For hundreds of seniors from Wai'anae High School, who will be singing their alma mater one last time tonight and accepting their diplomas in front of friends and family armed with floral leis and an arsenal of balloons, the term "Aloha Friday" may forever leave a grand impression on them.
Hawaii residents from all over the island generously donated money to help give these kids the graduation party every local senior looks forward to at the beginning of the school year: Project Graduation.
In a previous blog post, Rep. Maile Shimabukuro put a call out to the public for donations to help Wai'anae High School seniors raise $10,000 needed to fund their Project Graduation, an all-night, substance-free party that begins after their graduation ceremony.
The seniors, parents and volunteers worked all year to raise money, but they were still short. Deposits were already paid on the venue, meals and buses.
Gail Gomes, the event chairwoman, asked for Shimabukuro's assistance in the final days before the event to help get the word out to the community that the program was seeking donations.
She did not expect the slew of calls Thursday morning from eager residents warmly offering what money they had to help the students celebrate their achievements. By noon that day, Gomes had received enough pledges to pay off the party bills.
The domino effect of aloha began with a Honolulu Advertiser story printed in the My Communities page, Thursday, announcing the appeal by Rep. Shimabukuro.
Reporter Will Hoover breaks down the events of that day in an article, "Donations pour in for Wai'anae's Project Grad", printed this morning. You can can also view a video of several seniors showing their appreciation for the overwhelming community support.
Stories like this truly show the compassion of Hawaii people and what it really means to "Aloha Harder".