Ask Marcie Saquing what she gets excited over, come the holiday season, and she’ll tell you flat out: pennies.
In her role as parent educator and student activities coordinator at Kamehameha Schools Hawai‘i Elementary School, each year Saquing teams up with the Pauahi Foundation to launch its Pennies for Pauahi fundraising program to KSH haumāna in grades kindergarten through fifth.
Already in its 10th year and close to $9,000 raised, Pennies for Pauahi instills the concept of kahiau – giving from the heart without expectation of return – at a young age, so when students are older they understand the importance of giving. For a week, students collect everything from loose change to dollar bills which are then donated to the Pauahi Foundation to fund early childhood education scholarships.
“It’s my hope every year for students to understand that it’s a kuleana of all those touched by Pauahi to give back and offer service when they are able to,” Saquing said, “for kahiau to be a way of life.”
Like students, kahiau is a way of life for Saquing.
A1972 graduate of KS Kapālama, Saquing spent more than three decades in various occupational roles, from social worker to director of a non-profit, all of which provided service to others, establishing the foundation for her service-driven position at KS. She also recently sat on the board of directors for
Hospice of Hilo for three years and continues to volunteer for the organization.
“As a graduate, she has lived a life exemplifying what it means to be a servant leader, working to better all she comes in contact with,” noted Phil Aganus, KSH interim po‘o kumu o ke kula ha‘aha‘a (elementary school principal).
“In her current role, Marcie is committed to connecting all of our stakeholders to our princess as a way to best understand Pauahi’s desire for us all to be contributors to our communities,” he said.
Saquing joined KS in 2001 as the executive assistant to founding KS Hawai‘i po‘o kula (headmaster) Dr. Stan Fortuna. She left the campus setting in 2003 to work with former KS head of Community Outreach Education Charlene Hoe.
She returned to KSH in 2005 and has been the spearhead of Pennies for Pauahi ever since.
Traditionally, the campaign runs during the holiday season because the funds raised are presented in check form to the Pauahi Foundation at the campus’ annual Founder’s Day program in December.
“It’s in no way a race,” said Saquing of the campaign, who added how every year, though, she receives requests from students to extend the donation period so more money can be raised for the cause.
“It’s exciting to hear from older students who have participated, the impact Pennies for Pauahi has made on them, while at the same time watch the younger ones take control of the campaign all on their own,” Saquing said. “When I see them make that connection of where their money is going, and who it’s going to, that means my job is done.”
This story is part of “I Mua Kamehameha,” an ongoing effort to celebrate the excellence of KS campus and community education programs. Inspirational stories will be shared throughout the year about KS servant leaders who are improving the lives of KS haumāna and contributing to a thriving Lāhui.