Our Islands, Our Future

The Ke Alahele Education Fund has freed Iao School robotics advisor Jayne Hori from worries about fundraising and allowed her and her students to focus on learning. “It fits perfectly with STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) standards and learning opportunities,” she said. Both of Hori’s children, Taylor, a high school senior, and Trent, a sophomore, have benefited from a grant in their middle school days and now in high school. “They both are not afraid of taking STEM type classes or programs in and out of school,” Hori said. Instead of raising funds for travel, Hori said she and her students pour their energy in preparing and then participating in robotics tournaments.

“The Ke Alahele Education Fund has impacted me personally and professionally,” Hori said. Grants have helped pay for registration fees, robotics kits, extra robotic equipment and parts, laptops and travel. According to Hori, a lot of grant making institutions do not pay for travel. “It takes a lot of the worry out of the way when you receive funding from Maui Economic Development Board. The students can concentrate on their project and the parents don’t have to worry about how they going to come up with the money to pay for their child’s travel expenses.” She said it would be hard on students if they worked on robotic projects and then didn’t have a venue to share and test their knowledge. Hori said MEDB’s Ke Alahele Education Fund opportunities are also open to community civic groups such as 4-H and Boy and Girl Scouts, and fund all kinds of STEM activities, not just robotics.

“A Pathway to the Future,” a benefit dinner and auction for the fund, will be held on August 27th at 4:30 p.m. in the Grand Wailea Resort. Guests include U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye and Ms. Irene Hirano, and Mayor Alan Arakawa and Ann Arakawa. For tickets, which are $150 per person, call 875-2300 or visit