WAHIAWA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Hawaii elementary school was officially rededicated Monday in honor of one of Hawaii's most influential and powerful Congressional leaders: the late U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye.
The state Board of Education approved the re-naming of the former Hale Kula Elementary School at Schofield Barracks back in April, but military dignitaries, elected officials and community leaders gathered on campus Monday morning for a special dedication ceremony.
"For the sons and daughters of soldiers to get to go to a school named after such a remarkable role model is truly a great thing and for that we are very grateful," said Maj. Gen. Christopher Cavoli, commanding general of 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks.
The elementary school may have a new name, but it comes with a lot of history.
The school was built in 1959, the year Hawaii became a state and also the year Inouye was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Its location on Schofield Barracks was the home of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the unit that Inouye served in during World War II. For his service, he was awarded the Purple Heart, which is now on display on campus.
"He always said that education was not just about learning. Education is transformational," said Inouye's son, Ken.
Inouye died in 2012 at the age of 88.
And officials say Inouye's dedication to students has dramatically transformed this campus.
"Senator Inouye was really the guiding light behind the appropriations and the idea of supporting our schools on military bases," said U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii.
The school recently got $33.2 million from the Department of Defense and state Department of Education to upgrade and add classrooms, and build a new library and play court for students. Some 99 percent of students who attend the schools come from military families.
"I think for the students now and in the future, they didn't really know who Daniel K. Inouye was, but now they will know who he is and I think that's very important for his legacy and for what he did for Hawai'i and for the United States," said school Principal Jan Iwase.