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After canceled plans, Maui mayor OKs a celebration dinner for high school seniors

Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 7:35 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Driving up to Lahainaluna High School, “Congratulations” posters are plastered along fences honoring the Class of 2021.

“I graduate on Sunday!” Kulia Phillips said.

Phillips, a senior at LHS, is grateful to have an in-person ceremony on Sunday, but she says the past year has been tough.

“When corona hit, it was really devastating for our class. We had high hopes for this year, and we didn’t get much. We didn’t have a make-up prom. We didn’t have a senior ball,” Phillips said.

It looked like another disappointment was ahead this week for Phillips and her classmates.

The school’s Parent Teacher Student Association arranged for a special dinner for the graduates and surprise performances by Ekolu, Maoli and Josh Tatofi.

School administrators approved their plan.

However, on Tuesday, they changed their minds.

“There was a complaint that was made, and the concern was thought to have been impactful so some of our activities were being cancelled,” said PTSA President Pakalana Phillips.

“It went through a review process,” said the school’s vice principal, Ilima Greig-Hong. “And always factoring in the safety of our students and our community, it was revised a bit.”

Phillips said the last-minute announcement left students feeling defeated and staff members struggling to find a back-up plan.

After a letter to the mayor and a petition, on Thursday, Maui County Mayor Mike Victorino approved PTSA’s original plan.

School officials confirmed seniors will be able to enjoy dinner and entertainment after their graduation practice on Friday and after the commencement ceremony on Sunday.

“I love that our students are able to use their voice and apply it and hopefully when they graduate and continue on in society, that they continue to allow their voices to be heard,” said Phillips.

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