Paddling Race Dec. 2 To Benefit Kalaheo’s 2013 Project Grad

Kalaheo High will sponsor a Project Grad Paddle Race at 8:30 a.m. Dec. 2 at Kailua Beach Park to raise funds for its after-graduation party, and everyone is invited to celebrate good health by signing up for the fun race.

Late registration begins at 7 a.m. on race day, and those interested can email or call 271-1631. Pre-registration fee is $120 per six-man crew or $20 per person; race-day registration costs $150 per six-man crew and $25 per person.

“Last year’s race was big fun, though conditions were challenging, and many of our students paddle with local clubs,” said parent volunteer Barbara VanDerKamp. “We have lots of connections with them and feel it’s really important to continue to promote the cultural importance and physical benefits of outrigger canoe paddling.”

The Project Grad 2013 committee faced hardships setting up fundraising events, but it remains committed to putting together a safe, drug- and alcohol-free graduation night for 176 seniors. “To start, the DOE schedule has made meeting with our Class of 2013 much harder than years past,” said VanDerKamp, who lists paddling as one of her personal passions.

And the tsunami warning interrupted the haunted house planned by parents and students.

“We had no control over the situation and had to err on the side of caution, but so much work went into construction, casting and costuming,” she explained. “What we hoped would earn us a few thousand dollars made us under $1,000.”

Through all these setbacks, however, the Project Grad volunteers realize that they need to come together as a group – students, parents, families and staff.