Lt. Governor Sylvia Luke Reaffirms Commitment to Hawaiian Language Learning; Visits Nāwahīokalaniʻōpuʻu Laboratory School

HILO, HI – Lt. Governor Sylvia Luke saw firsthand the achievements and challenges of Hawaiian Medium Education from preschool to high school during a visit yesterday at Ke Kula ʻO Nāwahīokalaniʻōpuʻu Iki Laboratory Public Charter School.

The Lt. Governor started her visit by greeting students in Korean and sharing with them her own language experiences and stressing the value of speaking the language of one’s culture.

“The fact that we have a school that is dedicated to the Hawaiian language medium, to speak ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi it’s not just as simple as language itself,” noted Luke.  “It is really about learning about culture and kuleana through language and the interaction that you have with kids as young as three years old, pre-schoolers to 12th graders and for them to be excited about going to school and for them to learn the culture and all the experiences that ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi delivers it was just so incredible.”

Students provided the Lt. Governor with a campus tour before she met with teachers and Hawaiian Education leaders to learn about the Hawaiian Medium Education Teacher Training Pipeline and the work being done at ʻAha Pūnana Leo, the Hawaiian Medium preschool.

“It is nice to see how the resources that the Legislature dedicated in recent years for Hawaiian Language Medium are being put to use,” said Luke. “I am dedicated to continuing efforts in this area because parents should not only have the choice but they have a constitutional right to have their children educated at a Hawaiian Language Medium preschool and beyond.”

ʻAha Pūnana Leo will soon mark its 40 year anniversary.

“We’re really happy and proud that we made it this far,” said Kauanoe Kamanā, director of Nāwahīokalaniʻōpuʻu. “The beginning of the Pūnana Leo was really about a dream and trying to address the urgency of our native speakers passing away. We are actually reversing the negative impact of the overthrow of our government 130 years ago by bringing our language back through the voices of our children and to see our Hawaiian worldview in everything that they do.”

ʻImiloa is a Hawaiian Language Medium consortium leader in ensuring education assets for the growth of Hawaiian Medium Education throughout the State of Hawaiʻi.

“The Lt. Governor clearly understands the need to perpetuate Hawaiian language and culture through our youngest learners,” said Kaʻiu Kimura, executive director of ʻImiloa. “We look forward to working with her in her efforts to make preschool more accessible to families seeking Hawaiian Medium Education.”

Learn more about the Lt. Governor’s universal preschool plan here.


(All images/video courtesy: Office of the Lieutenant Governor)

Video: Lt. Governor visits Nāwahīokalaniʻōpuʻu Laboratory School (Jan. 27, 2023)
[0:05] – Interview: Sylvia Luke, Lieutenant Governor
[1:59] – Interview: Kauanoe Kamanā, Director of Nāwahīokalaniʻōpuʻu
[2:57] – B-Roll

Attached Photo: Lieutenant Governor Sylvia Luke meets with Hawaiian Language Medium consortium leaders and students.

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