‘An answered prayer’: After anxious weeks, small Lahaina school gets good news on its students

September’s monthly test of the outdoor siren warning system will not take place as regularly scheduled.
Published: Aug. 28, 2023 at 10:05 PM HST|Updated: Aug. 29, 2023 at 2:15 AM HST
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LAHAINA (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Lahaina Catholic school that burned to the ground says they were recently able to confirm that all of their students escaped from the blaze and are safe.

“An answered prayer, really, because that whole week we’re out here, we’re living in uncertainty and with lack of reception,” said Tonata Lolesio, the principal at Sacred Hearts School.

The school on Dickenson Street was destroyed.

But students are being welcomed back to class at Sacred Hearts Mission Church in Kapalua.

Lolesio says about half her students returned.

The rest, who were displaced by the fire, moved away from West Maui.

But the temporary location has taken on about 120 public students whose schools were burned.

“They need to be in a place where they can have some stability and their spiritual and emotional and developmental needs are being meet. They’re the future of Lahaina,” said Lolesio.

Meanwhile, DOE is also looking for ways to accommodate students.

The department said in a statement:

“Right now, our schools in Lahaina remain closed to staff, students and volunteers for health and safety reasons. The Department is awaiting results of environmental testing to be sure that the air, water and soil are safe to reopen our three remaining campuses. We are hopeful that our schools will be able to reopen, but not until we are assured that it is safe to do so by state and federal authorities.”

Maui families and community members are invited to meet with principals of Lahaina public schools and HIDOE leaders on Wednesday.

The two meetings will be held from 9-11 a.m. at Citizen Church in Lahaina and from 1-3 p.m. at Maui Arts & Cultural Center, McCoy Studio Theater 1 in Kahului.