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Lahainaluna sophomore leads STEM camp for preschoolers

By Staff | Jul 25, 2019

Lahainaluna High School sophomore Cael Yasutake created a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) camp tailored to keiki at Holy Innocents Preschool. 

LAHAINA – Lahainaluna High School sophomore Cael Yasutake realizes the importance of nurturing the youngsters of today, just as he was as a preschooler.

Cael attended Holy Innocents Preschool, King Kamehameha III Elementary School, Lahaina Intermediate and currently LHS.

He is a standout wrestler for the Lunas – his grandfather is longtime Luna coach Neal Nakata – and an avid member of the school’s Robotics Team.

Parents John and Ginny Yasutake deeply immersed young Cael in the educational and extracurricular activities that endear a well-rounded and respectful person.

Cael decided to give back to the youngsters of Lahaina – and what better place to do so than at Holy Innocents Preschool, where he was nurtured as a four-year-old just over a decade ago?

He approached Headmaster Cynthia Shibao earlier this year with the idea of a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) camp for the kids at the preschool.

Shibao readily approved the idea, and soon the event was underway with five sessions covering topics such as pulleys, elevators and buildings.

Young Yasutake had been inspired by his own experiences with STEM projects as well as his participation with robotics at Lahainaluna.

He created a STEM camp that was geared to the kids at HIPS, which included projects like fishing poles, engineering, pressure, weight structures and robotics that were set up and aimed at their level.

“How does it work?” was the key phrase at the camp. Each project came with a story or poem and created a challenge to create as a team.

The camp was a resounding success.

“We were all ecstatic. Teachers, parents, kids – everyone was impressed with what they were able to accomplish,” said Shibao. “We are all inspired to do more. The kids learned how to label and acknowledge what they were working on. They learned physics in a simple way. They won’t say they can’t do science anymore!”