Mililani Students Clean Beaches While Learning Teamwork

Author Samantha Alvarado, Kelsey Saito and Cami Shiroma have fun while making a difference. Photo courtesy of Hui Malama.

Special to CentralOahu Islander

The mission was trash-free seas.

Mililani High School’s environmental service learning organization, Hui Malama, dedicates one Saturday a month to cleaning up a different beach.

The teen volunteers boarded a bus Sept. 21 to Haleiwa Ali’i Beach Park, ready to take part in Nature Conservancy International’s Coastal Cleanup program.

This was Hui Malama’s 16th year, and the hui has begun to leave a legacy for others to follow. Isaiah Kela-Pacheco, a candidate for student leadership in

the hui, said, “(Hui) is important to me because it not only gives me a chance to give back to the land from which others have taken, but to also meet other people who are just as excited as I am to help better the environment.”

Together the students collected more than 200 pounds of garbage. Many of the parents joked that they have never seen teenagers so happy to carry trash. But to the students, the day was about much more than hauling garbage.

“The best part of the cleanup for me was not the cleanup itself,” explained Kela-Pacheco. “I think it was such a fun experience to meet these new kids we would never have known. It was such a fun time collecting all the cigarette butts because we were amazed by the amount we actually found there. Overall, it was a very productive day.”