HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Central Middle School celebrated a donation of new washers, dryers, and other appliances to help students whose families don’t have access to laundry facilities.
Principal Anne Marie Murphy said the machines will help the school ensure every child is ready to learn.
"If that means helping them get a clean uniform, helping them get what they need for personal hygiene, that's what we do here," she said.
Servco Pacific is donating and installing $200,000 worth of appliances to Hawaii’s public schools as part of its 100th anniversary campaign.
"We take for granted getting up in the morning and putting on clean clothes. This may not happen all of the time for all of the students in our community," Servco COO Rick Ching said.
About 430 students attend Central Middle School and roughly a third of them come from the Federated States of Micronesia.
Some are homeless. Many are from unstable housing situations.
"When we ask them, 'So, where's your uniform?' That's when they share with us the living circumstances that they're dealing with," Murphy said.
Educators believe unkempt clothing can affect a child’s self-esteem and ultimately how they perform in the classroom.
The machines will wash away that barrier.
"We have to ensure that we mitigate anything that gets in the way of students being successful," HIDOE superintendent Christina Kishimoto said.
Central Middle School will initially use the washers and dryers to launder loaner uniforms.
Murphy hopes families gravitate to the school's new Takai Transition Center where the appliances are located, so teachers can engage them on the their child's education.
"Our hope and desire is that is a place that they feel more comfortable and more welcome," Murphy said.
The new appliances will be put to work when the new school year starts.