Sixty-four students from five East Hawaii high schools are anxious to test their sales skills and show off the products they designed and manufactured, during the JA Trade Fair. This year the annual two-day event will be held at the Price Kuhio Plaza on “Black Friday” and Saturday, November 28-29, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm each day.
The students are organized in to three companies, each sponsored by a local business and advised by members of Hilo’s business community.
A.L.O.H.A. (Amazing Leaders of Hardworking Achievers) is sponsored by Big Island Toyota. Its President, Michael Mori, a senior from Waiakea High School says, “our company is working hard at producing handmade gift tags and decorative notebooks and journals, made from 70% recycled materials, to feature at this year’s trade fair.” A.L.O.H.A.’s Vice President of Production, Cici Luna, explains “our notebooks are colorful and have different themes. They can be used for school, as gifts, and as recipe books or journals. Our gift tag is a set of twelve that includes six Christmas-themed tags and six all-occasion tags.”
“Aloha Flare is a company with unique ideas and flare,” said company president Dayton Towata whose company is sponsored by Bank of Hawaii. The products that Aloha Flare will be selling are a cookbook, a clothes pin note holder, and a “Bravery Braid.” The company made the braided shoelace bracelet in different colors to recognize the different types of cancer and is donating five-percent of the net profit to the American Cancer Society.
The HPM Building Supply sponsored team, called Aloha Supplied, created limited-edition photography greeting cards, coasters, and a “PopATop” bottle openers complete with a mason jar to catch the bottle caps. The greeting cards and coasters both feature local scenery photographed and donated by Tom Kualii of Extreme Exposure Hawaii.
“Our photo greeting cards stick with our theme of spreading Aloha,” said Vice President Kenneth Kitahata. “As the holiday season approaches these greeting cards are a great way to stay in touch with family or friends who are off island.”
After an initial job interview the students started in September by purchasing a share of stock in their company for two-dollars. The companies then selected leaders, decided on what products to market, and manufactured their products, all the while accounting for all expenses and revenues. After they close their books at the end of the year, based on the success of their company, most students will earn a return on their initial stock investment. All profits are returned to students in the form of dividends and awards, plus scholarships for graduating seniors in the program.