Waianae High sees 20 valedictorians in busy graduation weekend - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Waianae High sees 20 valedictorians in busy graduation weekend

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WAIANAE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

A record 20 valedictorians were among the 414 students who received their diplomas from Waianae High School on Friday evening.

The students are at the top of their class, with grade point averages pushed above 4.0 by taking college courses.

"I'm graduating college next year actually," said valedictorian Maria Rallojay. "Through my internship I started my college courses this year and I graduate next year."

"It feels definitely awesome, so rewarding, you know?" said another valedictorian, Keane Miura. "With all the hard work and getting this prestigious title and making our community look good."

"I'm just really proud of myself," said Dairian Balai, one of two valedictorians who spoke at the ceremony. "My family's really proud of me, and it makes me happy that I can make them proud. And I know it's a big thing for Waianae."

"We're thrilled that kids are getting off to a great start and earning those credits and getting those extra points that put them all above this magical 4.0 number," said Waianae principal Disa Hauge.

This is also the first Waianae class to benefit from a federal program aimed at communities with a low number of college degrees. Seventy-five percent of this year's Waianae grads have been accepted to college.

"I'm planning to go to Chaminade for my four years as a major in biology. I got a scholarship," said Sierra Wills-Alcos.

"I'm very proud of my children," said Sierra's dad, Chase Alcos. "They make me and my family very happy, pursuing college and all of that. I'm very proud of them."

School officials are hopeful that the graduates will return as strong members of the community.

"We want them to come back as teachers, as doctors, as plumbers -- anything they get a degree in," said Hauge.

Waianae High School was one of 18 holding commencement ceremonies Friday. Another 24 public high schools statewide will have graduations this weekend.

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