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On the eve of Lahainaluna High’s Class of 2024 graduation, Hawaiian Airlines employees who are alumni of the West Maui school today returned to the campus to congratulate more than 200 students during a commencement ceremony rehearsal by offering lei, words of encouragement and 35,000 HawaiianMiles.

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Hawaiian Airlines employees who are Lahainaluna High alumni stood ready with their lei to congratulate the Class of 2024.

 

“I’m a reflection of all those who invested a single second into my life,” Keʻvan Dudoit, a 2009 “Luna” graduate and a Hawaiian Airlines guest service chief at Kahului Airport, told students and staff gathered at the football field.

“You have been challenged mentally, emotionally and physically with the events that unfolded in August, but look at how you overcame those challenges. Your resilience and fortitude have brought you to this special time in your life: graduation. As you venture on to your new endeavor, I ask that you also keep in mind those who have positively influenced your life and that you return home to Lahaina to make a positive impact on our beloved community.”

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Hawaiian Airlines employees personally congratulated each student in Lahainaluna High's Class of 2024 with orchid lei, words of encouragement and 35,000 HawaiianMiles.

 

Established in 1831 and considered the oldest high school west of the Mississippi River, Lahainaluna, a 9-12 grade school, sits at the base of Pu‘u Pa‘upa‘u, a former volcanic cone whose hillside is marked by a large, white letter “L” symbolizing the historic campus. Below it, it is impossible to miss the tragic devastation of Lahaina town from last year’s wildfires.

The fires hit the day of Lahainaluna’s freshmen orientation, shutting the campus for several weeks, said principal Richard Carosso, who underscored how important it was for students and staff to eventually return to classes around mid-September.

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Hawaiian's employees who returned to their high school gathered on the football field to help their community and share a memorable moment with Lahaina youth.

 

“For a lot of them, when they leave the gates, they are faced with it,” he said. “When they come through the gates, the school is still standing, their friends are still their friends, classes, lunch, recess, everything is the same as before. So, when they come through the gates, they get to forget all that.

“The whole year it has been ‘take care of the kids, take care of the kids,’ but them just showing up and being positive and having good energy and persevering through these bad circumstances – we have to remember, the staff has been through the same,” Carosso continued. “The kids, being good kids, I don’t think they understood how much they have done for us.”

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Hawaiian Airlines employees joined the Lahainaluna Class of 2024 for a celebratory group shot.

 

Hawaiian gifted every Luna graduate 35,000 HawaiianMiles to support their academic travel as they head to college. Carosso said many students accepted scholarships offered by the University of Hawaiʻi at its campuses across the islands.

“It is truly overwhelming to witness the depth of emotions, gratitude and satisfaction radiating from the resilient soon-to-be graduates of Lahainaluna,” Ryan Casco, a Hawaiian Airlines flight attendant with the school's Class of 1996, reflected following the ceremony.

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Hawaiian Airlines employees from Maui and Oʻahu who helped plan the surprise gathered and celebrated alongside the new Lahainaluna High graduates.

 

“This place holds a special significance, resonating with strength and compassion that defines the essence of our community Lahaina, my home. As we observe graduates embarking on their next chapter, presenting them with this humble token serves as a heartfelt reminder of just how exceptional they are and how much they mean to us all. We couldn't be prouder to see them representing not only this unique place but also embodying the values and spirit of Lahaina that will continue to thrive during these challenging times.”  

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Hawaiian today stands ready to continue to support Maui’s ongoing recovery and encourages people and organizations willing to help to visit the Hawaiʻi Community Foundation’s Maui Strong Fund.