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Kamehameha Schools Celebrates Opening of Kalanihookaha Community Learning Center

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Kalanihookaha Community Learning Center (KCLC) in Nānākuli Village Center. PC: courtesy of Kamehameha Schools

A place for community gatherings and youth and young adult programs

Kamehameha Schools celebrated the opening of the new Kalanihookaha Community Learning Center (KCLC) in Nānākuli Village Center on Oʻahu with a small blessing and open house. 

Named for the professional legacy of Dr. Agnes Kalanihookaha Cope, known fondly by many as “Auntie Aggie,” a longtime Nānākuli resident and champion for Native Hawaiian health, education, culture and the arts; the new Center will serve as a place for gathering and learning for community residents and program partners alike. It will support ‘āina-based programs, career development, and training and provide a home for life-long learning opportunities for Native Hawaiians and those in the surrounding community.  

Kalanihookaha Community Learning Center (KCLC) in Nānākuli Village Center. PC: courtesy of Kamehameha Schools

“We recognize the many organizations lifting our lāhui in this community,” said KS Regional Director Community Strategies Kalei Kailihiwa. “With Kalanihookaha Community Learning Center completed, we will be looking to these partners to create, transform and nurture environments that foster ʻōiwi leadership,” said Kailihiwa.

The vision for KCLC was made possible through vital partnerships, including the State Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, the NHHCA, and the support of the Hawaiian Community Development Board. Led by Auntie Aggie’s son, Kanahele, the NHHCA has an office at KCLC and will use the center as a base for their education programs and efforts. Kamehameha Schools and community partners will further support Auntie Aggie’s professional legacy of health, education, culture and arts.

The $10.9 million learning center broke ground in April 2019 and completed construction a year later but delayed opening and programming due to COVID-19. The resulting project is a single-story building that encompasses 6,828 square feet and includes a large multi-purpose room with flexible space, a covered lānai for indoor and outdoor use, a serving kitchen, a large pavilion, and pā or outdoor staging area. 


Fronting the Center is a striking, life-sized humpback whale sculpture –  Koholā Ola, brought to life by the many hands of Waiʻanae Moku keiki and community members under the guidance of artist Sooriya Kumar. The koholā symbolizes one of the highest, most sacred forms of Kanaloa and signifies knowledge, intelligence and deep connection.

Some of the celebrants in attendance included Kamaki Kanahele of the Nānākuli Hawaiian Homestead Community Association (NHHCA), Lani Smithson, sr. project manager, Kiewit Building Group; Helena Jubany, managing principal, NAC Architecture; Glenn Yokotake, president and principal, GD Designs; Grant Murakami, vice-president, PBR Hawaiʻi & Associates Inc.; Darin Pilialoha, principal, Nānākuli High & Intermediate; Carlos Peñaloza, chancellor, Leeward Community College; and KS CEO Jack Wong, KS Trustee Lance Wilhelm and project staff. 

Kalanihookaha Community Learning Center (KCLC) in Nānākuli Village Center. PC: courtesy of Kamehameha Schools

KCLC is phasing in programs focused on youth, 16-years to young adults. In its first year, the Center has committed to program partnerships with the State Department of Education’s Papahana O Kaiona Alternative Learning program for at-risk high school students and Makaha Cultural Learning Center program for Trades Certification courses. In subsequent years more program partners that can accelerate the pace, scale, and reach to develop ʻōiwi leaders such as Leeward Community College, American Job Centers, and the Waiʻanae Coast Comprehensive Health Center will have an impact at KCLC.


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