Steve Nakasato

Linda Dela Cruz
Wednesday - April 27, 2005
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Mililani Ike Elementary School principal Steve Nakasato has 841 students who raised $13,000 for the American Heart Association with the Jump Rope For Heart event this year. Not only did his students in kindergarten to fifth grade raise that money, they knew before they started this venture that they wouldn’t be accepting any of the prizes normally given to those who raise money. The students donated their prizes — water bottles, small radios, T-shirts and other items — back to the American Cancer Society, which will give the rewards to a women’s shelter that may have some children who would enjoy the items.

“We are working toward a school level for citizenship,” says Nakasato, who has lived in Mililani for 18 years. The idea is to develop respect for yourself and for others. The other part is to develop character education.”

On Jump Rope For Heart day, all the students wore red. Nineyear- old fourth-grader Bethany Rios (pictured above) wrote to her friends and family for donations to honor her 5-year-old cousin, Shayla, who has a heart condition called myocarditis cardio myopathy. Rios, who loves hula and gymnastics, says she sees her cousin at hula lessons in church.

Rios was recognized at the assembly before Jump Rope For Heart day for honoring her cousin. Rios describes the day: “We took turns jumping and jumping,” she says. “I feel proud to help.”

The entire school was in the open courtyard area from 8:30 to 9:15 a.m. jumping rope. More than 30 parent volunteers and several seniors from Mililani High School came out to help the keiki count how many jumps they made.

Mililani Ike, which is only in its second year of existence, is setting an example of community service. The school’s PCNC parent /community networking center) facilitator Debbie Diebert pictured above) acknowledges the true heart of the students and families in this project.

“We wanted to do something that was truly a community service,” says Diebert. “We’re very pleased with the support from the families.”

Principal Nakasato also credits the hard-working teachers and parents.

“It’s a reflection of our Mililani community understanding the importance of being helpful to each other,” says Nakasato. The students also want to donate a gift certificate they earned from the Heart Association for some physical education equipment to another school. On another community project, the students also collected $2,000 worth of pennies for the Asian tsunami victims.

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