October 17, 2023, 2:13 PM HST
* Updated October 17, 3:04 PM
Lahaina Intermediate School faculty and staff cheered and waved signs as they welcomed approximately 400 students back to their West Maui campus for the first time this academic year.
Class schedules were distributed upon arrival and students started the day with grade-level orientation assemblies followed by a rotating class schedule to meet all of their teachers.
“My heart is overflowing seeing the faces of these kids coming in, them hugging each other, and the staff greeting them,” said Lahaina Intermediate School Principal Stacy Bookland. “It has just been an overjoy for me. This is a long time coming so we’re very happy to see everyone today.”
Students said they were excited to be on campus with their teachers and peers and feel hopeful about the rest of the school year ahead.
“It felt really refreshing,” said seventh grader Drew Briones. “I remember some old memories I had on this campus and it just felt really good. It was awesome.”
Seventh grader Mariah Kauvaka said, “This school year I’m looking forward to making new friends, definitely creating good and fun memories that will last, and keeping my grades up and doing good in school.”
The intermediate school is the second Lahaina campus to physically reopen to students this week. An estimated 700 Lahainaluna students returned to their home campus on Monday.
King Kamehameha III and Princess Nāhiʻenaʻena Elementary students are set to return Wednesday. Students and staff from King Kamehameha III will be sharing campus facilities with Nāhiʻenaʻena until a temporary school site at Pulelehua near Kapalua Airport opens. Department of Education officials say high-quality tent structures have been installed at Nāhiʻenaʻena to add classroom spaces that are equipped with air conditioning and laminate floors.