After a night of high and dangerous winds, Sacred Hearts School’s Principal Tonata Lolesio canceled school early the morning of August 8th. The school year started a week earlier, on August 1st. After checking in on the school, Tonato learned that a utility post had collapsed and was blocking Waine’e Street. The campus had sustained severe damage from the wind storm. A massive, oversized tree on the playground had been uprooted, and the roof of the 7th-grade class had blown off, as well as some solar panels. There was also no power throughout the west side of Maui due to power lines that had fallen from the winds.
Later that morning, Tonata reached out to faculty and staff with a letter she had thoughtfully written with images of the damaged campus. The plan was to close the school temporarily for a few days as staff and volunteers with carpentry skills cleaned up and repaired the damage caused by the storm. Part of Tonata’s letter read, “Sacred Hearts School has overcome many obstacles and challenges in its 160 years serving our West Maui community. We can make a difference through our combined efforts. Thank you in advance for your support and prayers.”
Later that day, a massive fire consumed the town of Lāhainā, including the school.
Turning those words from that letter into action, Tonata Lolesio and her staff immediately got to work to find temporary land and return children to classrooms. For now, the campus will be at the Sacred Hearts Mission Church. Classes re-started on Monday, August 28th, and with each day comes more progress. The community has contributed everything from a lunch program to supplies, storage, technology, and more to bring the students back together.
Sacred Hearts has taken in many kids from its Religious Education Program and the public school community. Getting the school running successfully will take a lot of fundraising efforts. Consider donating to the Sacred Hearts School Fire Recovery Fund. Money raised will help relocate and rebuild the school, sponsor tuition, and help with operational costs. Donations can be made on their website at www.shsmaui.org/giving, or checks can be made to the Hawaii Catholic Foundation. In the memo area, you must note: Sacred Hearts School Relief Fund and mail it to P.O. Box 1450, Kihei, HI, 96753.
Applications for Kindergarten through 12th grade are still being accepted at www.shsmaui.org.