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Buy a brick, help ‘Grow Our Own Teachers’


Growing Our Own Teachers’ initial fundraising effort is joint project with Rotary Clubs, other community groups and the County of Hawaii to create an everlasting tribute on the site of the new West Hawaii Civic Center.

Laser engraved bricks are available for sale now through Dec. 10. These bricks will be professionally placed in a courtyard at the new Civic Center and will be visible for generations to come.

How the brick project will help grow our own teachers?

The funds raised from the brick project will allow us to give direct financial assistance to prospective teachers in the last semester of their education–just when their needs are the greatest. This is when they must pay tuition and are unable to work for pay as they work under supervision of trained teachers. This financial aid will help future teachers over the last big hurdle on their way to teacher certification.

How much goes to supporting Big Island teachers?

The Board and many of the suppliers of goods and services for this project are donating their time and expertise. The major expense for this project is the cost of the bricks and the engraving. We are grateful for our community volunteers and our corporate support, which keeps non-brick costs to a minimum.

Is it tax-deductible?

Hawaii Island Growing Our Own Teachers is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, which means contributions will be tax-deductible.

According to the website:

The Department of Education actively recruits nationally and often pays relocation bonuses to attract teachers on the mainland to come to Hawaii to teach. Statistically, the majority of the mainland teachers recruited return to the mainland after two years. There is no similar government effort to create meaningful financial assistance programs in the state.

Potential teacher candidates are often ‘maxed out’ for loans from their 1st two years of education and many candidates need to work full-time while trying to be a student for the last two years. Home grown teachers bloom where they are planted.

Teachers that have grown up in the islands don’t have any illusions about island life. They know the salaries are low, the cost of living is high, and that island culture is rich and varied. They grew up with “Aloha” and it is a way of life for them, not just a Hawaiian word.

The University of Hawaii at Manoa offers a statewide program to help meet the need for qualified teachers. Future Hawaii teachers can now stay on Hawaii Island with their families and still get the same quality education they would get by relocating to Oahu.

They can go to a local two-year college for their first years of a baccalaureate education and complete their next two years through the Statewide Teacher Education Program through traditional and distance learning classroom instruction. For their field experiences, they are placed in their local schools on Hawaii island with a qualified mentor teacher and university supervisor.

Most local teacher candidates have to pay for their own college education. They do it by working a full-time job or several part-time jobs. Many candidates have families of their own or are the sole income provider for their families.

With tuition, books, a computer, software, supplies, and other associated expenses, the costs are approximately $5,000 per semester or $20,000 for the two-year program.

In spite of all this, there are many local teacher candidates who have the motivation and dedication to tough it out. Until that is, their final semester. They must quit their jobs and serve full-time in the classroom.

Teacher candidates do not get paid for student teaching and many cannot afford that last hurdle to become a teacher. The financial aid we provide helps them over the last hurdle.

We know we are making a great investment in the future, as 98 percent of those who have graduated from the Program since 2003 are still teaching in Hawaii.

Facts and figures:

* West Hawaii Civic Center: Estimated move in time is late January 2011.

* Brick sales will continue now through first week in December.

* There are 2020 brick pavers of a very high quality.

* The engravings are done by laser and are permanent. The engravings are actually said to outlast the life of the brick.

* The geometric pattern has five colors of brick. The center tree will be a Dwarf Hau (hibiscus tiliaceus), which is mainly found at the Waikoloa resorts (Mauna Kea, Mauna Lani, Hualalai.

* The bricks are sold in a total of four categories:
1) 12″ x 12″ Corporate brick ($500 – $650 w/ logo)
2) 8″ x 8″ brick with either optional clipart or corporate logo ($250 – $350 w/ logo)
3) 4″ x 8″ brick with optional clipart ($100)
4) 4″ x 8″ student brick ($50): These bricks will be limited to name of student, name of school, and graduating class, plus free clipart.
5) Honor a Teacher brick ($50)

For further information, email or visit

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