Advertisement - Click to support our sponsors.

Tuesday, May 2, 2000

By Ken Ige, Star-Bulletin
These Washington Middle School sixth- and eighth-graders
have volunteered to make things for charities. Clockwise
from left: Robyn Shoemaker (T-shirt), Jaewon Kim (bear),
Jaseleen Henry (leis), Ashley Ideta (books), Shiho Matsutaka
(fish), Vanessa Outz (pillow), Kelsey Young (pillow) and
Aatila Tanaka (heart-shaped pillow). At center is a
quilt in progress.

Kids feel good
helping others

Washington, Punahou and
Waiakea schools are honored
for service-learning programs

By Suzanne Tswei


A free serving of Ruth Tamanaha's famous teriyaki hot dog musubi isn't always the motivation behind good deeds at Washington Middle School.

Eighth-grader Kelsey Young, a die-hard fan of the teacher's handmade snack, is working for something less tangible.

"I know I'll be helping homeless kids," he said about his latest good deed, a colorful patchwork quilt that has not involved a single musubi incentive.

"Why am I making it? Because these kids don't have as much stuff as I do. Because it's good to help people who need help."

The pink-and-blue Hawaiian-print quilt will be needed at the Weinberg Village in Waimanalo when winter comes, Kelsey said.

"It gets really cold at night sometimes. I live in Makiki where it's hot, but I still get cold under my blanket. They are over the mountain on the other side and if they don't have a blanket, they must be freezing to death over there," Kelsey said.

Thoughtful projects such as his have been part of the curriculum at Washington since 1994, and these service-learning classes are winning the school national praises.

Washington, Punahou School and Hilo's Waiakea High were among 66 schools named yesterday as National Service-Learning Leader Schools. The schools are recognized for excellence in their service-learning programs, which combine volunteer work with classroom learning.

Service-learning programs are a growing trend that has helped students apply classroom lessons in real-life situations. Students in the three Hawaii schools have taken up service projects that include cleaning public places, cooking for senior citizens, publishing a booklet about the tsunami disasters in Hilo and volunteering at homeless shelters.

"We consider this another mode of teaching our kids," said Washington Principal Marsha Alegre. "They can take what they've learned in the classroom and give back to the community. It makes their learning more relevant and gives them a good feeling about themselves."

Fourteen-year-old Kelsey already knows the lesson from his quilt project is manyfold. "I am experiencing things I've never experienced before," Kelsey said as he began to list everything he has gained:

Bullet "I feel fortunate to have a blanket."
Bullet "I am actually learning how to make a quilt."
Bullet "I haven't finished many projects before. Why? Because I am lazy. But I am confident I am going to finish this quilt." He is prepared to work after class, during lunch and weekends to finish before the semester is up.
Bullet "When I grow up, I can tell my own children what I did so they can learn from what I did."
Bullet "It's nice to do things for other people."
Bullet "I don't need a hot dog musubi to do something nice for somebody else."

E-mail to City Desk

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]

© 2000 Honolulu Star-Bulletin