Star-Bulletin Features

Monday, April 29, 2002

[Hawaii's Schools]

Lahainaluna's annual traditions include a hoolaulea dedicated to alumnus David Malo, left, and the lighting of the "L" atop nearby Puu Pau Pau, shown at center, during graduation ceremonies.

Traditions endure
at Lahainaluna

David Malo Day, the Boarding
Department and graduation
are treasured institutions

Renovation projects shape school for future

By Joruel Espiritu
Lahainaluna High School

Since 1831, Lahainaluna High School has found pride in the traditions it has established. The highly regarded Boarding Department, the lavish David Malo Day celebrations and the unforgettable graduation ceremonies have been part of the long history of Lahaina.

The Boarding Department's beginnings in 1836 gave students from all over Hawaii a chance to learn. Housing more than 100 students from all over the Pacific Basin and Hawaiian Islands in two dormitories -- the David Malo dorm for boys and Hoapili for girls -- the Boarding Department thrives on hard work.

The boarding life at Lahainaluna is a difficult one. A 5:45 a.m. siren signifies the beginning of a typical day for boarders. They tend to Lahainaluna's landscape, clean the campus and take care of more than 40 swine before they head to class.

After the 2 p.m. bell releases the day students, boarders are back at work. They work 18 hours a week, with their work paying for their tuition, room and board.

Luca Sabatini-Grace, a four-year boarder from Kona and department president, says: "It's a memorable experience. Being a boarder gives me a sense of pride and responsibilities. It's hard being away from your surroundings, but the elder boarders make you feel at home. They make you a part of the family."

The David Malo Day hoolaulea is a living testament of the Hawaiian traditions envisioned at Lahainaluna. This annual hoolaulea held in mid-April showcases the work of the boarders and Hawaiiana Club and celebrates the legacy of one of Lahainaluna's greatest alumni, David Malo.

Born on the Big Island, David Malo moved to Lahaina in 1823 and studied the new ways of the missionaries. In 1831, Malo was one of 25 original students of Lahainaluna. He aided Kamehameha III in drafting Hawaii's first Declaration of Rights and became Hawaii's first superintendent of schools in 1841.

At his request, he was buried atop Puu Pau Pau (Mount Ball).

During the hoolaulea, members of the Hawaiiana Club, Boarders' Chorus and teachers show their talents through song and dance.

This year, as always, the boarders prepared a lau lau dinner. The boarders also showed off their dorms -- the night serves as the Boarding Department's open house.

"David Malo Day gives students a chance to understand the legacy they have inherited," says Lori Gomez, the hoolaulea's first and only coordinator since its beginnings in 1969. "It teaches them to give back to the community. It teaches them a sense of sharing and a sense of continuity."

Graduation has grown to be one of the greatest traditions at Lahainaluna. Although the site has changed because of overcrowding from Boarders' Field to the athletic field, the mystique is the same.

"It's so beautiful," says Penny Wakida, English teacher since 1971 and senior class adviser. "It's the best graduation ceremony in the world."

Lahaina comes to a standstill as the entire town seems to be at the ceremonies. The only businesses open seem to be the countless lei and balloon kiosks.

Earlier in the day, the senior class journeys up the mountain and lines the "L" atop Puu Pau Pau with cans of gasoline.

As the Associated Student Body president, the senior class president and boarders' president light the symbolic torch, the graduation ceremony hits its crescendo as the "L" blazes through the cool Lahaina air. Bars signifying Maui Interscholastic League championships and the class year also are set ablaze.

The ceremony symbolizes an ending for graduates, but also a new beginning.

Lost in these celebrations is Lahainaluna's greatest tradition: the tradition of transforming developing kids into mature young adults ready to take on the real world.

"Lahainaluna strives on tradition. It keeps our school healthy," says Art Filizar, student activities coordinator for 17 years. "When you live through the traditions, you feel the mana."



Lahainaluna's new library, currently under construction, will be air-conditioned and feature a video production center, a student conference room and an advanced security system.

Renovation projects
shape school for future

By Katie Bakke, Leanne Santella, Marvin Viloria and Brian Zampaga
Lahainaluna High School

Lahainaluna High School has grown tremendously over its 171 years of existence. Buildings and classrooms have been added, and improvements are still being made.

The state administration is planning on spending $331 million to renovate classrooms as part of a six-year project. An estimated $2.4 million dollars of that will be used to touch up Lahainaluna, including classroom floors, paint, windows, cabinets and chalkboards. Restroom renovation also will be done.

In a recent evaluation of campus conditions, the Department of Accounting & General Services ranked Lahainaluna ninth-worst in the state. Renovations set for mid-May are needed to fix up the oldest school west of the Rockies.

Vice Principal Lynn Kaho'ohalahala said, "The renovations will create a better physical learning environment for students."

The students of Lahainaluna have anxiously awaited a new school library. The library is one of many hangouts at Lahainaluna.

"We've been working for as long as six months," said Dan Blackburn, project superintendent. "We will be done in late August."

The new library spans more than 12,000 square feet and will feature a video production center for morning announcements, a student conference room, an archive room and a resource room. The $3.2 million library also will be air-conditioned and feature a book security sensor system, similar to ones found at public libraries and stores.

"I feel excited, but scared because it's so much bigger. Watching the entire place will be hard," said librarian Sheryl Seino. "It will probably take me two weeks to a month to move everything, but it's worth it. It's about time the students of LHS get a quality library."

The old library will be used as classrooms when construction is done.

Watching and listening to construction at school inspired students and staff to take matters into their own hands. In late February, members of the school's Art Club turned the old, chipped-away cafeteria mural into a club restoration project. Art teacher Sidney Yee and his advanced art students completed the original mural in 1995. But as time passed, the mural could not stay in perfect condition.

Art Club members used a fresh coat of paint and devoted Saturday mornings to touching up the painting.

This May, the Art Club will paint another mural on the portable walls located by the banyan tree tables. The club hopes to complete it by the end of the school year.

One of Lahainaluna's newest classes, Environmental and Spatial Technology has decided to brighten up its classroom.

"People don't know what's inside of the classroom because the windows are boarded up," said EAST facilitator Joanne Yamamoto. "I feel that the mural will give wanted attractiveness to the lab and character to the school."

Yamamoto assigned the mural to EAST senior student Brian Zampaga. Zampaga used Corel Painter Classic to design a layout of the mural to show that technology is useful for solving everyday problems. Helping with the mural is junior Darlene Bagusto.

For more than 10 years, new locker rooms and shower facilities were on the wish lists of students, faculty and parents at Lahainaluna. State Sen. Jan Yagi Buen (D, North/West Maui-Molokai-Lanai) pushed to make that wish come true, proposing to secure $2.6 million for new Lahainaluna locker rooms.

"The new locker rooms are something that is needed for the health and safety of the students," said physical education teacher Lance Nanod. "Many students do not feel comfortable showering and changing in unsanitary locker rooms."

School principal Michael Nakano met earlier this year with executive secretaries from each island to prioritize athletic facility needs; by the end of the discussion, Lahainaluna's locker rooms topped the list.




Each week, Hawaii's teenagers tell us about their high school. Lahainaluna High School on Maui is this week's school.

Newspaper: Ka Leo Luna
Editor: Joruel Espiritu
Faculty adviser: Shanda Arume
Next week: Hawaii Baptist Academy

Lahainaluna facts

Address: 980 Lahainaluna Road, Lahaina, HI 96761
Phone number: 808-662-4000
Principal: Michael Nakano
Enrollment: 987
Nickname: Lunas
Established: 1831
Vision: Gather at this place of Lahainaluna, grasp the flaming torch of excellence and let us move forward together.




What gives you "chicken skin"?

Victor Akauola
"When we sing our alma mater, the feeling of pride and spirit can be felt."

Mary-Ann Corpuz
"The sound of long pointy fingernails scratching on the chalkboard. Just thinking about it gives me chicken skin."

Jared Kahaialii
"When it feels like someone is watching you, but when you turn around, no one is there!"

Nohea Namuo
"When a boy that I like gives me a smile."

Akima Mokiao
"When I see a hairy girl."

Howard Davis
"When a loved one says something touching and you know that they meant it."

Eileen Domingo
"The 'Unsolved Mysteries' guy. His voice creeps me out."

Leah Kadotani

Cassie Jacinto
"Watching the twin towers fall on 9/11 gave me chicken skin."

Michelle Respicio
"When I'm in public bathrooms and I think about the faceless lady."

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