Maui’s high schools using tickets to limit graduation crowds

Lei-giving will be permitted by largest public high schools

The stands at King Kekaulike High School’s Na Alii Stadium feature a limited crowd as graduating seniors march to their seats in May 2021. Public high schools and some private schools on Maui are using a ticket system this year to limit graduation crowds. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photos

For many Maui County high school graduations this year, celebrating family and friends will probably need a ticket and maybe a parking pass to attend.

But the good news is the giving of lei will be permitted by four of the county’s largest public high schools: Maui, Baldwin, King Kekaulike and Lahainaluna, although only Maui’s and Baldwin’s lei-giving opportunities are open to the public.

In April, Baldwin’s seniors and their parents expressed disappointment after a letter was sent home saying that no lei-giving would be allowed. That decision was later reversed. Leilehua High School on Oahu also had banned lei but then changed its decision. The schools said they sought ways to maintain safety of all participants during the lei-giving process.

For Baldwin and Maui high schools, whose graduations will be held at War Memorial Stadium on May 20 and 21, respectively, graduates after the ceremony will proceed to the adjacent play fields near the stadium for lei-giving, with the public able to attend.

However, to enter the stadium parking lot, people will need a ticket or pass, the schools said in letters to students and parents.

Graduates wait their turn to take the stage with their diplomas at Maui High School’s graduation in May 2021. With 450 graduating seniors, Maui High graduates will have four tickets each and one parking pass for the ceremony at War Memorial on May 21.

While restrictions remain, this year’s graduations are more inclusive than in years past since the pandemic began.

For example, last year Maui High School’s graduates were limited to sitting in the stands with their parents at War Memorial.

With 450 graduating seniors, Maui High graduates will have four tickets each and one parking pass, due to limited parking. The school will stream the ceremony on the Maui High Sabers YouTube channel, according to the school’s website.

In a letter to complex area superintendents on April 1, interim state Department of Education Superintendent Keith Hayashi said that graduates “may be allowed to bring a pre-set number of household members as guests,” which will be determined by each school based on factors including capacity, distancing and ceremony format.

“Schools must remind participants prior to the ceremony to stay home if they have any COVID-19-like symptoms, have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past five days, or have been directed to isolate or quarantine,” Hayashi added.

At Baldwin High School, the 267 graduates each will receive six tickets and two parking passes. The ceremony will be livestreamed on the HP Baldwin High School Facebook page, according to a letter to parents.

At Lahainaluna High School, the 223 graduates will receive eight tickets each, which will allow for adequate spacing at Sue D. Cooley Stadium to limit possible exposure to COVID, said temporary assignment Principal Lora-lea Grando.

She said the stadium will not be at full capacity at the graduation on May 22. The lei-giving ceremony will only be with the eight invited guests and “everyone must wear a mask.”

In Upcountry, King Kekaulike will give out 10 tickets to each graduate and three parking passes, which will be checked in order to enter the campus. The lei-giving will be only for ticketed guests in designated areas. The ceremony on May 19 will be livestreamed through the Kekaulike PCNC YouTube account with the assistance of Maui District Television, according to the school’s website.

Graduates and attendees should check with their respective schools and/or their websites for detailed guidelines and requirements, as they may vary among schools.

Some of Maui’s private schools, which distributed tickets for their ceremonies prior to the pandemic, are also using a ticket system this year.

Kamehameha Schools Maui is distributing tickets and attendees will be seated by household, a spokeswoman said. Masks are recommended but not required as the event is outdoors in the Kana’iaupuni Stadium. Graduation is on May 27.

Seabury Hall’s graduation is on May 28 on campus, with each graduate allowed six tickets each.

“The class of 2022 has been amazingly positive and resilient. They have shown us passion and creativity as they sought new ways to maintain tradition and unique experiences while being focused on caring for each other and our community,” said Maureen Madden, head of school. “We are proud to be able to celebrate them — albeit still with caution — and confer their diplomas surrounded by family. We are looking forward to a beautiful weekend of joy.”

* Melissa Tanji can be reached at mtanji@mauinews.com. Staff Writer Dakota Grossman contributed to this report.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper?


Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today