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Aid For New Waimanalo School

A new charter school intends to open in Waimanalo in fall 2014, backed by the vision of a modern-day Polynesian voyager and help from Harold K.L. Castle Foundation.

The foundation announced last week a $125,000 grant to Malama Honua Learning Center, a charter school co-founded by Nainoa Thompson and Robert Witt, that will serve Windward’s Native Hawaiian community and prepare children and educators “to be leaders in society’s most pressing social and environmental challenges.”

Thompson is president of Polynesian Voyaging Society, and Witt heads Hawaii Association of Independent Schools.

“Waimanalo has special significance because it’s where (late Micronesian navigator) Mau Pialug created his schools,” said Thompson. “Waimanalo is a community that’s powerful … a community we want to be part of, to engage in and learn from.”

More specifically, added Witt, the school will “way-find new and different learning outcomes. Endowing students with the capacities inherent in the mind of the navigator, (it will integrate) rigorous 21st-century curricula with the enduring values and profound wisdom of the Hawaiian culture.”

Castle Foundation also announced awards to:

* Hawaii Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice ($55,800). It will partner with four Windward elementary schools to provide breakfast for students from low-income families. According to its figures, less than half of the keiki qualified for federally subsidized meals actually join the breakfast program.

* International Church of the Foursquare Gospel Hawaii District ($50,000 over three years) to cover Windward kids in Camp Agape, a four-day North Shore summer camp for prison inmates’ children.

* Lanikai Beach and Park Foundation ($60,000) to assess its coral reef ecosystems and support its goal to improve health and management of the reefs.