By Hannah Bartlett
On February 10th, Waialua re-started its award winning agriculture program. For decades, the Future Farmers of America Waialua Chapter won district and state awards and FFA was the hottest club on campus. However, when the sugar mill shut down, the agriculture program enrollment began to drop. Soon thereafter, Waialua did not offer agriculture as a course, and, for 20 years, has been just a memory of days past.
Through the guidance and mentorship of Mrs. Kawehealani Kanae, the ag program has been reborn and is open to any students attending Waialua High and Intermediate School. Said sophomore Hoku Sabanal, “I wanted to get more involved in the community. I wanted to know about the different native plants and learn how to preserve the environment as well as give myself a new experience.” Students and mentors meet every Monday and Friday after school from 2:15pm – 3:15pm in P4.
Those who attend will do hands on activities such as restore and maintain the school’s greenhouse, and further develop their critical thinking skills. “The agriculture program provides opportunities for students to be able to have a positive effect on the community and gives them experience needed to be successful,” says Ms. Kanae. Students will learn how to raise and nurture Native Hawaiian seedlings, and hopefully expand out of the greenhouse by replanting these plants and seedlings on Mount Ka’ala. Not only do the students benefit from this experience, but so can the school and community.
Students can grow herbs and vegetables for Ms. Marsha Taylor’s culinary program as well as for the school cafeteria breakfast and lunches. The vision for the agriculture program is to perpetuate self-sustaining skills that brings awareness to the positive impacts that gardening/farming will provide through contributions to the community, strengthen effective communication, and further develop critical thinking skills. The aim is to expose the next generation to interactive experiences gaining sustainable skills that promote positive stewardship of the land while strengthening community pride. If you are interested, please see Ms. Kanae in P4 for more information.