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Million-Dollar Business Runs Out of Kahuku High

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Kahuku.org Inspires Other Schools

History teacher James J.J. Cabralda and six other staff from Leilehua High School visited Kahuku High about two years ago, to learn Kahuku.org’s story.

Cabralda says the Kahuku team recommended that Leilehua create a dedicated space for its store, but he says that hasn’t been possible. Instead, business teacher Scott Kusuda’s entrepreneurship class started an online store during the 2012-2013 school year, Leilehuamules.org. Students run the store and work with the school’s graphic-design class to design merchandise.

Kusuda says revenue goes back into the store and he hopes it can grow so eventually it is self-sustaining. “We didn’t do it just to make money. We wanted the students to actually learn something from it,” he says.

People from Kalani High have also spoken to Kahuku.org and Kalani principal Mitchell Otani says the school is considering whether a student store fits into its plan to expose students to real-life experiences.

In 2012, Sen. Jill Tokuda introduced a Senate concurrent resolution that established Kahuku.org, the Hilo High Foundation and the Farrington Foundation as models for other schools that want to create their own endowments. Tokuda says the concurrent resolution was about sharing best practices.

“We wanted to encourage our public schools to tap into their alumni resources to look for possible donations, possible partnerships that could really open up their classrooms for mentorship opportunities,” Tokuda says.

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