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Kihei high school given official name

The Maui News

Kulanihako’i High School is now the official name of the campus currently under construction in Kihei, following Thursday’s approval by the Hawai’i State Board of Education.

The name honors the Kulanihako’i Stream and gulch, which run adjacent to the campus on its northern boundary, and once sustained the Ka’ono’ulu ahupua’a and brought life to the land through farms and fishponds, according to a news release from the state Department of Education.

The DOE recommended the name after extensive research and deliberation by a collaborative community group made up of Native Hawaiian cultural experts, historians, educators, archaeologists, researchers, community members with generational ties to the area, complex area and school officials, and current and future students. Community input was also solicited and received in a virtual community meeting earlier this year. 

“The official naming of our campus is a long-awaited decision that will give our school community a unified identity and our students a proud shared history throughout their lives,” Kulanihako’i High School Principal Halle Maxwell said. “We want to thank our dedicated naming hui volunteers and our community members for bringing their unique perspectives and collective expertise together to honor Hawaiian culture and the rich history of this land.”

Under the board’s policy, campus names must be a unique identifier to promote and represent a school’s location or identity and be approved by the Board of Education

Kulanihako’i High School opened to ninth-graders at the beginning of School Year 2022-23 at a temporary site at Lokelani Intermediate School until Phase II of construction is completed at the end of 2022. Phase II will construct the upper campus and includes administration, classroom, library and cafeteria buildings, along with physical education locker rooms, a playcourt, temporary playfield and open spaces. Future phases will continue construction as funding is available. 

The school plans to relocate to the new campus over winter break to launch the spring semester in Jan. 2023. The school will be open to ninth-graders only throughout School Year 2022-23 and add one higher grade each school year thereafter through grade 12. At full capacity, the campus is designed for an enrollment of 1,600 students.

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