Two Wahiawa Schools Win Big For Campus Beautification

Iliahi Elementary and Leileuhua High schools were two of three recipients of the 2013 Cooke Beautification Award for Public Schools.

Both Wahiawa schools were recognized for completing significant campus beautification initiatives within the past year, and were awarded a $5,000 check and koa plaque in honor of their efforts.

Similarly, both schools implemented art into the campus projects that deemed them worthy of their achievements.

Seven Iliahi students sought to commemorate 50 years of Iliahi pride in a mural titled “Educating the Whole Child the Iliahi Way.”

The pride, reflective in the form of a dragon, is represented by extra-curricular activities and the memories students had of being an Iliahi Dragon.

“This mural exemplifies how the whole child is educated at our school,” explained principal Dale Tanouye.

In order to complete their award-winning mural, the student artists in grades 3 through 5 worked on it after school and on the weekends for four months.

It’s an honor they can definitely be proud of.

“At Iliahi Elementary School, the student-created murals provide our students with a sense of belonging and evoke school pride that is deeply rooted in the students’ respect of the Home of the Dragons,” said Tanouye.

At Leilehua High School, campus beautification through artistic expression has been part of the student community since 1994.

Currently 27 murals are on display throughout the campus grounds.

“Done without the guidance of a commissioned professional artist or outside funding, I believe this is the largest concentration of student-created murals of any public or private school in the state,” said the school’s award-winning art teacher Lawrence Taguba, a mentor to many budding student artists over the years.

The murals on campus not only instill a sense of pride among students, but throughout the Wahiawa community as well.

“Various community groups and local businesses inquired if students were available to paint murals for them,” said Taguba. “About two years ago, we painted one for the Wahiawa Police Station, and we are in the talking stages with another community group working on a City and County project.”

With such a large art program that has been going on for many years, the school is grateful for the recognition this award provides, and for the prize money, which will go toward a supplemental budget for its art classes.

Iliahi Elementary School will use the award for the 50th anniversary May Fest celebration recognizing former principals, retirees from the school, alumni and government officials. There will also be a tree-planting ceremony and cookbook sale.

The Cooke Beautification Award is given every year to one elementary school, one middle school and one high school that have significantly changed the appearance of their campus.