Earlier this month, a group of administrators, teachers, parents and students gathered on the damp grass of the Montessori of Maui’s Baldwin Avenue campus to break ground on their new basketball court. The master campus plan had always envisioned the court, but it wasn’t until March that they started raising the funds to build the much-needed facility.
“I am thrilled for this opportunity to benefit not only this campus but the greater community,” said Rene Anderson-Vorfeld, Chief Academic Officer of Montessori School of Maui.
The Malolos basketball team started with just eight students. Now it’s 13 players strong with four girls and nine boys, all coached by Beth King and Nancy LaJoy. The team recently won a match against Baldwin students, and they are currently 2-0 in the Interscholastic League. Right now the team practices at the Hali’imaile Gym, and although they appreciate the space, the situation is less than ideal.
“Basketball is a popular sport for our Montessori students, with 25 lower elementary students participating and 15 of our middle school students participating, both in co-ed basketball,” said Nancy LaJoy, Montessori physical education teacher. “A basketball court on the school campus would be a great opportunity to build community, improve the program and host other teams on campus”
Deborah Peterson, who retired in May from her position as School Advancement Officer, decided to see the project through to the end. She led the independent Basketball Development Committee through their capital campaign and funding.
“It started with a small group frustrated with practicing at different public courts,” said Peterson. “Now we stand here at the location of our very own future courts. The PTO started the fund, giving two thousand as seed money. Then the Bendon Family Foundation gave us funding. Now we are ready to start construction. It has been an incredible journey.”
The fundraising goal is $85,000 to complete the six basketball courts, with Goodfellow offering their services in-kind. The committee has so far raised $72,000, which is enough to move forward with the project. This summer Peterson wrote and obtained a $15,000 grant from the First Hawaiian Bank Foundation, and a $15,000 grant from the A&B Foundation. Sarah Bredhoff of First Hawaiian Bank and Rick Volner, A&B Properties/HC&S General Manager, were on hand at the groundbreaking to present their checks. Other lead donors included the Root Family Foundation, Goodfellow Bros., Inc., Reny Byer, Dennys Eymard, Sheila Haynes, Montessori School of Maui PTO, Deborah & Tom Peterson, and Beth King.
“It takes a lot of people to make this a reality,” said Peterson. “We couldn’t have done it without help from a lot of individual donors, community members, grants, advocates and endorsements.”
The Upper Elementary students sang the Montessori of Maui oli and Uncle Les performed the blessing. Beth King, basketball coach; Bob Pellettieri, Board President; Cynthia Winans-Burns, preceding Head of School; Bredhoff; Volner; Mike Molina, Mayors Office; Tulasi Dennis; Christine Churchill; and Deb Peterson all lined up with shovels and broke ground on the new courts.
Peterson said that they will start construction during winter break (weather permitting) or spring break. It will take three to four weeks to complete the project.