Waiakea Intermediate Ukulele Band moving forward after booster club theft

An annual trip for a group of band students from Hawaii Island is now in jeopardy after funds for the trip were stolen.

Police have made an arrest, but the money is still missing.

Members of the Waiakea Intermediate Ukulele Band in Hilo look forward to this trip every year.

Students are concerned but they’re optimistic they’ll still be able to make the trip happen.

Band Director George Camarillo Jr. said his ukulele band was scheduled to perform in a concert tour on Oahu in June.

It’s part of an annual end of year trip for the students, but that trip now hangs in the balance after it was discovered funds for the trip were stolen.

The money that was stolen came from fundraisers and parents.

“They’re really looking forward to it,” Camarillo said. “Some of the kids, they’re more worried about me. I guess they can see it in my face, yea.”

Hawaii Island police arrested JoAnn Maldonado, the band’s booster club vice-president.

JoAnn Maldonado

Police said she staged a burglary and filed a false report claiming the money was stolen.

Camarillo said the band wants to move forward.

Their main focus now is raising money to still make the trip happen, but they’ve got a big deficit to fill.

“It’s supposed to be like up to now $36,000, but there’s only like $8,900 right now in the account,” Camarillo said. “Get the GoFundMe account and I actually sent an email to two of the councilmen in our district asking them for money because one of our council members was a former student of mine.”

More than $1,600 has already been donated to make up for the lost funds and the band is planning more fundraisers.

Camarillo said he’s hopeful the community will come through for the kids.

“With the trip it develops life long memories for these kids, some of my students are now in their 30s and they remember the trip like it was yesterday,” he said.

Camarillo says the accounts for the booster club will be more closely monitored in the future so this doesn’t happen again.

If you’re interested in contributing to the band’s trip, you can contact the Waiakea Intermediate School.

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