Language Arts raises funds for ‘Cat Castle’

MJ Lewis (1997-2014), who died unexpectedly in May 2014.

Last year, the language arts department raised more than $4,200 for WCC’s vet tech program to honor colleague and speech instructor MJ Lewis (1997-2014), who died unexpectedly in May 2014.

“It was heartwarming to see so many WCC members open their hearts and wallets and generously donate to this worthy cause,” said department chair Robert Barclay.

Lewis’ “Cat Castle,” a room with secure accommodations for felines awaiting medical care, was ceremoniously dedicated April 24, 2015, and attended by faculty, students and staff.

What began as a modest fundraising goal to raise $750 to name a “Cat Condo” in Lewis’ honor evolved into an effort to raise funds to support a permanent endowment and name the “Cat Castle” permanently in her name.

According to natural sciences department chair Ross Langston, an endowment will provide a continual source funds for the vet tech program. It will help to pay for medical care, such as spay and neutering surgeries or dental cleanings. It will also help with supplies and tests, which can run as high as $100 per patient, and continuing education for technician instructors.

This year, the language arts department continues the drive and will be hosting a booth at Ho‘olaule‘a.

The booth will showcase the department’s course and program offerings, such as Ka ‘Ohana, Pueo Literary and Art Journal, the Debate Club, Windward Film Group and more.

It will also offer patrons a chance to adopt books at a steal, buy raffle tickets for a chance to win super prizes and in the spirit of “critter love” have their faces painted as a favorite domestic critter.

Those interested in helping the vet tech program and honoring Lewis may donate via the UH Foundation website at

by Desi Poteet, Special to Ka ‘Ohana