Late senator a legendary military, Hawaii
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Officials and guests decided to “go for broke” in celebrating the renaming and renovation of Daniel K. Inouye Elementary School, Monday.
The school, previously named Hale Kula Elementary, started the current school year under the new name in honor of the late senator and World War II veteran.
Staff and students also commemorated the completion of $33.2 million worth of construction projects for the school.
Several Army leaders thanked the school’s staff for their dedication, including Maj. Gen. Christopher Cavoli, senior commander, U.S. Hawaii Army.
“Thank you for making this school a living legacy of growing our next generation of citizens and leaders,” he said. “Today’s ceremony marks not only the school’s renaming, but a recognition of the investment our community has put into our children’s futures for years to come.”
The school opened in 1959 and was identified as one of the top 10 schools that were prioritized for needing renovations from a Department of Defense facilities assessment in 2011. The upgrades included a new classroom building, a student support center, an indoor play court and library/media center.
“We didn’t have a covered play court before, and we now have another option for our physical education classes, as well as a place where the whole school can gather for school-wide activities or assemblies,” said Jan Iwase, principal of the elementary school.
The principal said the new library is also much bigger. The new area also includes a dedicated place for students and teachers to collaborate.
Iwase said the additional space allows the school to host a Markerspace, which features both high and low tech tools to encourage students in problem solving.
Parents and students have been able to track the progress of construction at the school through a blog that Iwase has been updating since construction started in 2013.
Federal and state funding
The construction projects were supported using federal and state funds. The Hawaii Department of Education was able to fund 20 percent of the total costs, qualifying the school for $26.5 million worth of federal funding.
Jennifer Sabas, director of the Daniel K. Inouye Institute, said the late senator was also instrumental in getting the congressional budget to approve portions of federal DoD funds into military-impacted schools.
A total of 99 percent of the school’s students are children of service members, and student enrollment was approximately 920 students in 2015, according to the school’s website.
While serving in the Senate, Inouye encouraged military and civilian partnerships for improving the quality of education. In 1998, he was one of the founders of the Joint Venture Education Forum, which helps direct funds and resources from the DoD to the HI DoE.
Soldier Inouye legacy
Inouye served under the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, which was composed of exclusively Japanese-American Soldiers during World War II. It’s now a reserve unit headquartered at Fort Shafter.
The unit’s famous motto is “Go For Broke” or to risk everything in an all-out effort. It was originally part of Schofield Barracks.
Among the civilian guests at the ceremony were Sabas, who represented the institute; U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono; Kathryn Matayoshi, superintendent for the HI DOE; and Ken Inouye, son of the late senator.
The institute presented a gift in celebration of the renaming.
“Our gift to the school is a display cabinet sharing the historical information about Sen. Inouye,” said Sabas. “Inside the cabinet, you can see video, a host of memorabilia and the senator’s Purple Heart. This lets children and all of the school visitors see a little history about him, his connection to them and how he began his military career right at Schofield Barracks.”
Sabas and Iwase said the late senator was a passionate advocate for education.
“I had the opportunity to meet the senator on different occasions, and he was definitely someone who made an impression on those who met him,” Iwase said. “We are honored to have our school named after someone who had such a positive impact on our state and our nation. We will ensure that the legacy of Daniel K. Inouye is shared with our students now and in the future.”