LAHAINA - Some 200 Lahainaluna High School seniors in the Class of 2012 walked the line in commencement exercises held on Sunday on Boarders' Field in the heart of the historic campus.
Family, friends and school staff gathered in the filtered twilight below Pu'u Pau Pau, or Mount Ball, with the giant "L" adorned with six bars to signify the athletic championships won this year, overseeing the graduation event of this Lahainaluna generation. The throngs of people filling the grass field and the traditional stage in the celebration indeed represent the heartbeat of the West Side community.
This deep, sincere emotion is perhaps best described in the expressions of Class of 2012 Valedictorians Kiara Galicinao and Loa Uehara, who discussed how their four years at Lahainaluna influenced them.
Congratulations to the Lahainaluna High School Class of 2012 that graduated on Sunday evening on Boarders’ Field. Photo by Walter Chihara.
"From the start of my freshman year, I had already noticed the impact Lahainaluna can have on anyone who attends this school. Through my first Leadership Camp, Homecoming experience and football games, I felt the rich pride and spirit. Parents, alumni and the entire Lahaina community at various events has showed me what strong ties and support Lahainaluna possesses," said Galicinao.
"I appreciate the historic and traditional atmosphere that Lahainaluna exhibits, and I like the fact that each building has its own story, dating back to so many years ago. This is why I chose to redesign the David Malo Dormitory on campus as my Senior Project. My purpose with this project was to remodel the dorms with better facilities, but most importantly, to keep the traditions alive throughout the process. I feel that Lahainaluna deserves nothing but the best, being that it holds such significant meaning," she continued.
"Attending Lahainaluna High School has been a wonderful experience. Over the past four years, the school has been a backbone to my future plans and goals. I have developed an even greater motivation for participating in school activities, clubs and community service projects through the spirit that Lahainaluna gives off. Lahainaluna has provided me with a home and love that can never be replaced. Even as I move forward on to the next chapter of my life, my heart will always belong to Lahainaluna," she concluded.
Four-year boarding student Uehara from Hilo agreed in saying, "I made the choice to come to Lahainaluna as a boarding student, and in doing this, I gained a deep will to succeed and learned discipline, perseverance and resilience. This school has a caring attitude with the way the teachers, administrators and community support and take care of the students, especially the boarders. My four years here have been a great experience to grow and learn with the other boarders and the members of the school band. I came to Lahainaluna from a small town and this was a 'bigger' experience for me... it really helped me grow to be here."
Class counselor Tiffany Kuban congratulated the Class of 2012 and described them as an amazing group that will certainly go very far in life.
"We are just so proud of all of them, and to know that they won a fantastic amount of scholarship money is so exciting. Kristy Arakawa (the school's college guidance advisor) informed me that this class won over a million dollars in scholarships, including a four-year, $35,000 amount to Jeremy DeGracia from an anonymous community donor. Congratulations to all of them; it's been a great four-year ride with them!"
Anne Goff, an English teacher at Lahainaluna for 23 years and the class advisor, described the seniors as an easy going group that everyone liked.
"They were so easy to get along with, and they had very few problems. They were kind to the teachers, and we formed wonderful relationships with the students," said Goff. "We wish them the best of luck wherever their future takes them - they do deserve the best."