Categorized | Featured, Volunteering

Kamehameha students leave legacy at Ka‘u Hospital

Nona Wilson, director of nursing at Ka‘u Hospital, and Izaac Queja hold the finished product, one of 52 handcrafted signs he and his classmates made for his senior project. (Hawaii 24/7 photo courtesy of Ka‘u Hospital)

Special to Hawaii 24/7 by Elena Cabatu |Community Relations Manager Hilo Medical Center

On May 25, Kamehameha High School senior, Izaac Queja presented his Senior Legacy Project to Ka‘u Hospital in the form of new hand crafted signs. It all began with a need.

“I wanted to change the signs inside the facility to make it look nicer, correctly identify what the rooms and areas, and rename some areas to appear less institutional,” said Nona Wilson, director of nursing at Ka‘u Hospital.

Mission accomplished – a sign identifying the Ocean Wing. (Hawaii 24/7 photo courtesy of Ka‘u Hospital)

“Once my plan was approved by our Administrator Merilyn Harris, I emailed Ninia Aldrich, principal of Kamehameha Schools, to ask if the Engineering and Design Academy could take on this project,” she said.

Aldrich approved and forwarded Wilson’s request to Bret Marsh, instructor in the Engineering and Design Academy. School officials converted Wilson’s request into a Senior Legacy Project, a graduation requirement for Kamehameha High School students.

Queja stepped up to assume the project. After a couple of meetings with Queja and Marsh concerning the hospital’s requirements, it was up to Queja to complete the project consisting of 52 signs – all while keeping up with his other senior activities and studies.

“I’d like to thank Mr. Marsh and Mr. Rivera (the other instructor in the academy) for encouraging me to do the project,” he said.

Toward the end of the project, with the school year winding down, it became evident Queja was not going to finish on time. Queja’s classmates in the academy pitched in to help.

Unfortunately, as they picked up momentum on the project, the machine broke.

“I was getting kind of stressed out because I had school and the project,” Queja said. “I’d go in to work on it during lunch and my free period. I thank my classmates for their help. When I found out the machine broke, I was disappointed that I couldn’t finish.”

Despite the unlucky situation, academy instructor Marsh told Wilson that once the machine was repaired, he assured her of the completion of project, what he called their “kuleana.”

Queja added, “I was relieved that Mr. Marsh had my back.”

“Kamehameha High School and its students’ contribution to the community is no small endeavor,” Wilson said. “Izaac’s Senior Legacy Project is such a positive contribution to our little facility. Izaac and his classmates’ mark on our hospital will last for many years to come.”

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