Downtown Athletic Club Hawaii News Release
The Downtown Athletic Club Hawaii (DACH) will hold its second annual benefit fundraiser, “Cheers for Molokai and Lanai High,” on Wednesday, Jan. 29, from 5:30-8:30 p.m., in front of Murphy’s Bar and Grill, located at 2 Merchant St., in downtown Honolulu.
Proceeds from the event will support student-athletes at Molokai High and Lanai High whose athletic departments annually face travel budget shortfalls. In the current 2013-14 school year, Molokai High is underfunded by about $32,000, and Lanai High is often forced to travel with partial squads and offers a limited number of sports due to lack of funding and resources. Both athletic departments struggle with substandard athletic equipment and are often unable to participate in pre- or post-season activities.
“Unlike other islands with multiple high schools, when our teams play away games, they need to either hop on a plane or endure a bumpy ferry ride to another island to compete and that gets very expensive for the school and the families of student athletes,” said Roderick Sumagit, who has been the athletic director at Lanai High for four years.
“When our athletes travel to Molokai, it takes us almost an entire day. It’s faster to fly from Hawaii to California than it is to get from Lanai to Molokai on the ferry, which is right next door.”
On the road, student athletes often sleep on cold, hard gym floors instead of at hotels and play despite seasickness and fatigue. To cover the high cost of travel and athletic equipment, Molokai and Lanai High teams often participate in more than one fundraiser each season, selling everything from chocolate candy to T-shirts, sausage to pies. But, even that proves to be a challenge since all the school’s athletic teams tap the same limited pool of residents — Molokai’s population is about 8,000 while Lanai has about 3,100 residents.
“Travel is a challenge for all schools, however for Molokai and Lanai it becomes a hardship as we have limited resources on both our islands,” said Hoku Haliniak, Molokai High’s athletic director of two years.
“Fundraising is a way of life on Molokai. Fifty-eight percent of students at Molokai High want to participate in a sport; my biggest fear is not being able to keep the athletic program going for all students.”
Last year, DACH’s “Cheers for Champions” event raised $30,000 to support the Pacific Islands Student Alliance.
“Sports is such a great way for students to learn character-building, responsibility, discipline and team work,” said Keith Amemiya, senior vice president at Island Holdings.
“This year, we are asking everyone to come together and support the student-athletes on Molokai and Lanai who deserve the same opportunities as our student-athletes on other islands.”
Guests of the event will enjoy a variety of ono pupu from Murphy’s Bar and Grill and Hukilau Honolulu, as well as local Molokai and Lanai fare, such as Molokai poi, taro chips and bread, and Lanai smoked meat and venison chili.
There will also be a wine station, beer garden, live local entertainment by Brother Noland and others, and plenty of prize giveaways.