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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, August 23, 2001

Our Schools • Kalani High School
Principal praises Falcons for acceptance amid diversity

 •  Kalani High School at a glance

By Jean Chow
Advertiser Staff Writer

The mountain backdrop to Kalani High School is emblazoned with white paint and red letters boldly stating " '02 Seniors."

From left, seniors Richard Dabbs, Lauren Morisato, Melissa Len, Leanne Kashiwada and Dawn Yamane train for certification in computer repairs in an A-Plus class at Kalani High School.

Deborah Booker • The Honolulu Advertiser

But don't expect that to stay there forever.

Affectionately referred to as "the Rock" by students and alumni, the mountain has been a display board for school and class pride since — well — since before students and faculty can remember.

Principal Randiann Porras-Tang said incoming seniors traditionally paint the mountainside by the start of every school year but, on occasion, members of graduated classes will return to leave their mark again.

"Around reunion times, some classes will come back and paint something. It's not competitive, but the next week there might be something else painted over it," she said.

Porras-Tang said students are told each year that the mountain is not part of school property and that it is off-limits but, as with most traditions, the lettering has "always been there."

• What are you most proud of? "We're most proud of our students," said Porras-Tang. "There are different types of kids, but they are all very accepting of each other. They can belong to different groups, but they respect each other's individuality."

• Best-kept secret: "The buildings are haunted," said Porras-Tang. She said teachers have reported strange noises when they come in at night, such as knocking on doors and sounds of people walking on the roof.

"But the kids have never reported anything; it's always the teachers," she said.

• Everybody at our school knows: Irene Yamamoto, the school secretary.

"Whenever the kids need something, they see Irene," said Porras-Tang. "If you don't know something, or if you need anything from a Band-Aid to a safety pin, Irene will get it for you or direct you to where you should go."

• Our biggest challenge: "A big challenge is dealing with and implementing the (learning) standards," said Porras-Tang. "We are involving students in a learning process at a higher degree than before and we need to make sure that the teachers and students are comfortable, but moving forward."

• What we need: "We need to upgrade our electricity," said Porras-Tang. She said most classrooms have only four outlets, so everyone must be very selective about what is plugged in to prevent electrical shorts.

"Our athletes have an athletic trainer, but no training room. But even if we found a room, we couldn't put any of the machinery in there because we don't have enough electricity," she said.

Porras-Tang said that despite the shortage of certain resources, "our teachers and students always find a way to do things without — but it would be nice to have a fairy godmother to grant us a hundred wishes."

• Special projects and events: "Kalani High does a lot of community service," said Porras-Tang.

She said annual student activities projects include a Halloween haunted house and an Easter egg hunt for children in the community, where students prepare more than 10,000 plastic eggs filled with goodies.

Kalani students also work with the Make a Wish Foundation and Meals on Wheels program, she said.

• • •

Kalani High School at a glance

Where: 4680 Kalaniana'ole Highway, East Honolulu

Phone: 377-7744

Web address: kalanihs.k12.hi.us

Principal: Randiann Porras-Tang, 10 years

School nickname: Falcons

School colors: Red and white

Enrollment: 1,066

SATs: Here's how Kalani High students fared on the most recent Stanford Achievement Test. Listed is the combined percentage of students scoring average and above average, compared with the national combined average of 77 percent. Tenth-grade reading, 89 percent; math, 94 percent.

History: Kalani High School was founded in 1958 and originally served all of East O'ahu before Kaiser High School opened in the early '70s.

Special programs or classes: Kalani is home to one of the first high school marching bands in Hawai'i and is also one of the few public high schools to provide a German language class. Kalani also has an A-Plus certification class in which students become nationally certified to fix personal computers.

Computers: There is at least one computer in every classroom. The school library also provides about 15 computers for student use.

To get your school profiled, call education editor Dan Woods at 525-5441 or reach him by e-mail at dwoods@honoluluadvertiser.com