Maui dad sticks
to school plans

His son, though not Hawaiian,
will attend Kamehameha Schools

By Gary T. Kubota

WAILUKU >> The father of the boy chosen to be the first non-Hawaiian to attend Kamehameha Schools on Maui said yesterday that he plans for his son to attend the private educational institution despite an outcry within the Hawaiian community.

Wailuku resident John Rosell said the admission requirements are an issue that should be resolved between native Hawaiians and Kamehameha Schools.

"We don't want to get into that," Rosell said.

Rosell said his family just happened to apply on behalf of his son at the right time and that he did not want to discuss the issue any further.

The Rosells' son, Kalani, had completed the seventh grade at Iao Intermediate School.

He was recognized recently among a select group of students as "Renaissance Cardholders" for a combination of academic achievement, good citizenship and community service. He was a straight-A student in his fourth quarter at Iao Intermediate.

His father is an acupuncturist and massage therapist, and his mother is a hairdresser.

Iao Intermediate School principal Elizabeth Ayson said she hopes issues involving adults do not impede the growth and learning of students such as Kalani.

"I believe it is our responsibility as adults to be the wind beneath his wings, to give him support to do the best he can there," Ayson said.

In making the announcement Thursday, a Kamehameha Schools' press release said the decision to admit a non-Hawaiian student on Maui for the 2002-03 year does not represent a change in the institution's educational policy. The Schools said it gives preference to students of Hawaiian ancestry to the extent allowed under laws governing its tax-exempt status.

In a press conference yesterday, Kamehameha Schools' Chief Executive Hamilton McCubbin said that when all applicants of Hawaiian ancestry who meet admissions criteria have been accepted and there are still openings, qualified non-Hawaiian applicants may be considered. This was the case at the Maui campus, where available space doubled in all grades, kindergarten through ninth grade, for the coming school year, he said.

But critics said the decision goes against the wishes of the late Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, who established the educational trust on behalf of Hawaiian children. Some graduates fear the decision could open the floodgates to non-Hawaiians who will take advantage of the relatively low tuition at Kamehameha Schools.

Kamehameha Schools archive

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