Benefit concert raises $40,000 for Hawaiʻi’s educators
The Hawaiʻi Foundation for Educators teamed up Wednesday with local music icons The Makaha Sons and Pure Heart for the second annual “Teach Our Future” benefit concert. The show took place at the historic Hawaiʻi Theatre in downtown Honolulu.
The show raised more than $40,000 to support Hawaiʻi educators in their effort to maintain high-quality education for Hawaiʻi’s keiki.
The Hawaiʻi Foundation for Educators provides teachers with quality training in professional and leadership development. Courses are developed by educators for educators.
Nimitz Elementary teacher Logan Okita said, “It’s really important to support teachers through professional development opportunities like the Hawaiʻi Foundation for Educators provides because it shows teachers that they’re supported and ultimately it benefits the students that we serve in our classrooms.”
HFE funding allows the Hawaiʻi State Teachers Association to return deposits for completed courses back to teachers. Organizers say that educators have found this immensely helpful as they advance their careers.
Okita explained, “Professional development can be really expensive for educators, and so to have that funding available to reimburse teachers once they’ve completed the program is an amazing resource, and it’s a great benefit for teachers so that they know that once it’s completed, they’ll have that money back in their pockets.”
The evening was emceed by Billy V and featured performances by family band Eddie and the Coconuts, led by Eddie Somera, a Hawaiʻi State Department of Education behavioral technician, and student musicians with the Hawaiʻi Saxophone Foundation, including the Hawaiʻi High School Saxophone Ensemble.
HFE board member Harris Nakamoto says student participation was an important part of the show, especially since many teachers were sitting in the audience. “For (the students) to perform in front of the teachers, many of them from the various schools that are here tonight, it really shows their honor and respect for them, but also their ability to give back within the community, and playing in the Hawaiʻi Theatre is just awesome for these kids,” Nakamoto said.