Luau and more celebrate Maui High’s 100 years

Luau and more celebrate Maui High’s 100 years

Graduates include the late U.S. Rep. Patsy Mink and a couple of mayors

By Gary T. Kubota

The high school that educated a congresswoman, a state lawmaker who served as House speaker, and the current Maui mayor is celebrating its 100th anniversary this weekend.

When Maui High School opened in 1913, it was considered progressive for its time, educating students of all ethnicities and both young men and women.

The late Hawaii Congresswoman Patsy Mink, co-author of Title IX legislation that helped establish equal opportunity for women in sports, was elected class president in 1944, laying the foundation for her political life.

“Her life was dedicated to public service and she encouraged others to do the same,” said Barbara Long, a board member of Friends of the Old Maui High.

Long said the centennial celebration through Sunday will take place at the old Maui High School at Hamakuapoko, with a luau and football game today.

The school moved to its Kahului location in 1972.

Elmer Cravalho, a former state House speaker and former Maui mayor, recalled catching the bus for an hourlong ride to Maui High at the old Hamakuapoko campus and finding part-time work as a janitor while he was a student.

“It was quite an educational experience,” Cravalho said.

Cravalho recalled that when he growing up during in the plantation era, area residents sometimes earned wages of 25 cents a hour and bought goods at the store controlled by the plantation. “You were forever in poverty,” he said.

In 1954, Cravalho was elected to the Territorial House and was among Democrats who took political control of the Legislature, eventually becoming House speaker. He served as Maui mayor from 1969 to 1979.

Mayor Alan Arakawa, who graduated from the old Maui High in 1969, said some of the courses offered back them, such as welding, were very practical and helped him in his work on the family farm. He added that lessons in speech and writing helped prepare him for public office.

“A lot of what I learned I’m using today,” he said.

Long said Friends of the Old Maui High is continuing to raise funds to restore the campus. Donations may be mailed to P.O. Box 792165; Paia, HI 96779. Call 808-579-9287 for information.