Categorized | Education

Waimea students serving up furlough ‘stone soup’

Waimea Middle School students show off some of the vegetables they grew in the school's Malaai Garden. (Photo courtesy of Waimea Middle School)

Waimea Middle School students show off some of the vegetables they grew in the school's Malaai Garden. (Photo courtesy of Waimea Middle School)


“I am one, but still I am one.

I cannot do everything, but still I can do something;

and because I cannot do everything,

I will not refuse to do something that I can.”

— Helen Keller

Furlough Fridays, like Dec. 4, usually just mean no classes for regular public school students.

But for Waimea Middle School students, it will be classes as usual because teachers and staff have decided to remain open – a local decision they are empowered to make having voted to because the state’s first public conversion charter school in 2003.

Staying open – and funding these work days out of the limited budget for public charter schools – is not without challenges.

For example: The DOE has decreed that Waimea Elementary School cafeteria staff, who are contracted to regularly feed middle school students, may not prepare and serve breakfast and lunch on Furlough Fridays even though they are UPW members and are “on the clock.”

It’s beyond the control of the cafeteria staff.

So, Waimea Middle School is faced with providing hearty, healthy snacks to support student learning and encourage attendance on DOE Furlough Fridays.

This week, WMS students will participate in a special schoolwide “lesson” about everyone doing what they can by first reading the story about “Stone Soup” and then making a local version of this famous magical soup.

Students will be asked by their homeroom teacher to bring one ingredient – perhaps a cleaned, chopped potato, carrot or onion. The Malaai school garden has contributed fresh Kabocha – delicious Japanese pumpkin – and fresh herbs grown by students.  And the teachers, students and staff will prepare roasters of magical Portuguese Bean Soup in the certified home economics classroom for all to enjoy.

Consequently, students do not need to bring home lunch – something that’s become routine for other DOE Furlough Fridays at WMS.

“We thank our teachers and staff for turning a challenging situation into a great life lesson for our students and we thank our families for helping by contributing one ingredient,” Principal John Colson said. “We won’t need home lunches this week; magically, there’ll be plenty of delicious ‘Stone Soup’ for all.”

2 Responses to “Waimea students serving up furlough ‘stone soup’”

  1. Ava Areu says:

    Please sign our online petition now to permanently end all Hawaii School Furloughs at and pass the link along to your contacts. We still need 10,000 more participants.


  2. Monica says:

    Please add my name in favor of ending the furlough


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