Video by David Corrigan, Voice of Stephanie Salazar

WAIMEA, Hawaii: Kanu o ka Aina New Century Public Charter School held a celebration at its campus in Waimea on Tuesday, in honor of the completion of two new buildings on the scenic school grounds.

Students performed various Hawaiian chants for the assembled dignitaries – including U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka, and State Senator Malama Solomon. The honored leaders also spoke to the students.

The new buildings – named Hālau Poki’i and Hālau Puke – were completed in time for the new school year, and allow all KANU students to be accommodated together at Kauhale ‘Ōiwi O Pu‘ukapu. The campus is remarkable – offering some of Waimea’s finest views in every direction. The buildings occupy a site on Department of Hawaiian Homes Land and are part of KALO’s womb-to-tomb community based initiatives to support culture based education and the community.

Within Hālau Puke is a native library for school and community use. The library is supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Classrooms for KANU students’ grades 6 through 12 are also in a portion of the library building.

Hālau Poki´i is home to preschool classrooms through grade 5. The private preschool, Malamapokii, is operated by KALO and supported by Kamehameha Schools. Having the private preschool alongside KANU’s K-12 school helps create a seamless early education transition as part of the public private partnership between KALO and KANU

Hālau Ho‘olako has been occupied at the site on Department of Hawaiian Home Lands since 2009. Hālau Ho‘olako also serves as a community resource and technology center.

Although KANU is not an immersion school, Hawaiian culture and language are integrated into the curriculum from preschool on. Something Senator Akaka found highly commendable.

Kamehameha Schools, USDA, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Castle, Pa´ahana Enterprises, Quality Builders and the Waimea Community all had a hand in the development of the new buildings. School officials say KANU still needs a cafeteria, high school classrooms and more.