schools and their community partners. The goal is to help middle school students transition to and complete 9th grade, putting them on path to graduate from high school.
37 students from 6th, 7th and 8th grades are working with the program at Waimea Middle School. The grant enabled the school to hire Suzie Herhold, a part-time at-risk counselor.
Of the 285 Waimea Middle School students, 68% of them are economically disadvantaged; 48% are of Hawaiian ancestry, and there is a growing population of Pacific Islanders. There’s a high need for Special Education, English Language Learners and Migrant Education.
At the event, students were presented with a variety of awards recognizing their achievements, including 100% attendance, improved attendance, good grades, and improvement in grades.