Maui Inaguration: Lunas Boarding Program hopes for “A New Day”
By Wendy Osher
An intimate crowd of about 200 people gathered at the Lahainaluna High School Gym on Maui to welcome Hawaii’s new Governor Neil Abercrombie and Lt. Governor Brian Schatz into office. The location was selected in part because of it’s longstanding tradition as the first school in the state of Hawaii.
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During his remarks to the Maui audience, Abercrombie pulled out a cap inscribed with the wordsImua Lunas.
He reflected upon a previous visit to the campus during his gubernatorial campaign saying, “When I came up here that day, I knew the tide was turning… That day, I made my commitment to you, and I’ll make it to you again: As long as I am Governor, Lahainaluna will be open, Lahainaluna will be thriving and Lahainaluna will be No Ka Oi,” said Abercrombie.
Students and faculty at Lahainaluna pride themselves on their history in education, and traditions tied to both West Maui and the state of Hawaii. Founded in 1831, Lahainaluna rests in the area of Lahaina, once known as Lele–an area of great significance to Hawaiian royalty, and first seat of Hawaiian government.
Today, dozens of bording students performed as part of the confirmation ceremony by singing the schools’ alma mater. The 180-year-old boarding program came under scrutiny during the last legislative session when lawmakers considered funding cuts that threatened its future.
Event Emcee, Alakai Paleka of KPOA 93.5 FM, described Abercrombie as an education governor saying, “I think he’s also going to be the Governor that ensures our bording program never gets threatened again.”
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Abercrombie also reflected upon his first public appearance 40 years ago, which coincidentally was on Maui, at Baldwin Beach Park, while running for the U.S. Senate. “I had butterflies in my stomach that day. I don’t have them today. I feel so good today, because I know I’m among friends,” said Abercrombie.
When he began his campaign for Governor, Abercrombie came to Maui to announce his campaign plans, and his plans to come home to Hawaii. “I said it then, that first day of this campaign that we would not be ‘Oahu-centric. That we would come to all of the neighbor islands, and we’re island people and we’re all united together,” said Abercrombie.
“United we will move forward, and that’s what we’re going to do,” said Abercrombie. “We’re island people. We know that we need each other,” said Abercrombie.
The event was one in a series of neighbor island confirmation ceremonies held across the state following an official swearing-in ceremony and inauguration at the ‘Iolani Palace grounds on December 6, 2010.
The theme of the celebration, E Ho’omalu o Hawai’i, litterally means to protect Hawai’i, but it also infers protection with wisdom, integrity and compassion. Similar events were already held on Lanai and Molokai earlier this week. Additional confirmation ceremonies will take place on the Big Island and Kauai in the coming days. They include an event tomorrow (Sunday, December 12) in Ka’u from 10 a.m. to noon at the Plantation House in Pahala; Monday, December 13 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Kuhio Hale in Waimea on the Big Island; and Wednesday, December 15 from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Hikina a ka la Heiau in Wailua on Kauai.
*** If you enjoyed this story, you may also like our post on Abercrombie’s selection of Maui’s Kalbert Young as Budget and Finance Director.
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