Kamehameha Schools Funds Aka`ula Scholarships
A new agreement between Kamehameha Schools (KS) and Molokai’s Aka`ula School will allow more children to attend Aka`ula through financial assistance provided by KS. The agreement was signed last week and the scholarship, called Ho`okahi Ka `Ilau (“wield the paddles together”), will offer tuition assistance and other support for Molokai students demonstrating financial need to attend the small, independent school for students in grades five through 12.
“Today is going to be a game changer for our school,” said Dara Lukonen, Aka`ula School principal, in a KS press release last week. “This partnership with Kamehameha Schools is going to allow us to offer opportunities to students we have not been able to reach yet.”
Akaʻula School was founded 13 years ago, originally as a middle school, then expanded to include high school education in 2012. It offers students an award winning environmental education program and rigorous academic standards.
According to KS, the recent agreement is an example of Kamehameha Schools’ efforts to collaborate and support schools to provide educational opportunities in communities where students are not served by a KS campus.
“It is our kuleana to give every native Hawaiian child the opportunity to experience an educational journey that will foster the strength and ambition they can only obtain through quality Hawaiian culture- based education,” says Jack Wong, KS chief executive officer. “Our strategic plan challenges us to do more. This partnership will allow us to deliver on that challenge because every native Hawaiian keiki is a child of Pauahi.”
KS, a private, educational, charitable Native Hawaiian trust, was founded in 1887 by the legacy of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, with the goal of improving the capability and wellbeing of Native Hawaiians through education, according to its mission.
KS’ vision to provide education rooted in Hawaiian culture and identity is remaining strong in its collaboration with likeminded institutions. Aka`ula has a student body of 70 to 80 percent Native Hawaiian, and like KS’ admissions policy, the scholarship will be available to new Aka`ula enrollees of Native Hawaiian descent.
Ho`okahi Ka `Ilau is a three-year commitment between the two schools, and the tuition assistance program will be open in the 2018-19 school year.
“We have a lot of families that would like to send their students to our school, but they are unable to,” added Lukonen. “The collaborative effort with Kamehameha Schools is going to allow us to reach out to those families.”