As the summer heat continues to climb, so does the demand for air conditioners in Hawai‘i’s swelteringly hot classrooms. That’s why we recently decided to donate $20,000 for the installation of air conditioners at Kahuku High and Intermediate School on O‘ahu’s North Shore. Thanks to an additional $20,000 donation from the Turtle Bay Foundation, we are happy to report that powerful 25-BTU air conditioning units were installed in 23 portable classrooms. Kahuku High and Intermediate School has the highest number of portable classrooms in the state — only three were previously air conditioned!
Earlier this year during May and June, our islands experienced a blistering heat wave that set record-high temperatures across the state (Honolulu hit 91 degrees!). Now that it’s hurricane season, it’s not only hot, but humid, and despite being out in the windward side, Kahuku High and Intermediate School’s portable classrooms get very little airflow, making it an incredible challenge for both students to learn and faculty to teach.
Mark Woolsey, a long-time Japanese and ukulele teacher at Kahuku High and Intermediate School, experienced this firsthand. He says that he used to buy fans at his own expense in an attempt to keep the room at the very least bearable. “But after a while, the fan deteriorates and you have to get a new one,” Woolsey said. “These classrooms don’t get much wind at all, so when it really gets hot, I wear a towel around my neck because I sweat so much.”
Woolsey said that he’s seen many students start to lose focus and are unable to pay attention because of the heat — some students even start to fall asleep. Now that he has a working air conditioner in his classroom, he couldn’t be more ecstatic. “I am hoping that the cool air is going to help with the learning atmosphere!” he said.
“As part of the Nā Pua Makani Wind Farm team, I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Kahuku High School to learn more about the school and how we could best support its students,” said Michael Hughes, project manager at AES. “We’re very grateful for the opportunity to contribute toward creating a better learning environment for the faculty and 1,400 students who use these classrooms.”
Here’s to keeping our students cool during these hot summer months and a heartfelt mahalo to our teachers for all that you do for our keiki!