BreakingGround 808 adds benches, tables and more to campus


Photo courtesy of Corena Talioaga

BreakingGround 808 participants transport precast concrete benches to place on campus.

Students from Waipahu, Kapolei, and Pearl City High Schools participated in BreakingGround 808 to make campus improvements this fall break.

BreakingGround 808 is “an interactive construction industry experience” provided by the General Contractors Association of Hawaii. The program returned after a two-year hiatus due to pandemic restrictions, and was offered to students at Waipahu High School, Kapolei High School, and Pearl City High School over fall break.

BreakingGround 808 included classroom sessions that covered skills and concepts such as safety procedures, plan reading, estimating, and scheduling. It also involved hands-on construction projects such as widening sidewalks, installing precast concrete benches, and building new wooden picnic tables around the school. 

Alex Padua and Leanna Tacadena, both seniors in Waipahu High School’s Academy of Industrial & Engineering Technology, participated in the program. 

Tacadena joined the program to learn what a professional job site may look like. Padua joined the program as he wanted to do something productive over his fall break. 

Tacadena loved working with the professionals and other students in the program and said, “I learned a lot of new things and that’s what really grew my love for carpentry.” 

Padua added, “Working with the professionals was really fun. They were intimidating at first, but the more we got to know each other, the more their fun side came out. It was interesting to see how they were able to make the work environment both fun and safe.” 

Both students thought it was really important for students to have places to sit and hang out with their friends throughout the school day. 

“In my freshman year, I noticed that many students were standing and hanging out in the stairwells, which was something I felt needed to be fixed because carrying and walking around campus with your backpack gets tiring, and sometimes just being able to sit down with your friends after a long day is what we all need,” Tacadena said. She feels proud that the participants were able to make something for their peers to use and enjoy.