Kamehameha SchoolsPAUKUKALO, Maui >> Some Hawaiians on Maui are hoping recent admission changes at Kamehameha Schools will make it easier for native youths from low-income families to get into the school.
to hold recruitment
workshops on Maui
The goal is to increase the poolMaui student adjusting well
of eligible low-income applicants
By Gary T. Kubota
"To me, the first place Kamehameha Schools should be looking for kids is in the homesteads," said Kalani Tassil, former president of the Paukukalo Hawaiian Homestead Community Association.
"I believe you give a Hawaiian child a chance, once they catch on, they're gone."
In Paukukalo, many native Hawaiian children are reared in homes with single parents and live in cramp quarters with other families, said Linda Aiwohi, an official with the association.
A young kickboxer was shot to death on a Paukukalo street three years ago, and a number of youths end up in juvenile jail, she said.
"Lot of kids come from backgrounds that are really tough," she said.
Hawaiians in Paukukalo and other communities on Maui will have an opportunity beginning next week to find out how they can get into Kamehameha Schools at a series of admission recruitment workshops.
The workshops, all held at 6:30 p.m., will take place at the Paukukalo community center on Monday, Kamehameha Schools-Maui campus dining hall on Thursday, and Hana High & Elementary School cafeteria on Sept. 18.
Other meetings are scheduled at Keanae School on Sept. 19, Lahaina Intermediate Cafeteria on Sept. 25, Lokelani Intermediate School cafeteria on Sept. 26, and a second meeting at Kamehameha Schools-Maui Campus' dining hall on Oct. 9.
School officials say the deadline for receiving applications is Oct. 15 and the workshops will focus on admission into kindergarten and grades 6, 7, 9 and 10 at the Maui campus.
They also say while preference is given to children of Hawaiian ancestry, all residents of Maui may apply for admission.
The workshops come in the wake of criticisms by school alumni and the larger Hawaiian community about the admission of the first non-Hawaiian to the Maui campus this fall. School officials initially said not enough native youths passed an admission test, so they selected a qualified non-Hawaiian to enter the eighth grade.
Since then, officials say they are trying to improve the pool of native Hawaiian applicants by instituting "interim admission changes," including the elimination of a $25 application fee and doing away with requiring qualified students to make a minimum test score.
Maile Jachowski, a pediatrician and Kamehameha Schools graduate, said she's pleased with the interim measures but is waiting for school officials to open the doors to a wider native community.
"The feeling is it's not enough," she said.
Jachowski said the Bernice Pauahi Bishop trust that established Kamehameha Schools was intended to improve the welfare of all native Hawaiians. She said rather than helping "the best and the brightest," the schools should be helping youths who really need assistance, including those coming from low-income families who have problems with drugs and teenage pregnancies.
Aiwohi said while her granddaughter is enrolled at the Maui campus, she knows at least two boys who applied and didn't get into the school, including one who would have entered as an eighth grader.
Aiwohi said she's noticed students from Kamehameha Schools including her daughter possess more self-esteem and a pride in being Hawaiian, compared to Hawaiians attending public schools.
"They (Kamehameha Schools officials) make you feel important and that you can reach for the stars," she said.
BACK TO TOP