Students Casey Kawahara and Steven Okai set up a new program on a school computer.
Tech-savvy students give back
Two seniors offer their help to teachers baffled by computers
One way educational success can be measured occurs when the student becomes the teacher.
If this standard of measurement is applied to Pearl City High School seniors Casey Kawahara and Steven Okai, then their educational stories would definitely be successes, for both students have become technology teachers to the staff at Pearl City High.
Pearl City High School
Kristy Suefuji and Nicole Miya
2100 Hookiekie Street
Pearl City, Hawaii 96782
Purple and white
Both Kawahara and Okai have amassed such great knowledge and skill in troubleshooting computers and running media equipment that they are a dynamic duo of technological help to the less tech-savvy staff at the school.
Kawahara, interested in sound and technology since he was given his first computer as an elementary school student, has developed lifelong expertise in computers.
As a high school student, Kawahara began taking media classes from the school's technology coordinator, Guy Sato, who continued to inspire Kawahara.
Sato, responsible for helping the school's 120 teachers with computer problems, has been overwhelmed with requests for help from the staff. Realizing the workload that Sato faced, Kawahara and Okai volunteered their services on their own time to help Sato help the staff. The duo's expertise traveled by word of mouth as teachers would tell each other about Kawahara and Okai's abilities.
"I think it's rewarding to help the school out," Kawahara said.
"I feel very fortunate to work with Casey," says Sato. "Not only is he very intelligent, but he knows how to research for information, read it, and figure things out.
"One time he wanted to learn how to use the motion lights we have in the auditorium. He downloaded the manual online, figured it out, and became so proficient that the system was used extensively for the Tributes (drama production) concert."
Kawahara and Okai regularly help teachers with computer problems. They most recently helped set up about 70 laptops for a computer lab, installing five different programs on each computer.
Okai, like Kawahara, was given a computer early in life.
"As a kid, I was always fascinated with the computer; I liked to take them apart and see how they work," Okai said.
Okai has never taken a formal computer course: "I learn a lot because Casey teaches me everything he learns from Mr. Sato."
Like Kawahara, Okai helps his school because "the gratitude of whoever I'm helping is enough. Lots of teachers do a lot for the school, so I think it's good for us students to give back to the school and help when we can."
Kawahara and Okai are testaments to the value of investing well in a student's education, for the dividends are always worthwhile.
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Electronic device policy tightens
Students face losing iPods and cell phones if they use them during restricted school hours
A new school year brought in the implementation of a new electronics policy at Pearl City High School. This new policy states that all electronic devices, including cell phones and iPods, can be confiscated by teachers if the devices are visible during instructional time. Though cell phones used as phones can be used before school, during recess and lunch recess, and after school, iPods are banned from campus.
Once the item has been confiscated by a teacher, security guard or administrator, it is the student's responsibility to inform the parent or guardian about the confiscation. The parent or guardian must then make a trip to the office to pick up the item.
Should there be any unclaimed items at the end of the year, those items will be donated to charities. The policy was a result of fact-finding by teachers led by English teacher Chris Windnagle and chemistry teacher Judith Morton.
Security guard Woody Like displays cell phones, iPods and cameras confiscated from students.
Windnagle said: "(Teachers) were aware that the use of iPods, cell phones, and (electronic) games were getting way out of control. Students were beginning to cheat; iPods and cell phones would get stolen. Then you see earphones in (students') ears; it's like they were tuning the teachers out. Teachers didn't want students to do multitasking. We wanted them to focus in on what we wanted them to focus on. Teachers were getting tired of telling people."
The policy seems to be a positive change.
Vice Principal Kyle Miyashiro said: "The policy is working. So far, every parent I've encountered has said this is a good policy."
Since the policy took effect, there have been no reports to the administration of any cell phones or iPods stolen, compared with the high numbers of reported thefts in previous years.
English teacher Vicky Pastolero feels that since the policy took effect, she has noticed better test scores and better participation in her classes.
Some students are not too happy with the policy. Junior Aldric Ulep said, "We should be able to use our electronics during recess and lunch because we aren't doing anything."
Sophomore Christine Chong agrees with the policy: "This will be very helpful for the people that aren't responsible enough to take care of their own things."
Freshman Mylinda Jefferson also agrees with the new policy: "I like this policy because it helps kids concentrate in class."
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If you were of age to vote, would you vote for Obama or McCain? Why?
"Obama because he promotes change for the better."
"Obama because he's from my 'hood so he understands the little people."
"Obama because I like his ideas over McCain's. He seems to be striving for change, and that's something our country could use."
"I would choose Obama because I think he has better ideas for the people."
"McCain because he is pro-life and he wants to help the special education people."
Obama because he said he would make a difference with today's youth."