Another Side
of the Story


At-risk Hawaiian students
should be admitted first

Since the majority of the beneficiaries of the will of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop seem to want Kamehameha Schools to educate only Hawaiian children, that seems to be the logical solution -- even though the will does not preclude educating non-Hawaiian children.

But I still think the real problem lies in the overall admissions policy, not just the fact that a non-Hawaiian child was accepted for the first time in many years.

In the 1970s, one of our sons applied to Kamehameha Schools. He was not admitted, even though he met all the requirements. There was not enough room to accommodate all who wanted in. We pleaded with the Bishop Estate trustees to open more campuses.

In the 1990s, one of our granddaughters applied, met all of the qualifications, attended the summer Explorations program, but was not admitted -- for the same reason. Only 13 applicants were admitted from the neighbor island district in which she lives.

Insiders told us that both might have been admitted if we had some family ties; parents or grandparents who had attended the schools, or siblings currently enrolled. Kamehameha Schools was described to us as a close-knit family that took care of itself. Unfortunately, although our Hawaiian children and grandchildren can trace their ancestry to pre-Kamehameha Hawaii, no one in the immediate genealogy had attended the schools that honor the great king.

Now, after giving much consideration to the situation, I think the schools should open their doors to those who need the help, those who might not do well in other schools. Families that can afford to put their straight-A students in Punahou or Iolani, for example, should do so, leaving room for Hawaiian students who need what Kamehameha offers. (Incidentally, all of our Hawaiian children did well in public schools.)

Kamehameha Schools may never educate all the Hawaiian children, but wouldn't it be wonderful if the schools could take in all the Hawaiian children who are borderline in terms of academics, or perhaps "at risk" because they are not adjusting to their public schools?

Princess Pauahi would have been proud to see a Kamehameha education going to those who need it, rather than those who will succeed no matter where they go to school.

Keith Haugen is a teacher and entertainer.

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