Hawaii Technology Academy’s Maui Campus Receives Grant for Student-Led MindfulNEST


The grant was written by students as part of a project for their paper writing class. From left to right: Hailey Arakai-Pali, Ms. Jen Fordyce, Tobi Purdy and Janae Wong

Anxiety and stress are rampant in high schools across the country, and here on Maui, a group of high school students are looking for a solution. When the senior class at Hawaii Technology Academy were asked to create a project that included writing a grant proposal, the teens developed a mindfulness project that includes a dedicated space for meditation and a biofeedback station to help. students learn to monitor and refocus their emotions and energy.

HTA Maui high school students identified, drafted, and submitted the grant proposal as part of their paper writing course. The goal of their project – called MindfulNEST – was to create a safe space for students to relax from the over-stimulation and stress of school and life using mindfulness practices. Research shows that such practices support students’ ability to improve personally and academically, and provide schools with an alternative approach to punitive interventions.

As a result of the proposal, Hawaii Technology Academy, the state’s largest publicly chartered school, received a national grant for its Maui campus “to promote mindfulness practices during the school day.”

“As a student, I think this project is necessary to support the conscious practices of students to come back to their ‘real selves’,” said Janae Wong, one of the students who wrote the scholarship. “Students will be able to better engage with others and complete tasks when they are calm and have had the space to free up everything that concerns them. “

The grant will also help train faculty to use restorative justice practices for both education and discipline, to further cultivate a supportive school environment where students acquire essential life skills as they graduate. academic development.

Educator Jenn Fordyce said it’s important for her final graders to learn how adults use writing in real-life situations. “I know grant proposals are needed for a wide variety of careers,” Fordyce said. “They can also use these writing skills to seek funding for their own studies or creative projects after graduation. Having the students decide on the need and the solution before seeking funding has helped them feel invested in the project and the quality of their work.

The MindfulNEST project is 100% student-led and supported by school administrators. In addition to the dedicated meditation space and biofeedback station, the MindfulNEST will feature a six-person station with wireless headsets that will allow students to listen to meditation or mindfulness recordings, floor cushions from meditation and restless objects.

The MindfulNEST project was made possible through a grant from Teaching Tolerance, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Image courtesy HTA

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