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It was a traditional untying of the maile lei ceremony that was nearly a decade in the making.
“I was joking with them that I hope that I see the last ribbon cutting before I’m in a wheelchair because I really want to see the whole experience of Farrington change,” retired Farrington High School principal Catherine Payne said.
Payne was on hand to see one of her dreams come to fruition, a new $2.3 million wing, that features three new learning academies, law and justice, sports industry and business.
“Students today learn in different ways and the environment they learn in must reflect in that kind of learning,” Department of Education school superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi said.
It’s all part of the Department of Education’s effort to redesign structures to house collegiate-style academies, also known as smaller learning communities. The goal is to provide personalized education as well as college and career preparation for students.
“This is the first step in the vision the physical manifestation of what it really means to have a facility for smaller learning communities and for the academy structure of the school,” Matayoshi said.
Farrington is now home to nine academies, including health, teacher cadet, engineering, creative arts and technology and culinary.
“The new students will be able to get a better foundation because we’ll be able to help them to see how we’ve evolved throughout the years. To see our school go from being one of the older schools to something that is being new generation,” Farrington High School senior Krymsyn Kamai said.
Alumni are feeling that governor pride as well.
“It’s very heartwarming for me having gone to school here and just seeing all the changes. And for me it’s about time that we’re able to make these changes for the community and the student,” (D) Senate President Donna Mercado Kim said.
In 2009, the DOE started redeveloping some of the state’s older schools, Farrington was the first pilot school. The legislature has appropriated $15 million in capital improvement project funding for Farrington.
“It’s the beginning of having facilities that are worthy of the students here,” Payne said.