MANINIOWALI — Students from Kealakehe High School found a different kind of classroom Monday morning at Kua Bay.
Instead of their usual digs off Puohulihuli Street, students from the school’s Career Technical Education Program made the trek to the popular North Kona beach to share healthy eating and living tips, food samples, sunscreen swap-outs, easy exercises and more with the community — all the while honing the skills they’re learning in school.
“It really helps us,” said Mei Ling Kam, a junior studying clinical health with the dream of becoming a traveling nurse. “We test each other in class but coming out to our community, it’s a different experience.”
Kai Kale, a 10th-grader studying culinary arts, agreed.
“In the classroom, we make our own food and try our own food, and we never get outside opinions of what we could do better or what we could do to improve our recipe,” he said. “But, when we come out here, we get opinions from other people and that helps us improve.”
Kam and Kale were among about 20 students from physical education, culinary arts, environmental studies, health and arts and communications to take part in showcasing the school’s cross-collaborative Healthy Eating Living Purposefully program. The program educates students on healthy eating and living with the goal of the students imparting what they’ve learned within the community.
“The real-life exposure is really critical so that they can see what it’s really all about — not just taking my word for it,” said Karen Sheff, Culinary Arts and Public Health Services teacher.
“We are really grateful the DLNR allowed us to partner with them in the past and now going forward with this student showcase and possibly other ventures with the Kealakehe High School Career Technical Education program,” Sheff added about the partnership the high school has with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources that allows for the real-life experiences at the beach park.
One person taking advantage of the free event was Greg Robertson, a Big Island resident who just happened to be playing in the water Monday when the students were setting up their tents.
“It’s a great idea, sooner or later they’ve got to merge with society. They can’t learn everything in the classroom,” said Robertson after having his heart rate and blood pressure checked by Kam.
Future Eating Healthy Living Purposefully events are slated throughout the school year. West Hawaii Today will publish details as they are received.