Oahu school struggles to stay open

Andrew Mason
Andrew Mason

By Lisa Kubota - bio | email

MANOA (HawaiiNewsNow) - A small private school in Manoa is struggling to stay open. The campus will have to close at the end of this semester if additional funding can't be found.

Students at Lutheran High School of Hawaii have more to worry about than just homework and exams. Their beloved campus could be closing in just a few months.

"It was pretty disappointing news, kind of a shock," said freshman Valerie Au.

"A lot of people need this community and that brings the best out of people," said sophomore Andrew Mason.

Our Redeemer Lutheran Church started the high school 40 years ago. It later decided to share ownership with five other churches, but student enrollment has dropped over the years.

"Four years ago we were at about 140, and gradually it has decreased each year and now we're at 100, which makes us financially heavily-burdened," said principal Art Gundell.

The school has been holding fundraisers to come up with cash, but after two years of deficits the situation is urgent.

"We've been able to keep things going on some of our reserves for the past year or so, but at this point we don't have any reserves left, and we need to find another means of funding or the school will close," said Gundell.

Administrators have been trying to boost enrollment. They're also hoping that Our Redeemer will take back sole ownership of the high school and keep it running.

"All the students that are here want to stay at this school. Parents want them to stay at this school," said Gundell.

Most of the students don't even put locks on their lockers due to the faith and trust they have in each other.

"Some people may think it's strange, but we're so tight-knit together. Everybody knows each other," said Au.

"It's basically a family here. Everyone knows everyone. Everyone knows your parents. Everyone's a community," said Mason.

The school will hold a fundraiser on February 11 at 7:30 p.m. at the Hawaii Theatre. Roland Cazimero and other entertainers will perform in the benefit concert.

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