A third-grader gripped the softball, squinting at a small pyramid of traffic cones a few yards away. She took careful aim and gave it her sincerest, most determined throw. Her pitch was wide, but not as wide as the smile on her face as UH Mānoa Wahine softball players applauded the effort, cheering their hearts out.
All over Clarence T. C. Ching field, similar joyous scenes played out as members of other Wahine teams presented games, demonstrations, and prize giveaways for about 1500 girls and boys up to the eighth grade, and their parents at the first-ever Wahine Experience on October 21, 2017. Under Armour, one of several corporate sponsors, provided T-shirts printed with the event’s logo, and all participants received free admission to the Rainbow Wahine volleyball game against Cal State Fullerton right after the event, where volunteers presented a check to the Rainbow Wahine Hui fund.
Sailing toward success
“The athletes were unbelievable with the kids,” said Bobby Curran, the event’s organizer. “There was a booth for every Wahine team, and the athletes were so glad to have someone recognize them. We had four Rainbow Wahine alumni sharing their experiences as UH athletes, talking about how their experiences led them to their current, successful careers.”
Although the event was Curran’s idea, many others worked to make it happen, including Susan Eichor of aio group, who “jumped in whole hog and was terrific,” according to Curran.
“Shanelle Kapaona of IMG was beyond belief. Brad Motooka, Don Murphy, and tons of volunteers were an incredible group. And Roxie Shabazz, the Mānoa director of admissions, was unreal. The admissions and financial aid tables were the busiest, longest lines all day long.”
An invaluable experience
“We had a great time, and working with Bobby was fantastic,” said Shabazz. “The time we spent with younger prospects and their parents is invaluable. I hope they learned that UH Mānoa is a viable choice for their higher education.”
Curran said, “The earlier the kids are introduced to the idea of college, the better, and they all got a sense of how terrific the Wahine student-athletes are. I think the athletes had as much fun as the kids – the beach volleyball team did dance contests with the kids! One parent said nobody in her family had been to college, and they were hopeful their young daughter could be the first. It was chicken skin for me.”
“We’ll be meeting very soon,” said Curran, “to talk about this year’s event. We want more sponsors. It would be tremendous to write a really big check for the student success initiatives.”