Public Schools Honored for Outstanding Beautification Efforts

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On behalf of the Cooke Foundation, The Hawai‘i Community Foundation (HCF) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2017 Cooke Beautification Award for Public Schools. Founded in 1920, the Cooke Foundation supports community endeavors that make a difference in the betterment and welfare of the people of Hawai‘i. For the past twelve years, the Cooke Foundation has been supporting Hawai‘i’s public schools through this award.

Kohala Elementary School bird’s eye view of the Discovery Garden

The three recipients of the Cooke Beautification Award for Public Schools for 2017 are:

Kohala Elementary School, Hawai‘i Island: Honored for the transformation of an overgrown gulch in an abandoned area of the Kohala Elementary School property into a half-acre of cultivated gardens known as the “Discovery Garden.” Students created an outdoor laboratory where they can learn the value of sustainability as they grow, harvest, and consume the plants and vegetables grown there. Students from grades K-5, parents, teachers, and community members all contributed to this beautification project, and even employs a part-time garden coordinator.

Kohala High & Intermediate School, Hawai‘i Island: Honored for the renovation of signage located on the exterior of the Kohala High & Intermediate School gym, a focal point of the campus. In 2016, the graduating class gifted a small sum of money as their parting gift, to renovate the signage. With this gift, students created a gorgeous montage of letters spelling the word “Cowboys” – the school mascot.


Lokelani Intermediate School, Maui: Honored for creating a large mural located at the Lokelani Intermediate School entrance. Members of the 7th grade student council initiated the project, which received tremendous support and encouragement from the school’s principal. The result is a stunning and colorful mural of a fictional girl named Lokelani, whose long hair represents the ocean, and upon which, waveriders, which represent the students, voyage through middle school and on to the next stage of their lives.

Lokelani Intermediate School students painting the mural.

“It’s important to us that we continue to honor and recognize Hawai‘i’s public schools and the students who have taken the time to make significant improvements to their school’s appearance and ambiance, ultimately enhancing an overall sense of school pride,” said Greg Wrenn, trustee of the Cooke Foundation and chairman of the Beautification Award program. “We would like to thanks the panel of four Alternate Trustees who participated in the evaluation process for their thoughtful and critical analysis, as well as the staff at HCF for their diligent, conscientious work and constant support of this program.”

The Cooke Foundation Beautification Award is presented every two years to recognize Hawai‘i public schools for completing beautification projects that better their school environment and significantly enhance the school’s overall appearance and ambiance. All public schools in the state, including charter schools, are eligible to apply. In 2017, the Cooke Foundation received 10 nominations from public schools on O‘ahu, Maui and Hawai‘i Island. The Cooke Foundation will begin accepting applications for the next cycle of awards in July 2019 and details will be posted online.

Kohala Elementary School students planting in the Discovery Garden


Since 2007, 23 public schools across the state have received Cooke Beautification Awards, they include:

  • Alvah A. Scott Elementary School on O‘ahu, Innovations Public Charter School on Hawai‘i Island, and Lana‘i High and Elementary School on Lāna‘i (2016);
  • ‘Aikahi Elementary School and Lokelani Intermediate School (2013);
  • ‘Iliahi Elementary School, Washington Middle School, and Leilehua High School on O‘ahu (2012);
  • Haiku Elementary School and Lahainaluna High School on Maui, and Kawānanakoa Middle School on O‘ahu (2011);
  • Mokulele Elementary School, Washington Middle School, and Roosevelt High School on O‘ahu (2010);
  • Prince Jonah Kuhio Elementary School on O‘ahu, Waimea Middle Public Conversion Charter School and West Hawai‘i Explorations Academy on Hawai‘i Island (2009); and
  • S.W. King Intermediate School on O‘ahu, Lahainaluna High School on Maui, and Innovations Public Charter School on Hawai‘i Island (2008).

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