***Commentary*** Pahoa Football Program Update; First Game At Wong Stadium Aug. 27

imageBy Tiffany Edwards Hunt

Let me take a moment to offer you an update as the #PahoaBoosterClub secretary, regarding the newly reinstated football program at Pahoa High and Intermediate School. We had a booster club meeting today in which we received an update from the principal and athletic director. Then I heard the buzz at the school’s open house tonight.
For background: booster club members successfully submitted a grant in aid application to the Hawaii State Legislature. We requested and received $92,000 to put back the athletic program that fell by the wayside 14 years ago.
The program has taken off in the last month. Twenty eight players will play on an 8-man team. Several of them — three from Kea’au and one from Hilo — transferred to Pahoa to play for their home team. This was anticipated in the grant application; we know anecdotally that many parents seek geographical exemptions at other schools to afford their children opportunities not offered in Pahoa.
The students are very honored to be part of the program and have created a “study hall” group to keep the grades well above the minimum required 2.0 grade point average. They walk around school proudly displaying their practice equipment. Students are eagerly planning a homecoming they can boast is a bonafide homecoming. They are planning a pep rally the night before the 2 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 27 homecoming.
The football players practice at 4 p.m. daily. At least 10 of the players are well over 200 pounds and athletic. Many of them have played for the Pop Warner Puna Panthers. One teacher whose classroom is near the practice field noted how strong and powerful they sounded out on the field practicing.
The first football game for these Pahoa players will be at 5 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 30 at Wong Stadium, against Hilo. If you can make it, come out and cheer on your home team!

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