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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, June 29, 2006

Keone'ula Elementary: place for 'regal children'

By Beverly Creamer
Advertiser Education Writer

A name that hearkens back to an earlier era in 'Ewa Beach and evokes "regal children that are the core of this community" has been bestowed on the new school in 'Ewa Beach that sits next to the Ocean Pointe subdivision.

The name is Keone'ula Elementary literally "the red sand," with red being a color associated with royalty.

The red sand, which was once common in the area and used to create 'alaea salt, represents the children who will attend the school for generations to come, Schools Superintendent Pat Hamamoto said in a memo to a Board of Education committee that voted yesterday in favor of the new name. The name is subject to approval by the full board at its next meeting.

"They are the salt of the earth," she wrote of the children. "Also, red was a sacred color for the ali'i and it also depicts 'aloha.' "

Suggestions for names came from the community, said Eileen Hirota, who will be principal of the new school which officially opens at the new site in January.

However, classes will be held at 'Ewa Beach Elementary beginning with the new school year in July. Already 350 students are registered, with the expectation that 100 more will join them before school begins, said Hirota.

While the earth that sits under the new school is now made of white coral, not red, salty soil, a kupuna from Iroquois Point Elementary School told the committee about early days on the 'Ewa plain when the area was marshy and people traveled from area to area in small boats.

"Tutu Arline Eaton said, 'I prayed. ... I wanted to know what was the best name and Keone'ula came,' " said Hirota.

At the same meeting, the committee voted to change the name of Moloka'i Intermediate School to Moloka'i Middle School. That also must be approved by the full board.

Reach Beverly Creamer at bcreamer@honoluluadvertiser.com.