Marauders' service off the field earns recognition

Summer break was a great misnomer for the Waipahu football team.

In lieu of relaxing days at the beach, the student-athletes rolled up their sleeves for some old fashioned hard work — and made a difference for the better in the process.

The Marauders kept busy last summer with a couple of service projects within their community at the Aloun Farms and the Hanakehau Learning Farm in Pearl City.

The team was selected as one of two winners of the Life matters Award, which spotlights high school teams that have made a difference in the life of an organization or individual.

They were honored with a $1,000 check from HawaiiUSA Federal Credit Union Senior Vice President of Marketing and Community Outreach Scott Kaulukukui at the ScoringLive Distinguished Athlete Awards Dinner on May 21 at the Manoa Grand Ballroom.

The players worked alongside Aloun Farms' employees loading onions and watermelons. They contributed more than 110 community-service hours over two weeks, and in the process, learned about the importance of agriculture.

"When we first started onion picking, the first time was really hard so I wasn't really looking forward to it, but I felt like when we did onion picking and the loi patch, we jelled as a team more because we were struggling together and we felt like we could do anything together," quarterback Braden Amorozo said. "If we could do this, we can finish this season together."

The group donated 240 man-hours at the Hanakehau Learning Farm, which aims to create space for the perpetuation of Hawaiian culture, education and the raising of critical consciousness among Hawaii's youth. There they helped the farm's staff to finish out three taro patches during a critical time of the summer when many employees take vacations.

Like Amorozo, linebacker Centennial Kulikefu said the time spent together proved to have a positive effect on the team.

"It kind of did, because it was kind of hard," Kulikefu said. "We actually worked hard to make it this far. If it wasn't for the hard work of this team we wouldn't have been able to make it."

There was no vacation for coach Bryson Carvalho's squad. The team sacrificed much of their summer to very labor-intensive work in the mornings, followed by football practices in the afternoon.

Despite the demanding schedule, the student-athletes didn't complain, instead working together to strengthen the bond of the team, which was evident in its 8-3 season last fall.

"I think it did wonders for us, just because that's an opportunity for growth as a team and they didn't look at it as community service. They looked at it as team bonding and so I thought that was good for them that we were able to get close and just know each other outside of football," Carvalho said. "It just helped with the cohesiveness, I think."

Furthermore, the team saw a great improvement in the classroom. Nearly half of the team started out the 2015 season on academic probation, but last year saw a total of just seven players on AP all season.

All of it is a result of the student-athletes having bought into "The Marauder Way."

"It's basically our code of conduct and we separate it by three phases: at home, in school and in the community, and we just basically want them to treat everybody with respect," Carvalho said. "Whether it be on campus — treating our campus with respect, cleaning up trash, picking up cafeteria trays left around campus, trying to help the janitors and just being that positive influence on campus. It's a long list of things that we ask of them, but it's just basically simple things like being respectful, being courteous to people and things that I think will help them in the future."

It's a lesson that the Marauders are living every day.

"The Marauder Way is basically to be a selfless person and to put everyone else ahead of yourself and that's how we did it with our team. We played for our brothers and we played for our community," Amorozo said.

Since 2013, HawaiiUSA FCU and ScoringLive have teamed up to present the Life matters Award. For more information, visit

Reach Kalani Takase at [email protected].



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