Ohana of Excellence kicks off Great Aloha Run High School Challenge

Students from Waipahu High School’s Ohana of Excellence Academy participated in the Great Aloha Run’s High School Challenge on campus from February 9 to February 15. 

Ohana of Excellence teacher Ms. Sherianne Elarco kicked off the race by explaining the opening event, which was a one-lap relay race between students and faculty members. Students and teachers who cheered on the sidelines were able to walk and run on the track after the relay race ended in a tie. 

When the students finished their miles for the day, they received medals and T-shirts with this year’s Great Aloha Run theme, “Together Mo’ Bettah.” They also received lei courtesy of the Great Aloha Run and Commercial Plumbing. 

Participating in the Great Aloha Run was a big milestone for the Ohana of Excellence because this was the first year these students could take part in it. Ohana of Excellence students were not able to participate in the run previously due to challenges with transporting students with physical disabilities to the start of the race at Aloha Tower. But this year’s virtual race has allowed students to easily participate by completing the run at school. Additionally, the virtual event allowed students and other participants to follow COVID-19 social distancing guidelines. 

The Great Aloha Run’s High School Challenge began in 2004, with 100 students and teachers at various schools receiving sponsorships to participate in the run. By doing so, sponsors promote “health and fitness, sportsmanship, and school pride,” and allow participants opportunities to raise funds for their schools. Sueda and Associates sponsored Waipahu High School’s participants, which consisted of 76 students and 24 faculty members.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Great Aloha Run co-founder Carole Kai Onouye turned the event virtual this year. To compete in the virtual run, participants had to register on the Great Aloha Run website and log their mileage each day they decided to run or walk. Participants had eight days to run and/or walk 8.15 miles, which is the distance from Aloha Tower to Aloha Stadium. Through the virtual event, this year’s participants could finish the race at their own pace and on their own terms.