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Sacred Hearts School planning its anniversary

By Staff | Apr 26, 2012

Like Lahainaluna High School up the hill, generations of West Side residents can trace their roots to Sacred Hearts School.

The quaint school mauka of Maria Lanakila Catholic Church along Dickenson Street also played an important role in the town’s history.

Sacred Hearts doesn’t immediately come to mind when considering Lahaina’s historic sites, but the school has been there since 1862.

Originally called Maria Lanakila School, it started as a two-room building. Staffed by the pastor and his assistant, Kilito Mauliawa, Father Raymond Selalande of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts rebuilt and enlarged the small school into a four-room facility in 1870.

Sacred Hearts School was renamed to honor his religious order, and today Selalande is considered the school’s founder. He was assisted by Helen Kaoho and lay teachers.

The legacy of Sacred Hearts is now at the forefront, as a steering committee has been formed to plan a celebration for the school’s 150th anniversary.

Members of the steering committee are Siu Whitehead, chair; Joanna Stockham, co-chair; and members Mary Anna Waldrop, Mary Clare Lum, Chad Santiago, Lisa Agdeppa, Sue Kidnay, Kim Scott, Donna Curimao and Joan McKelvey.

Alumni are asked to contact Hendricks’ office with memorabilia and history of the school, including the events surrounding the tragic fire that burned the school down in 1971. It was rebuilt the following year.

According to SHS’ website, “In 1948, a storm destroyed the school building. Father Matthew Alencastre rebuilt the school with lumber from the Navy barracks in Puunene, and the classes resumed the following year.

“A worse tragedy occurred in 1971, when the school was completely destroyed by arson. The statue of Christ that is in the courtyard is the only remnant of the school after that fire. After much soul-searching and unwavering parish and community support, the present school was built under the guidance of Father Stephen Van Dende.”

Principal Susan Hendricks said there will be a number of events throughout the year. For more information, call 661-4720.