Waiahole Elementary School celebrates 130 years

Waiahole Elementary School

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Years of preparation, planning, and practice will come to fruition Saturday as Waiahole Elementary School celebrates a momentous occasion.

“This school is 130 years old and that means it started when Hawaii was not even a territory of the United States. It started under King David Kalakaua,” said Bob Nakata, Waiahole Elementary School Class of 1956.

Through controversy, storms, and floods, the tiny school with just over 70 students currently has stood the test of time.

“A lot of resilience,” said Eldean Kukahiko, Waiahole Elementary School Class of 1956. “And when the rivers overflowed, it was a very big issue here. We all used to gather together in different places to make sure the water didn’t hurt us.”

Through it all, Waiahole remains strong.

“The real strength in culture, values in the kids here,” Kukahiko said.

“Our students here have that country spirit. They really love each other, they respect adults. They always try to do their best,” Waiahole Elementary School Principal Wendy Matsuzaki said.

Acknowledged for continued Department of Education improvement and making significant testing gains, the windward Oahu school could always use help when it comes to funding.

“Because we are a small school, we don’t get a whole lot of funding. In fact we don’t have enough funding even for our personnel costs,” Matsuzaki said.

Waiahole has seven teachers on staff and a slew of volunteer educators.

“And we are really hoping to build up our technology program. We would really like to bring more mobile labs and iPad labs to our school,” Matsuzaki said.

On Saturday, Waiahole Elementary School will host a 130th anniversary luau and reunion from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“Whatever we do make tomorrow, it will benefit all of our students,” Matsuzaki said.

The luau will feature live entertainment, a country store, silent auction, and lots of food.

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