covershot

Scouts Build Cubbies For Kapolei School

Thanks to the dedicated work of Boy Scout Gabriel “Gabby” Balais, Kapolei Seagull School preschool students have six brand new shoe cubbies.

A member of Troop 32, Gabby started planning his Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project last year. He’s also a Kapolei Seagull school alumnus (’99), so he wanted to find a way to give back to his alma mater.

“The Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project is the ultimate application phase of what all Scouts have learned thus far in Scouting: leadership, responsibility, managing projects and applying their Scout Oath, ‘to help other people,’ ” said Troop 32 scoutmaster Bobby Balais, Gabby’s dad. The tricky part, added Bobby, is for family members to step back and let the Scout plan and coordinate the work himself.

Gabby Balais

Gabby Balais
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Gabby Balais with one of the new shoe cubbies, at the front of his old preschool classroom. Photos by Bobby Balais.

After months of pre-planning that involved talking with the school’s program director Didi Au, and getting approval for his proposal from the Boy Scouts council, Gabby was set to begin work.

The 17-year-old senior at Saint Louis School managed to salvage some old plywood school desks that were destined for the trash bin, as well as some leftover plywood from his grand uncle Bernard Balais, who owns a construction business.

Then, Gabby and some of his fellow Scouts received lessons in measuring, cutting, tool use and safety from Gabby’s JROTC instructor (and scoutmaster of another troop) Jimmy Akuna, as well as from his grandfather, Gervacio Balais Sr., a retired carpenter.

Under their guidance, the boys cleaned and sanded the desks, and used power tools to cut, notch and assemble the plywood into sections that could be pieced together into six separate cubbies. Next came the application of several coats of paint, in a tan color that matched the classroom walls.

Finally, on Jan. 28, after seven months of planning and hands-on work, the units were secured at the front of six preschool classrooms each with 25 shelves, and just the right height for preschoolers to place their shoes in.

As dad prepared to take a photo of Gabby in front of one of the newly built cubbies, the boy called out, “Hey dad, remember this classroom? This was my class!

“You used to drop me off every morning and pick me up here.”