LIHU‘E — More than a thousand keiki have passed through the doors of the Lihu‘e Hongwanji Preschool since the school opened in 1968 under the guidance of the Midori Kondo, whose husband was the resident minister of the Lihu‘e Hongwanji Mission and the head of the Japanese Language School.
“We are thankful for the support received from the Lihu‘e Hongwanji Mission sangha, and the many teachers who have helped nurture our children during the very delicate age of their lives,” said Sandie Fujimoto, the current preschool director and only the second director to lead the school since Kondo retired.
The assistance of the Lihu‘e Hongwanji Mission and its supporters has enabled the preschool to keep its doors open as a nonprofit organization, where all children, regardless of race or religion, are welcomed by the teaching ‘ohana.
This includes following the COVID-19 pandemic that took its toll on the community and impacted the island’s businesses, schools and families. The preschool, following the community-wide shutdown that heralded the arrival of the novel coronavirus, re-opened with safety measures in place to keep everyone safe, and to provide a sense of normalcy for its students.
Faced with the need to meet its annual budget in the trying times of the pandemic, the preschool engaged in a successful Sudz Carwash ticket-sale fundraiser thanks to the many families and friends of the preschool who picked up a ticket or two, resulting in a win-win situation for both the preschool and Sudz Carwash.
The pressing need for help to meet the budget allowed the staff and supporters to reflect on the number of students who are alumni of the preschool nestled in Kapaia Valley at the base of Hanama‘ulu town.
“Kaua‘i is a very close-knit community,” Fujimoto said. “Today, we have students whose parents were once students of mine. We look forward to reconnecting.”
The resulting database of students will enable to the school to track the successes of its alumni, and possibly get their ideas on helping the school meet its budget.
Members of the database committee are seeking alumni’s current name, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses. This information can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 808-245-7857.
Source: The Garden Island