Hawaii schools, service members celebrate partnership with JVEF

| November 25, 2016 | 0 Comments
Service members and civilians fill Liliu Theater at the Hawaii Convention Center for the 15th annual JVEF meeting, Nov. 17. The forum was developed to help partner military units with Hawaii schools to improve education. (Photo by Christine Cabalo)

Service members and civilians fill Liliu Theater at the Hawaii Convention Center for the 15th annual JVEF meeting, Nov. 17. The forum was developed to help partner military units with Hawaii schools to improve education. (Photo by Christine Cabalo)

JVEF

JVEF

Christine Cabalo
Staff Writer

HONOLULU — Volunteers were honored for their A-plus efforts in helping Hawaii public school students during the Joint Venture Education Forum’s 15th annual meeting at the Hawaii Convention Center, here, Nov. 17.

Lt. Gen. Anthony Crutchfield, deputy commander of U.S. Pacific Command, was the event’s keynote speaker and assisted in the presentation of awards to key personnel and volunteers from all branches of the armed services.

The forum was developed in 1998 to promote partnerships with the military community and Hawaii schools.

Lt. Gen. Anthony Crutchfield, deputy commander, U.S. Pacific Command, addresses service members and civilians in his speech for the 15th annual meeting for the Joint Venture Education Forum held at the Hawaii Convention Center, Nov. 17. The forum was developed 17 years ago with support from late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye. (Photo by Christine Cabalo)

Lt. Gen. Anthony Crutchfield, deputy commander, U.S. Pacific Command, addresses service members and civilians in his speech for the 15th annual meeting for the Joint Venture Education Forum held at the Hawaii Convention Center, Nov. 17. The forum was developed 17 years ago with support from late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye. (Photo by Christine Cabalo)

“Our continued goal is to maintain high-quality education opportunities to all public students,” Crutchfield said.

The forum connects service members to Hawaii schools to find solutions together as partners, Crutchfield said.

Military units regularly volunteer to mentor students in their academic studies, assist in their physical education classes and provide maintenance support for school facilities. A total of 28 Soldiers were recognized for their efforts alongside other volunteers from other branches of service.

The forum has uniquely been able to reinforce public school efforts to help both students who are Hawaii residents and school-age children of service members, Crutchfield said. The population of military impacted children who go to school in Hawaii is high, the PACOM deputy commander added.

“Eight percent of desks in Hawaii schools are being used by military dependents,” Crutchfield said.

The meeting highlighted how students are greatly benefiting from the forum’s programs, including its Aloha Transition Centers. In the course of their education from kindergarten to their senior year of high school, Crutchfield said a student may need to change schools as many as nine times.

Two students, who are also enrolled in their school JROTC programs, spoke about how the center was important to their development after moving due to a parent being in the military.

Lt. Gen. Anthony Crutchfield, deputy commander, U.S. Pacific Command, shakes the hand of Pfc. Kendric Houck, for his volunteer service with Hawaii schools, Nov. 17. A total of 28 Soldiers were honored for their volunteer service for the Joint Venture Education Forum, established to partner Hawaii schools with locally headquartered military units. (Photo by Christine Cabalo)

Lt. Gen. Anthony Crutchfield, deputy commander, U.S. Pacific Command, shakes the hand of Pfc. Kendric Houck, for his volunteer service with Hawaii schools, Nov. 17. A total of 28 Soldiers were honored for their volunteer service for the Joint Venture Education Forum, established to partner Hawaii schools with locally headquartered military units. (Photo by Christine Cabalo)

Col. Peter Santa Ana, director for Manpower and Personnel at PACOM, said he is indebted to the center for assisting in his daughter’s transition while in high school. Santa Ana’s daughter has now gone on to study at well-known college Notre Dame.

“Without support, military families can feel alone or left behind, with increased stress,” Crutchfield said.

In between speeches, the audience watched several short videos about JVEF school partnerships, showcasing the Aloha Transition Centers, how service member volunteers assisted schools and interviews with school staff about how invaluable help is from the military.

Among the interviewees in the videos was Jason Nakamoto, principal of Leilehua High School. He spoke about how the partnership between his school and the military benefits his students in multiple ways. His school also supports the military by hosting an annual meet and greet between Hawaii Department of Education officials and senior U.S. Army Hawaii leaders.

“It sends a strong message that the Army and (the school) are one and have been since its creation,” the high school principal said.

The school’s mascot is the Army mule, a symbol of its connection to the Army as its first full graduating class in 1928 were all military dependents.

During the ceremony the forum’s key members were honored. In addition to bestowing awards for service members who volunteered, long-time retiring or relocating personnel were also recognized.

The audience claps after a video tribute to the late Rep. Mark Takai, who previously served as co-chair for the forum. This year awards for outstanding volunteer service were named in his honor and for the late Sen. Daniel Inouye assisted in establishing the forum in 1998. (Photo by Christine Cabalo)

The audience claps after a video tribute to the late Rep. Mark Takai, who previously served as co-chair for the forum. This year awards for outstanding volunteer service were named in his honor and for the late Sen. Daniel Inouye assisted in establishing the forum in 1998. (Photo by Christine Cabalo)

This year, the JVEF also marked the first year the forum officially renamed two of its individual awards in honor of two lawmakers and former Soldiers.

The Rep. Mark Takai award, named after the late Congressman and National Guardsmen, is bestowed to an outstanding civilian volunteer. The Daniel K. Inouye award is named after the late senator who first developed the forum and was a Soldier with the 442nd Infantry Regiment.

The ceremony speakers and the interviewees featured in short videos spoke about the impact both legislators have had, especially how Inouye envisioned the need for being an advocate of a good education.

“Education is the great equalizer,” the late Sen. Inouye wrote in the last JVEF summary he wrote before his death in 2012. “It provides a foundation for students to excel, to achieve their dreams and to become contributing members of their communities.”

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Category: Community Relations, Education, Leadership, News, Observances, Training

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