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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, September 20, 2001

Koko Head Elementary adds to Aloha Quilt

By Suzanne Roig
Advertiser East Honolulu Bureau

HAWAI'I KAI — The students at Koko Head Elementary School want the people of New York City to know that their aloha spans across the 5,000 miles separating the two places.

Three classes at the East Honolulu school took swaths of aloha-print fabric home with them and the students wrote their own messages on the 7-inch squares.

Their messages of sympathy and support, along with more than 26,000 others, will be sewn together to make an "Aloha Quilt" that will be shipped to New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Yesterday was the deadline for people to drop off their messages.

Messages were embroidered or written out in pen. Some were stitched with gold thread; others had flags on them. Some people brought in their own squares; others used fabric donated by Hawai'i companies.

"It's way more participation than we expected," said Star-Nani Peralta, Hilo Hattie marketing director. "We in Hawai'i are so far away that people are using the quilt as a way to reach out."

Radio station Star 101.9 teamed up with Hilo Hattie to sew an "Aloha Quilt" with messages to the people in New York in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center. Residents, tourists and teachers have flooded the retailer's seven stores picking up the quilt squares, said Carlton Kramer, Hilo Hattie vice president for sales.

The radio station has volunteers lined up to sew the quilt, and Hilo Hattie will pay to ship it.

"I wanted to send them something to give them support for what has happened in the last week," said Austin Robinson, a Koko Head fourth-grader. "Most of them have lost a lot of friends in the past week. Hawai'i supports them."

The idea of an Aloha Quilt really makes sense, said Kari Noborikawa, another fourth-grader. "They'll know it's from Hawai'i."

Quilt squares from the fourth-grade class included words of aloha and world peace, pictures of the Hawaiian Islands, wishes for quick recovery from injuries and offers of prayers.

Micah Ganiron, another fourth-grader, wrote on his square: "I hope there won't be anymore danger or sadness in the world."

Koko Head second-grader Krysta Yasui said that through the messages from Hawai'i, the people of New York "will feel better because of the nice things we said."