Kahuku High dominates athletics and now seeks to dominate academ - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Kahuku High dominates athletics and now seeks to dominate academics

KAHUKU, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -  By Taylor Preza

Kahuku High and Intermediate secured a waiver from the Board of Education to raise student-athlete eligibility levels to a 2.3 GPA from the standard 2.0 starting in the second quarter of the 2014-2015 school year with winter sports.

The waiver - granting an exception from the 26-year-old BOE policy - was unanimously approved by the board on May 6. The new rule requires all KHIS student-athletes to have no F's in required core classes while maintaining a C average 2.3 GPA in order to participate in sports. 

The raised GPA helps to prepare the students for college success as well as the NCAA requirements some will have to face after high school. KHIS Principal Pauline Masaniai believes the new rule will motivate students to set higher goals and work to achieve them. 

"Eligibility for NCAA colleges requires a minimum 2.3 GPA and most NCAA colleges choose students who have at least a 2.75 GPA. Our student-athletes are at a disadvantage with a 2.0,” Masaniai said.

The principal along with teachers, parents, student government leaders and Kahuku's athletic department, support the measure to raise the bar for student success.

In 1988 the board granted a similar waiver to the school when it sought to raise the GPA requirement to 2.0. each quarter for eligibility. As a result, student-athletes proved that they could do better in school.

KHIS Athletic Director Gillian Yamagata handled grade checks in the '80's when Albert raised the GPA. Yamagata said, "It's a lot of works on our end but it improves kids' eligibility for college. I've seen evidence that raising the bar like we did, works."

In addition to the teacher grade checks occurring every two weeks, other plans are in progress to support the students as they move forward to achieve the new standards. Included, is a new daily study-hall period where teachers are available for individual support after school twice a week. Teachers and volunteers from Brigham Young University-Hawaii will also be on campus to provide general support and help with homework three times a week. 

When asked if this new rule could possibly hurt the athletic teams, Masaniai believes it will only help them by allowing the students to tap into their full potential as scholar athletes who will be ready for their next steps in life. 

"We owe it to our students to help them prepare for the avenues they choose to pursue after high school, whether a four-year college, junior college or tech school. We're confident that our students will meet the new standards with the support of our teachers and parents," Masaniai stated.

More than 80 percent of the students enrolled are student-athletes. 

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