Seniors again accept challenge of helping poor
The Class of 2006 began collecting for families in the Lokahi program as freshmen
In the midst of the holiday season, you reflect on the current situation in your home. Both of your parents are employed in a substandard occupation and are living well below the poverty line. Your current housing situation is second-rate at best.
Radford High School
Mary Ann Kurose
4361 Salt Lake Blvd.,
Pappy the Ram
You attempt to keep up with your high school studies, and long for a computer that will assist you in that struggle. You feel selfish, knowing at the current rate your parents will need to save up for more than a year to afford such a device. This is your way of life; you are in desperate need of something and unable to afford it.
Every year, thousands of families and individuals are subject to similar situations, where they are in great need of something and unable to attain it. According to the 2005 U.S. census, the poverty level in Hawaii for families of four is $22,000 a year; in actuality, many are living below that.
A program exists that battles poverty with constant vigilance. The Lokahi program was founded in 1992 by Leslie Wilcox of KHON-2 News and social services leader Mariellen Jones. The volunteer-driven organization has helped countless Hawaii families in need over the past 13 years, and the program continues this holiday season.
The organization enlists volunteers to collect necessities, including baby-care items, toys for all ages, household supplies, gift certificates and food.
Radford's senior leadership class is an active participant in the Lokahi program; the Class of 2006 first participated in the program during its freshman year, and has continued to show their support ever since.
"Since we have been in the program for so long, it feels almost like the people we help in the program are family," said senior class treasurer Gabby Rellin.
It is required for students in the senior leadership class to contribute to the Lokahi program in the best way possible.
"We usually request about five families and 20 to 40 teenagers to contribute to," said Jerika Salvador, senior class recording secretary. "We split up into groups and collect goods according to their family's wishes. For the teens, we buy and collect presents that they ask for, like gift certificates and Game Boys. We try our best to get everything on their lists and more."
Last year, more than 200 people were on the receiving end of the Class of 2006's efforts, and the number is expected to increase this year. Items like computers, bed and living room sets and other necessities previously listed were donated. For its efforts the class has been recognized.
"Twice, actually, we've been honored by Leslie (Wilcox), one of the founders of the program," said Geemee Ige, class co-adviser. "She has contacted us to do another story this year as well."
The class intends this year to expand its range of donated material and the number of individuals in the Lokahi program.
"We are going to try and get a lot more items for donation this year," senior Valerie Ruiz said. "We have already started to collect things from the members of the class, and are storing them for later in the season."
Typically, there is a challenge.
Somewhere in the state is someone whose world might be turned around by these donations.
The question is this: You have a chance to improve the life of someone else with something you are fortunate enough to have or afford. Can you allow yourself to give up that opportunity?
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Running of the Rams
Radford enjoys one of its most successful sports years in school history
Those who follow the Chinese calendar know that this is the Year of the Rooster. But for Radford athletes, this is the Year of the Ram. They captured Oahu Interscholastic Association titles in three sports -- football, volleyball and cross country -- qualifying for state championship tournaments.
The football teams took home their first championships since 1981, capturing the OIA White varsity and junior varsity titles.
"We came into the season having one goal, and that was to win the OIA championship," senior Trevor Maldon said. "We wouldn't accept anything less because we knew we had the players to do it, but we just had to work hard and go out and play to show we were for real."
The varsity Rams played Iolani for the Division II state title on Dec. 2 at Aloha Stadium but came up short, 34-20.
The JV team suffered two losses this year, but that did not hold it back from being first in its conference and winning the OIA championship. Before making it to the playoffs, the Rams had to beat an undefeated Campbell team, winning 16-13 with a field goal with less than a minute left. They then beat Kalaheo in the first round of the playoffs and clinched the OIA championship the next week, something not done since 1982.
Meanwhile, the girls varsity volleyball team captured the OIA Division II title. The girls had suffered only one loss this season, to Kaiser. But as fate had it, they met the Cougars again in the championship game, this time winning the match and the title.
"It felt good to be able to play Kaiser again, because we knew we defeated ourselves in the first game," senior Alzie Auelua said. "That's why we were really looking forward to playing them for the championship."
They ultimately wound up in the state championship game against St. Francis, the state's top seed. In the end, the Rams came up two points short but finished as runners-up for the Division II title.
COURTESY RADFORD HIGH SCHOOL
Radford senior linebackers Bronson Leafa, left, and Fil Samson run down the ball carrier in a game against Moanalua.
The boys varsity volleyball Rams dominated in their own right as well, going undefeated during the regular season and finishing No. 1 in their conference. Although they were OIA runners-up, they still qualified for the state tournament. The team ended the season ranked seventh in the state after a loss to Kalaheo.
Sharing the championship spotlight is the girls varsity cross-country team, with an OIA title. The last time Radford won the OIA championship was in 1981, when its current coach, Elizabeth Patton, was a member of the team.
Although the boys varsity cross-country team did not claim an OIA title, it still qualified for the state tournament. Fourteen team members competed in Kauai for the state title, held at Kauai Community College. The girls placed fourth in the state.
"This year, I just had to work harder than I did last year because every year I want to get better," said junior Kia Atkins, who placed 14th out of 174 runners at the state meet. "If I don't try to do better than what I did last year, what is the point of running?"
Girls varsity runner and freshman Shelby Yokum is an OIA JV and varsity champion. Yokum ran all year as a JV member and placed first at that level. She then went on to run as a varsity member and took first place at the OIA championships.
Patton said that the team worked hard all year long, which brought all of them closer.
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"What is your pre-game ritual?"
Junior, bowling and wrestling
"We go to Jamba Juice and stretch out and pray. For bowling we say a cheer."
"Sometimes take a nap ... when it isn't loud."
"I wish my teammates good luck before we go out on our canoes."
Senior, cross-country, soccer and track
"On the bus ride, I listen to music, and when we get there I warm up. I also try not to think about the task at hand."
Senior, boys varsity soccer
"I always put my socks and shin guards on my right leg first, and I eat an orange."
Senior, softball and wrestling
"I slap myself to make me mad, and then I say a prayer."
"I listen to music on the way there. I pray, and we practice hitting in the driving range. We all stretch, gotta stretch, and eat lots of food."