Puʻu Kukui Elementary School Celebrates Inaugural Year

May 15, 2014, 8:33 AM HST · Updated May 16, 6:58 AM
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Puʻu Kukui Elementary School. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Puʻu Kukui Elementary School. Photo by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

The state Department of Education announced that its newest school, Puʻu Kukui Elementary School in Wailuku, will celebrate the completion of its milestone first year with a school-wide celebration and dedication ceremony on Friday, May 16, 2014.

The theme of the celebration is “Leadership and Gratitude,” which will include a Hō‘ike in which students will showcase their leadership experience in a gallery walk and campus tours.

The Hō‘ike ‘Ike ‘Ohana Day begins at 9 a.m. at the school’s central lawn, with parking and shuttle service available at the nearby Maui Tropical Plantation.

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School administrators are encouraging families to walk or carpool if possible as street parking is not permitted in the surrounding subdivision.

The school welcomed more than 500 Central Maui students in kindergarten through fifth grade when it opened its doors on August 5, 2013.

Department officials say Pu‘u Kukui is also the first public elementary school in Hawai‘i to earn ‘gold’ certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

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The campus spans about 90,000 square feet and features energy-efficient classrooms, with photovoltaic panels and wind turbines installed on one of the school’s nine buildings.

Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi who will be in attendance for the anniversary event, said in a press release, “Nurturing lifelong learners and leaders is a commitment set by Principal Chad Okamoto and all of the teachers at Pu’u Kukui. The staff and students have shown that they are caring for their community and living up to the school’s name Pu‘u Kukui, which means hill of enlightenment.”

The project, referred to in its infancy as Wailuku II Elementary, is situated in the Kehalani Mauka subdivision, and is now the second public elementary school in Wailuku.

Then-Sen. President Shan Tsutsui (who is now lieutenant-governor), along with Representatives Kyle Yamashita and the late Bob Nakasone successfully secured a $14 million appropriation during the 2007 legislative session to plan, design and construct the school.

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