Waipahu Grads Earn $10 Million In Scholarships

Sen. Michelle Kidani

First, let me offer congratulations to the 524 graduates in the Waipahu High School’s Class of 2013!

As the academic year wraps up, we wish you all a bright future in whatever endeavor you choose to pursue, whether it be academics, entering the work-force, enlisting in the military services, or simply taking time out to consider options. At last count, the class qualified for more than $10 million in merit-based scholarship grants, a true measure that WHS builds great foundations and provides the tools to create opportunities for success in the years ahead. We all share your pride in what you have accomplished, and are grateful for the support of dedicated teachers, families and classmates.

In addition to student successes, we all were pleased to join in celebrating the school’s 75th anniversary, capped by the announcement that WHS principal Keith Hayashi was selected to receive the 2013 Masayuki Tokioka Excellence in Leadership Award. This is a singular honor for principal Hayashi – and recognition of his initiatives to create and nurture the Career Pathways program and Small Learning Communities that have benefited so many WHS students.

Congratulations for this award that brings further distinction to this legacy campus in our community.

Our legislative session ended just a few weeks ago, and I am pleased to report there are several items in the state’s budget that will have positive impacts on our communities. Here’s a quick summary:

* Kunia Agricultural Park: $2,500,000 for design and construction

* Kanoelani Elementary School: $475,000 to build and equip a portable classroom building

* Waikele Elementary School: $500,000 for design and construction to expand the cafeteria to add a performing arts stage; $300,000 (in FY 2015) for planning and design for digital media and library expansion

* Waipahu High School: $5,500,000 design and construction funding for athletic field turf, an all-weather eight-lane track and related improvements; $800,000 to build a retaining wall behind the school

* Central Oahu (Waipio) Ambulance Facility: $3,850,000 for planning, design and construction

* H-1 Kunia Interchange: $780,000 for improvements to the interchange and approaches

* H-1 Waikele: $1,500,000 for repaving of on-and-off-ramps

* Kamehameha Highway: $4,000,000 for resurfacing and installation of lighting from Lumiauau Street to Lanikuhana Avenue

Also, the Legislature has been able to set aside some funding for nonprofit community organizations that provide valuable services to our neighborhoods. This year, we authorized a $250,000 grant to the Filipino Community Center in Waipahu to help with construction of a retractable covering for the courtyard that will make the center more useful for many more public events.

Even though our official working session has ended, preparations for the 2014 calendar already have begun. Senate president Donna Mercado Kim has asked the various committees to identify issues and follow-up legislation that we can work on over the next few months before we convene again in January. These might include such things as Office of Elections procedures, University of Hawaii procurement policies, solar and PV panel disposal, geothermal development, the issue of genetically modified organisms, agriculture sustainability, or the poor conditions of our roads and highways. I heard from many of you about these issues and much more over the last several months, and I always welcome your input on any of your concerns.

Contact me any time at SenKidani@Capitol.Hawaii. gov or at my State Capitol office, Room 228, telephone 586-7100.