2015 Back to School: Campbell High School welcomes high number of incoming freshmen

Campbell High School welcomes high number of incoming freshmen

By Kristine Uyeno
Published: July 29, 2015, 11:13 pm
Updated: July 29, 2015, 11:45 pm

Many public school students headed back to class on Wednesday.

At the state’s largest high school, the incoming class of freshmen is larger than some schools’ entire student body.

Campbell High School in Ewa Beach welcomed 833 freshmen at a back-to-school assembly on Wednesday.

KHON2 wanted to know how the school is handling such a large student body and if education officials are looking for solutions.

Guidance teacher Justin Delos Reyes told us he has had 52 students in one class.

“It’s very difficult. I can turn around and help one student and all hell will break loose behind me,” he said.

That requires creativity from Delos Reyes. “Sometimes I would partner students that were at higher level with lower-level students so they could help me with instruction,” he said.

Delos Reyes doesn’t always have enough computers for students, so sometimes they need to take turns. He doesn’t always have enough seats either, so that means taking chairs from other classes or even other campuses.

There are other strategies that teachers are using.

“Project-based learning is something that’s been fantastic for us, making sure the students are invested and interested in what they’re learning,” said Campbell High School principal Jon Henry Lee.

More than 3,000 students are enrolled at Campbell High School and school officials expect that number to grow since they say developers continue to build in this area.

KHON2 wanted to know what is being done to help alleviate some of these crowded schools.

“Currently for Campbell High School, we have done studies for the campus and we have two locations that are viable to build a building on,” said Heidi Armstrong, who serves as the complex area superintendent.

KHON2 found out there was money in the Department of Education’s budget for a new, three-story building at Campbell which would cost at least $30 million, but Armstrong said the state Legislature did not fund it.

“So while we can plan and design all we want, we can’t actually do any building until we get the money,” said Armstrong.

“We need to increase funding for our schools. We need to give our keiki the schools they deserve,” said Corey Rosenlee, president of the Hawaii State Teachers Association.

School officials say a new building would alleviate the crowded campus. In the meantime, they continue the best they can.

“Despite our size of our student body, we’ve excelled in numerous areas, whether it’s been athletics or academics,” said Lee.