11th Joint Venture Education Forum welcomes educators, military, government leaders

Lt. Cmdr. Kyle Vernon, Navy Personal Support Detachment, addresses the 11th annual Joint Venture Education Forum annual meeting.

Story and photo by Brandon Bosworth
Contributing Writer

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie was the featured speaker at the 2012 Joint Venture Education Forum (JVEF) annual meeting held Aug. 30 at the Ford Island Conference Center.

JVEF is comprised of public school educators and leaders from military commands, business, government and community who have come together to promote educational opportunities for Hawaii’s children. About 200 people attended JVEF’s 11th annual meeting.

Kathryn Matayoshi, Hawaii Department of Education superintendent, welcomed the guests and spoke about JVEF’s mission. “It is a true forum. It keeps going and is always working,” she said.

Pointing out that about 14,000 of the children in Hawaii’s school system are from military families, Matayoshi stressed the importance of supporting military families. “To our military ohana,” she said, “our administration and staff will do our best to serve your children while you do your vital work.”

After the opening ceremonies, there were short presentations by a variety of military-school partnerships. All service branches took part, including the Coast Guard.

Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam was represented on the Navy side by USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93) and Personnel Support Detachment (PSD), partnered with Pearl Harbor Elementary School, and on the Air Force side by PACAF/A6 and the Hawaii Air National Guard, partnered with Waimalu Elementary School.

The presentations highlighted the contributions made by the military to local schools, ranging from building playgrounds and benches to leading fitness programs to holding book fairs.

Lt. Cmdr. Kyle Vernon, Navy PSD, spoke about how eager service members are to volunteer to help kids. “As soon as a volunteer sheet goes up, it’s filled right away,” she said.

Vernon was one of many recognized for their efforts in a special ceremony honoring military volunteers led by Gen. Herbert J. “Hawk” Carlisle, commander of Pacific Air Forces.

Abercrombie was the keynote speaker and discussed what he called his life-long passion for education, noting his time as both a teacher as well a as an administrator in the state Department of Education. He also talked about Hawaii’s unique relationship with the U.S. military.

“In other school systems, there is tension between local schools and the military, but that isn’t the case here,” he said. “In Hawaii, every child is God’s child and will be treated accordingly. Military children and their families should know that they are part of our ohana [family] and that the aloha spirit is real.”

The 2012 Joint Venture Education Forum annual meeting concluded with special recognitions being given to about 80 military volunteers. Tamsin Keone, director, school support services, U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii, was named JVEF Outstanding Military Contributor, and Patricia Park, complex area superintendent (Leilehua-Mililani-Waialua Complexes), Hawaii State Department of Education, was named JVEF Outstanding Civilian Contributor. The JVEF “Norbert” Award was given to Hale Kula Elementary School where more than 90 percent of the students are from military families.

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Category: News