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To celebrate the culmination of a yearlong project-based learning opportunity, Senate Vice President Michelle N. Kidani and Senator Donovan M. Dela Cruz attended the first annual Kalo Challenge hosted by the Hawaiʻi Department of Education’s Alternative Learning Programs, Supports, and Services (ALPSS). ALPSS provides supportive environments that help students rise above adversity to thrive.

Throughout the year, at-promise students in programs across the state would grow and cultivate their own kalo, learn about the cultural significance of the plant, and come up with innovative dishes from their crops.

“This challenge combined agriculture, math, and value-added product development to help students grow in a non-traditional learning environment,” said Senator Dela Cruz. “The Senate is proud to support these kinds of programs that disrupt the pipeline to prison and pipeline to prostitution and address the needs of our most vulnerable students.”

“We very much appreciate the support of Superintendent Hayashi in providing the resources needed to execute such innovative programs,” said Senator Kidani. “This upward mobility helps elevate the Department to address the current and future needs of our state.”

The event featured the work of three finalist programs from Pāhoa High School, Kohala High School, and Honolulu District. The students shared their cultivation and culinary creations with judges, the Senators, and other guests. In the end, Kohala High School students Malachi Duque and Elijah Tobiolo were declared the first-place winners of the Kalo Challenge.

“Congratulations to Malachi and Elijah for their win,” said Senator Dela Cruz. “Seeing all the students showcasing their hard work and dedication, turning around their lives for the better, is the beauty of the DOE’s Alternative Learning Programs.”


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