LAHAINA - News that arrived at a recent Sacred Hearts School faculty meeting caused the staff to clap, cheer and embrace in a group hug.
Jack and Steph Koraleski, through their Koraleski Foundation, sent Sacred Hearts a check for $200,000.
"My reaction to the unexpected gift was tears of joy initially," said Principal Susan Hendricks.
Teacher Bradley Mason is flanked by Sacred Hearts School students Hokulea Garcia (left) and Ken Lee.
"We were all pretty much aghast at the announcement."
The connection between the Koraleski family and Sacred Hearts is teacher Bradley Mason.
Jack explained the story behind the donation in a letter to the school.
"My wife and I just came back from a week-long visit to Maui. During the course of that week, we had the pleasure of meeting one of your young teachers, a man by the name of Brad Mason. Brad turned out to be a friend of our son, who came to Maui with us along with his family.
"In meeting Brad, we started talking about his job and the school and the kids, and we were immediately impressed with his passion and commitment he had for teaching at Sacred Hearts. It wasn't just that he loved his job. It was how much he cared for the school and the kids that go there. It was the history of the school and his deep concern for the future of the school that truly moved us."
"We understand that financial times are tough... so we thought the least we could do is make a contribution to help you and the school during these troubled times," he wrote.
Hendricks said she and school Secretary Jan Pasamonte were "prayerfully hoping" that SHS would receive a $10,000 gift.
"When Jan announced the gift amount, the teachers and I gasped in unison, started clapping and cheering! I remember saying, 'Group hug!', encircling Bradley," she said. "He blushed and just stood there with his hands clasped and his head bowed in the most pure state of humility I've ever seen. He was without words, but his posture said it all for me."
Thoughts of teacher bonuses, a scholarship fund in the Koraleski's name, program enhancements and repairs on the playground and around campus entered the principal's mind.
"I knew it would be fun visioning what to do with this gift, and we still are wrapping our mind around this blessing! It is the largest donation ever given to the school. We are so proud to be in the company of Bradley - his integrity made us feel honored right along with him," Hendricks commented.
"The donor's intent is to help move the school forward. Wanting to be good stewards, consultation from the various school community groups is under way," she continued.
"Although nothing has been set in stone to this date, the school is going to put aside money for a scholarship fund in the family's name."
Funds may also be used to improve the technology infrastructure at Sacred Hearts.
Jack and Steph Koraleski were happy to meet Mason. "He is an able ambassador of your school and all things you strive to accomplish," he wrote
The couple may visit the school when they return to Maui next month.