Shokudo sweetens pot for 'SOS'
By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer
A tasty treat has produced sweet returns for the Hawai'i High School Athletic Association's "SOS" (Save Our Sports) campaign to help public schools offset recent state budget cuts.
Throughout December and January, $1 from every sale of Shokudo Restaurant and Bar's trademark "Honey Toast" dessert went toward SOS, which has raised over $1.4 million for public school athletic departments since July 23. The Honey Toast promotion ended Jan. 31, and Shokudo's total contribution submitted this week was $2,171.
Another contribution of $470 came from Punahou's 1989 state championship baseball team, in honor of Dave Eldredge and Joe Yuen. Members of that 1989 team include University of Hawai'i associate baseball coach Chad Konishi, who helped mobilize the donations.
On Jan. 28, HHSAA executive director Keith Amemiya — who spearheaded and is overseeing the SOS campaign — released $600,000 from the fund and distributed it to each of the state's 45 public high schools, according to a formula based on size of the program and number of students participating. Much of the money, averaging to about $13,000 per school, will go toward transportation costs.
Budget cuts announced last June resulted in a 50 percent cut to state allocations for transportation. As a result, the Big Island Interscholastic Federation split its schedule geographically into separate East and West divisions to save money on travel. For Konawaena's defending state champion girls basketball team, that meant a shortened eight-game regular season and the Wildcats did not meet key rival Waiākea until the BIIF championship game on Feb. 12.
"We didn't even play (longtime East rival) Hilo," Konawaena coach Bobbie Awa said. "The short schedule hurt us."
Since its kickoff last July, the SOS Fund has raised $1,443,183 through contributions from businesses, foundations, unions, individuals and events/promotions throughout the community.
To contribute to the SOS Fund, make a check payable to "HHSAA SOS Account" and send it to HHSAA, P.O. Box 62029, Honolulu, HI 96839, or visit www.sportshigh.com.
Read his blog on high school sports at http://preptalk.honadvblogs.com.