Waipahu Businessman Helps High School Agricultural Studies

Michelle Garcia (left), community development director of SupportMyClass.org, and Leilehua High School teacher Jackie Akuna show off the school's new power washer at Aloha Power Equipment in Waipahu. Photo from David Sayles.

A post discovered on the charitable website SupportMyClass.org inspired a Waipahu business owner to donate a $1,400 power washer to Leilehua High School’s Agricultural Learning Center.

Mike Ward, owner and operator of Aloha Power Equipment on Pahu Street, said the gift is in keeping with the company’s commitment to the community.

“Reflecting our company’s beliefs, we feel that giving is one of the most basic ways to contribute to the community. Whenever we can, we will,” said Ward, who opened the electric equipment store in 1985.

Accepting the donation was Jackie Akuna, a second-year teacher at Leilehua and head of the learning center, who requested the power washer to help her students maintain their 3.5-acre farm.

The learning center educates students in the Central School District who have an interest in the business of agriculture. They learn about a variety of hands-on farming applications, such as crop cultivation, hydroponic greenhouses, ti leaf preservation, bee-keeping, Kikuyu grass pasturing, tree keeping, composting and animal husbandry.

Harvests from the farm are given to the school’s culinary program, where students cook what they grow. Remaining crops are sold at the Wahiawa Farmers Market.

SupportMyClass is a public charity operated by the Hawaii Children’s Foundation that helps teachers throughout the state obtain the materials they need to create greater learning experiences for their students.

Donors can support a teacher by visiting the site and responding to individual requests. When the monetary goal is met, the requested items are purchased and sent to the teacher.

Recently, the website also supported the drama program at Kaimiloa Elementary School in Ewa Beach by helping to purchase new microphones, recordable DVDs, paint supplies and other stage materials.

The donations helped the school to produce last week’s performance of A Bunch of Munschkins.