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Lahainaluna student tutors give back to their community

By Staff | Dec 17, 2009

On Dec. 8, the Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunrise delivered dictionaries to the third grade of Maui Preparatory Academy in an ongoing project for Rotarians worldwide to stamp out illiteracy. Sunrise Rotarians have now delivered dictionaries to King Kamehameha III Elementary School, Sacred Hearts School and Maui Prep. Pictured with Maui Prep third-graders are, back row, from left: Past President Bonnie West, President Charles Keoho, teacher Nikki Meenzhuber, David Ristau, Bonnie Nelson and Greg Stille.

LAHAINA — Tuesday is Math Tutoring Day in Lahaina. On those scheduled Tuesdays after school, a Roberts Hawaii bus motors up the hill to the Lahainaluna High School cafeteria transporting 68 fourth-graders from Princess Nahienaena Elementary and King Kamehameha III Elementary School for their math tutoring lessons by 68 Lahainaluna student tutors. 

In addition, 12 LHS math tutors volunteer at Lahaina Intermediate School. 

Lahainaluna math teacher Shannon Fields, Jeannie Smythe and Harriet Ota coordinate this program with help by Rodney Medeiros, Arleen Gerbig, Carol Inaba, Noreen Wales and Andrea Koyama.

The Tuesday is Math Day in Lahaina program is part of the Lahaina Complex After School Enrichment Project that began in 2002 at Lahaina Intermediate with 20 volunteers. 

Today, 152 volunteers tutor 300 students in grades three through 11, including all four Lahaina public schools. 

Students receive free after school services in theater/creative arts on Mondays, math and test taking skills on Tuesdays, and reading, writing, social studies and test taking skills on Wednesdays.

The Lahainaluna High School student tutors in math provide one-to-one tutoring. Adult tutors work with three to four students in groups. 

Programs begin in October and end in April with a celebration dinner/awards evening for students, parents, tutors and guests.

Students in the Lahaina Intermediate School theater program will provide entertainment for this event in April 2010.

This community project could not exist and continue without the dedicated efforts of the four principals — Marsha Nakamura at LIS, Michael Nakano at LHS, Kaipo Miller at Princess Nahienaena Elementary School and Steve Franz at King Kamehameha III School — and grade level Coordinators Virginia Keen, Terry Warwick, Jane Kupau, Donna Tarsitano, Richard Endsley, Lynn Kasper, Linda Quinn, Phyllis Nakamura, Louisa Shelton, Shannon Fields, Jeanne Smythe and Harriet Ota.

Key supporters of the program include Althea Viernes, Becky Altier, Claire Tillman, Sara Kanemitsu, Maui County and Colin Hanlon of the Boys and Girls Club for bus transportation, and Wendy Stebbins of the Maui County Volunteer Center for funding celebrations to honor the dedicated volunteers.

“Lahaina is truly no ka oi,” remarked Pat Endsley, who directs the program with her husband, Richard.

Pat said that in addition to the effective leadership staff, dedicated tutors, students, parents and teachers, Lahaina’s generous community service organizations and donors contribute significantly to the success of the project. 

“They exemplify the ‘We are in it together’ spirit expressed by these thoughts: ‘Giving, whether it be of time, labor, affection, advice, gifts or whatever, is one of life’s greatest pleasures,’ and, ‘Giving thanks is one course from which we never graduate.’ 

“We offer our abundant mahalo to a deserving and remarkable Lahaina community that knows how to give,” she concluded.