The state Monday announced a pilot sports program aimed a helping budding intermediate school student athletes.
It's being offered in two struggling schools districts, called the Zones of School Innovation. The Nanakuli-Waianae complex on Oahu and the Ka'u-Keeau-Pahoa Complex on the Big Island.
It ties athletics with academics. Students say its already working.
"It helped me a lot," said Nanakuli 8th grader Kyllie Kropf. "I used to have a 2.9 GPA, but it got me up to a 3.2. And If I do not have good grades, I'm not able to play my game too, of course, so I get my grades up yeah."
Kropf hopes to one day play collegiate volleyball. She's among dozens of Hawaii intermediate students who will now get to play football, basketball, volleyball and soccer under pilot project that was announced today by the Governor and the Dept. of Education.
This intermediate athletics program is part of the after school All Stars program, that keeps middle school students off the streets and busy.
The all star program includes field trips and speakers like MMA fighter Max Holloway, who visited students at Waianae Intermediate earlier this year.
The new pilot program ties in athletics and academics. The students will play by the OIA high school rules.
"It means a lot," commented Jorll Pontes a football player. "It helps me with my grades, your attitude towards school. In order to play football you have to have at least a 2.0 GPA."
"So basically they need to have great grades," said Principal Raechelle Fabrao of Waianae Intermediate School. "There is a study hall section that's important if they are having struggles. Cause we know kids have challenges that there is a support system for them."