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MEDB Ke Alahele Education Fund awards $122,000-plus in STEM grants

By Staff | Jun 15, 2017

Maui Preparatory Academy received a Maui Economic Development Board Ke Alahele Education Fund grant to purchase software and supplies for its robotics program and to help offset travel expenses to competitions. PHOTO BY MAUI PREPARATORY ACADEMY.

KIHEI – Recently, Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB) announced the recipients who received grant awards totaling more than $122,000 from the MEDB Ke Alahele Education Fund, a grant-making vehicle to further support the growing need for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in Maui County and statewide.

Awards, ranging from approximately $1,000 to $5,000, were distributed this 2016-17 school year for the following diverse initiatives:

Establishment of a STEAM Lab to support St. Anthony Junior-Senior High School’s 21st century goals;

Educational materials for King Kekaulike High School’s Clinical Health students;

Registration and travel expenses for Molokai Middle School’s Ohi ka manu o ke ao (the bird of the day reaps its reward) to participate in competitions;

Equipment and cameras for King Kekaulike High School students to develop their cinematography skills;

Funding to help run the Maui County Regional Science and Engineering Fair;

Funds to offset expenses for Maui High School students and teachers to attend the Television Network Convention in Anaheim, California, in March;

Three-D printer to enable Kihei Charter High School students to produce a 3-D-modeled design solution to a real-life problem using Autodesk Inventor;

Support Kihei Charter High School’s participation in the Hawaii STEM Conference on Oahu;

Support Maui Waena Intermediate School’s teachers’ participation at the Summer Media Institute.

Funding was also provided for 2016 Daniel K. Inouye Innovation Award winners: Lanai High School and students Jasmine and Keona Conroy-Humphrey for their GIS software project that helps geolocate fire hydrants in emergency situations; Molokai High School and student Evelyn Haase for her invention, a pH sensor that can measure accurate data detecting the tiniest changes to the ocean pH due to environmental fluctuations; and King Kekaulike High School and students Maya Ooki and Jett Bolusan for their project, a comprehensive list of pests on Maui lands into a “Wikipedia-like” website entitled “Bugpedia.”

The MEDB fund also supported robotics programs at 17 schools, including Lahaina Intermediate School, Lahainaluna High School and Maui Preparatory Academy in West Maui.

“The fund was originally created by MEDB’s Board of Directors to stimulate community investment in broadening career pathways for Maui County residents,” said Curtis Tom, senior vice president/island manager for Bank of Hawaii in Maui County.

“Today, we’re thrilled to see the impact STEM education has had and continues to have on our youth, from boosting their self-confidence to opening doors to exciting careers. This grant would not have been possible without the generous support of the many businesses and individuals who contribute to the MEDB Ke Alahele Education Fund’s annual fundraiser dinner.”

The 2017 MEDB Ke Alahele Education Fund Benefit Dinner & Auction will be held on Saturday, Aug. 26, at the Fairmont Kea Lani Maui. A reception/silent auction will begin at 4:30 p.m., followed by dinner and a live auction at 6 p.m. Sponsorship opportunities are available.

For more information about the MEDB Ke Alahele Education Fund and the benefit dinner and auction, call 875-2300 or visit www.medb.org.