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Aging Well: Castle High volunteer helps dreams grow

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Aging Well: Castle High volunteer helps dreams grow

A retired Kaneohe woman says she volunteers at Castle High School because working with the kids keeps her Aging Well.

At age 69, Laura Gabayan clocks in to work at the school's agriculture program every weekday. She takes care of the plants, but also teaches the students about the plants and how to care for them. 

Gabayan spent about 40 years in education, starting at a preschool, and finishing as an "educational assistant" at King Intermediate. She says she's worked with so many kids, now she's seeing their children or grandchildren - in town or in her class.

She says she loves helping students thrive. "They dream, and we gotta nurture that dream. I put that to plants. We plant the seed, we watch them grow, we harvest the profits," says Gabayan.

Like many teachers, Gabayan often spends her own money on class projects. She estimates in the last half year, she spent about $2,000 dollars.

Gabayan nurtures curiosity, boosts self confidence, and helps the students grow. 2021 graduate Sky Inter agrees, "I have learned a lot. She gives us key wisdom on mostly empowerment. She really is about standing your ground. I love her."

Teacher Carlos Kaukahi Severson notes, "She comes with that heart, happiness, willingness to make things happen and support the students."

The same care she gives the plants- also works for people. 

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