Message with a punch: Golden Gloves nonprofit urges Kona kids to fight for education

  • Golden Gloves founder Timothy Williams and dive instructor Allyson Goddard cheer on Lily Hamar Thursday at Hawaii Montessori School in Kona.

  • Mokulele Pilot Shawn Krcma talks to keiki about his job Thursday at Hawaii Montessori School in Kona. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)
  • Dive instructor Allyson Goddard talks to keiki about her job.

  • Golden Gloves founder Timothy Williams talks to keiki about the importance of education Thursday at Hawaii Montessori School in Kona. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)
  • Timothy Williams talks to keiki Thursday at Hawaii Montessori School in Kona about the importance of education. (Photos by Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

  • Thursday at Hawaii Montessori School in Kona, Golden Gloves founder Timothy Williams asks Wyatt Hill what he would like to be when he grows up. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

KAILUA-KONA — Shawn Krcma and Allyson Goddard were once young children with big dreams. Now a pilot and a scuba diving instructor, the two professionals hope to inspire the future generation to follow their own passions as they grow up.

Krcma and Goddard were invited to speak at Hawaii Montessori School on Thursday by Golden Gloves – Education is Worth the Fight. The nonprofit organization visits schools around the country to speak to children and young adults about the importance of fighting for a good education and a good future — symbolized with a pair of boxing gloves.

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Krcma, a pilot for Mokulele Airlines, told the children he wanted fly airplanes since he was a child, as his dad was a pilot, too. He assured them learning to fly an airplane was not a daunting task, and likened it to learning to ride a bicycle.

“It does take a lot of hard work, but it’s fun,” Krcma told the captivated audience of preschoolers. “And hard work can be fun, too.”

Working hard in school and getting an education are the main points Timothy Williams — Golden Gloves president who invited the guest speakers — tries to instill in his young audiences.

“I thought sports was my only ticket. It didn’t work out in football for me. I never got to go to the NFL, so I went back and learned education is so important,” Williams said. “Education will open so many doors. Kids are so impressionable that you can teach that to kids with professional people. That’s why I always take a panel of professional people with me. … It’s like being a cheerleader for these kids.”

Williams visited St. Joseph School in Hilo last year, and said his goal is to eventually visit every school in Hawaii. The preschoolers at Hawaii Montessori School were Williams’ youngest audience yet.

“One thing about a young kid is, they are like sponges,” Williams said. “And we have to protect kids because they’re vulnerable, like elderly people. Kids, if you just talk to them and be honest, if you have honesty and integrity in your speech, then kids will relate to that.”

Goddard brought along her “briefcase” of scuba equipment, and gave a demonstration on what each piece did to help her stay underwater, including her wetsuit, mask, fins and pink rabbit-eared hat, which helps her stay warm.

“I love the ocean, and I get to go in the ocean every day,” Goddard said on why she loves her career.

She said her job allows her to be familiar with the animals in the ocean and learn how to protect them, and that learning to scuba dive can also open doors to other professions, like construction worker or marine biologist.

At the end, Williams pulled out a pair of boxing gloves and placed them on two volunteers, Wyatt Hill and Lily Hamar. Williams told them they could be anything they wanted to be as long as they fought for it by receiving good grades, obeying their parents and listening to their teachers.

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When asked, both Hill and Hamar said they wanted to be scuba instructors when they grow up, just like Goddard.

“I just think these kids are like, give us a good example, and we’ll be great in our generation,” Williams said. “That’s all they’re asking for.”

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