When ISLAND PACIFIC ACADEMY senior Sebastian Banquil ’23 saw a community safety hazard in his neighborhood, Dr. Dan’s words of “Whenever you can, help!” immediately came to mind.
“Living really close to the intersection of Kamaʻala Avenue and Kapolei Parkway, I noticed that not only that intersection, but the majority of them down Kapolei Parkway, are very dangerous both for motorists and pedestrians,” shared Banquil. “And the first thing that I thought of was how can I work to increase the safety of our pedestrians and promote safe driving and slower driving so no real accidents happen to the point where somebody’s life is in danger.”
That thought gave rise to his idea for his Boy Scouts of America Eagle Scout project, and his individual service project for National Honor Society, which he completed this past Sunday, February 26.
“The first thing that I thought of was creating something so pedestrians are more visible as they cross and it shows drivers what to yield to on the road,” he explained. “After doing some research I noticed that pedestrian flags are an option for that, and they’re pretty cost effective and work relatively well to kind of portray the goal that I had in mind.”
With the help of members from the community, Hoʻokele Elementary, Troop 5-0 scouts, and his fellow IPA students and teachers, Banquil was able to install sets of bright orange safety flags at five crosswalks along busy Kapolei Parkway, from Hoʻokele Elementary to Kamaʻaha Avenue. The volunteers also waved signs along the roadway to alert drivers to slow down and be aware.
Banquil believes it is important for students to give back to their community, and credits the values he has learned at IPA as inspiration for his project idea.
“One thing that I always fall back on that IPA has taught me is ‘Whenever you can, help!’ and I saw an opportunity. There was an issue present that wasn’t really being looked after and I took it upon myself to help,” he explained. “[This project] was my opportunity to present myself and my talents and my skills and my values – something that IPA has taught me very well – to put it towards something good to better the community.”
“Your community gives you a sense of where you live. It kind of shapes who you are and what you do and the least that you can do is give back to that place that nurtures you. It’s important to not only learn about where you live but to give back to what it is giving you.”
Banquil is grateful to the Mehana Homeowners Association and Hal Wilkerson, Association President, who provided the funding for his project, as well as his fellow scouts and students, the community, and his parents for helping him see his project through to fruition.
Mahalo and congratulations to Sebastian for this creative and important community service project!
See his story on the news at KHON2.