LAHAINA, Hawaii (KHON2) — Homecoming is all about school spirit and pride. It’s celebrated every year, but this year it has an even deeper meaning for Lahainaluna High School, still recovering from the devastating wildfires.
Students and faculty spent the first few months of the school year on a campus far away from their own, this week literally is a homecoming for them all.
“There couldn’t be a more fitting week that falls on homecoming with the students and the staff returning back to campus on Monday,” said Jaime Eva Palakiko and Hawaiian language and hula teacher at Lahainaluna. “Definitely the feeling here on campus has been very inspirational to everyone. The sense of ohana revitalizing hope for our community.”
Assemblies brought the student body together for fun and games.
And when initial plans for the homecoming t-shirts, designed by the students, fell through. Palakiko said community members and several businesses stepped in to make it happen.
“It really was a kako effort. It wasn’t just one person. It was multiple people with multiple connections, just making it happen for our kids,” she explained.
Meilin Vitale-Vae, owner of Missing Polynesia, was one of those that donated resources.
KHON2 News asked “What was it like to be there and hand these t-shirts out to the kids and staff?”
“I felt my spirit jump,” Vitale-Vae said. “I just felt like this was something that we could pull together. something that we could lay our hands on and something that they could wear with pride that they created and to give it as a gift of aloha.”
“It’s just overwhelming and amazing and just you can’t really put an exact word on it,” Palakiko said. “The closest I can get is this. Everything that’s been happening is the true definition of aloha.”
The week culminates with the homecoming football game, which is the first they’ll play on their own field in almost a year.
“It sold out within three, four minutes is what I’m being told when the tickets went on sale, yesterday, so that tells you a lot about how strong this company feels about the this, these kids and this football program and what Lahainaluna means to this community,” said Lahainaluna Co-head football coach Dean Rickard.
“The support that they’ve been getting tremendous support that they’ve been getting from our West side community has only pushed the kids even, and motivated them even more so… They’re on this journey. And, you know, we still have a ways to go and right now, you know, they’re enjoying it.”
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The homecoming game is Saturday, Oct. 21 at Sue D. Cooley Stadium. Kick-off is at 7 p.m. The Lunas are facing the Baldwin Bears.