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Maui Prep’s first graduating class to walk the line Friday

By Staff | May 27, 2010

Maui Preparatory Academy’s first graduating class is comprised of (from left): front — Carmella Lenta, Amanda Cuevas and Chelsea Johnson; back row — Chasen Bahouth, Trent Rosenquist, Alex Lewicki, Sean O’Hanlon and Samantha Hartsell.

NAPILI — Friday, May 28, will be a date forever remembered in the history of Maui Preparatory Academy, as the school’s first graduating class will walk the line in commencement exercises on the Napili campus.

Carmela Lenta, Sean O’Hanlon, Chelsea Johnson and Trent Rosenquist — all members of the original class that began classes at the old Kapalua Bay Hotel ten years ago as construction for the school was being completed at the Napili foothills — joined by Chasen Bahouth, Alex Lewicki, Amanda Cuevas and Samantha Hartswell make up the historic group that will receive their diplomas from the West Side’s only independent high school.

The class selected Lewicki to be their salutatorian at the commencement exercises, and, in a charming twist of fate, Rosenquist — whose father, Tom Rosenquist, was a key founder of Maui Prep — is the class valedictorian.

Tom passed away unexpectedly earlier this year. He served the school from the very beginning as a benefactor and board member.

“This is very special in memory of my dad,” said Trent last week. “His heart was into building this school up for the West Side community.”

“We were the test subjects to go through all the curriculum systems here — trying to build the school into lasting success,” he continued.

“In this way, we formed close bonds and took initiative from our teachers to form ideas for our own future. We’re all going on to college, and this school will only get better.”

Maui Prep Middle and Upper School Principal Leigh Fitzgerald concurred in saying, “These were the ground-breakers who believed in the school and the staff. They were flexible and resilient in working through the academic and athletic programs to form bonds as a family unit. It became a loving environment in which we all took a leap of faith to succeed.”

Fitzgerald is among four of the original administrators and teachers that created that pathway.

Current Headmaster George Baker, Counselor/teacher Keenan Reader and Athletic Director/teacher Ryan Kirkham are among the original Maui Prep staff with Fitzgerald.

“It is especially poignant to think that we’ve all been through this together. It is the culmination of a process —  combined with hard work with sweat and tears — that became potentially the greatest thing I will work on or be a part of,” Fitzgerald concluded.