Paradise Cove Scores Big With Students

Wednesday - February 20, 2008

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Twenty-eight students and two faculty members from Kapolei High School were invited by Keith Horita, president of Paradise Cove Luau, to attend the NFL Pro Bowl along with students from Waianae and Nanakuli.

The teens met at the Luau in Ko Olina in the morning for refreshments and were then taken to Aloha Stadium in charter buses to watch the game.

“I wanted to transport the kids first class,” said Horita. He also had the schools and students recognized on the score board during the game.

The tickets were given to Horita - and in turn to the schools - after an idea he had for rewarding good students from the surrounding areas.

“A couple of years ago, I mentioned to our contact from the NFL that I wanted to do something special for the schools on the west side of Oahu, because there’s a lot of bad press about things going on on the west side,“he said.“What I wanted to do is highlight something positive.”

Horita negotiated a package with the NFL when they decided to hold the Pro Bowl party at Paradise Cove. The program that includes tickets to the game, transportation and a special commemorative coin for the students became a reality at the 2007 Pro Bowl and was a part of the package again this year.

Even though the ultimate criteria for student selection was left up to the schools, Horita had some of his own in mind.

“You know, I was not an attendance pro for couple of years in high school,” he said,” and showing up is more than half the battle. So I wanted attendance to be the No. 1 criteria.”

After the game, students were brought back to Paradise Cove, where Horita waited until parents came to pick up each student.

Horita also said he will continue the program as long as the Pro Bowl party is held at Paradise Cove.

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