“Pathways to Our Future”, the annual Ke Alahele Education Fund Benefit Dinner and Auction presented by Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB), was recently held at the Fairmont Kea Lani Resort in Wailea. Providing the stirring opening with oli and pule were Molokai Middle School students Heona Ayau-Odom, Keaheakekehau Ross and their teacher Iolani Kuoha. All three participate in the Hawaiian Immersion Program at the school as well as in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs. “Both girls felt blessed to be part of the event and they have great STEM projects,” said Kuoha, who was named Educator of the Year for 2014 by the Hawai’i Association of Middle Schools. “This year, thanks to MEDB’s Ke Alahele Education Fund, Molokai students were among countless youth statewide empowered through STEM skills. Each semester I get to teach them how to identify problems in the community and how to solve them with answers pertaining to STEM education. In addition, I’m able to exemplify Hawaiian culture and bring it into the 21st century.”
“STEM skills are important to the success of our state,” said Lieutenant Governor Shan Tsutsui. “We couldn’t do this without MEDB,” he explained. “Hawai’i is in the forefront because of their commitment.” Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa, out of the country during the event, sent this message, “There is nothing more important than preparing our children for the future. By encouraging our students to learn more about STEM subjects we hope that one day they will bring new industries back home, diversify our economy and build a more resilient and sustainable community.”
“MEDB has worked vigorously throughout its history to enhance education and training in our community,” said MEDB President and CEO Jeanne Unemori Skog. “This past school year, the awards enabled robotics teams to compete on Maui, Oahu and the Mainland. STEM curricula also empowered students to map our island’s coral reefs, explore our solar system and much more. Thanks to generous businesses and other community stakeholders, we have touched thousands of students,” said Skog.