Kamaile Academy wanted its kids to eat breakfast. Here's how they made it happen

Kamaile Academy wanted its kids to eat breakfast. Here's how they made it happen
The state is offering free lunches for kids at 68 public schools this summer. (Image: Hawaii News Now)

WAIANAE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Kamaile Academy in Waianae found the ticket to getting students to eat breakfast at school. It's served after the bell rings. The school calls it a Wiki Breakfast, a fifteen-minute window to grab a quick nutritious meal after first period is in the books.

"So rather than having it before school starts, all the kids are actually here now. They actually want to go get breakfast," 12th-grader Steven Reyes said.

Most students at Kamaile qualify for free or reduced-price meals. When the school served breakfast before school only about 40 students showed up -- now it's closer to 170.

"There really wasn't a lot of secondary students able to go because the line was too long, and of course they want to let the little kids eat first. So we would just go to class," student Leea Boyce said.

A new survey by the Hawaii Appleseed Center for Law & Economic Justice shows most public schools in Hawaii struggle to get kids to participate in school breakfast.

In 2015-16 fewer than half of eligible students ate the meal, landing Hawaii near the bottom nationally.

"It's hard for families to get to school early. Sometimes the buses get there too late so the kids can't get breakfast even if they catch them on time," Appleseed senior policy analyst Nicole Woo said.

On the mainland entire school districts slid breakfast to after the morning bell to accommodate more students. .

At Kamaile teachers believe it's helping in the classroom.

"The concentration for our students has shot up exponentially. They are focusing more. We're seeing it in their work," teacher Christian Nahoopii said.

Ninety-nine percent of the state's public schools have breakfast programs.

Other campuses are now making changes, like Kamaile did, to try to bring more students to the breakfast table.

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