LAHAINA – Lahainaluna High School is embarking on a new journey starting with the class of 2026.
LHS will be the first high school in Maui to have an early college degree research program. Students will be able to earn their high school diploma and university associate degree when they graduate from Lahainaluna High School.
Modeled on and a member of the Waipahu High School Early College 3.0 consortium, Lahainaluna will be the first high school in Maui to offer a college degree research program in collaboration with the University of Hawaii Maui College.
Students in this program will also be able to take classes at Leeward Community College and UH West Oahu with other students from the Waipahu Early College 3.0 Consortium.
Kristy Arakawa, the new coordinator of Early College in Lahainaluna, said, “This is such an incredible opportunity for the students of Lahaina, and it was Principal Jeri Dean’s vision that set the wheels in motion.
“While this has been a dream for the past four years, it wasn’t until the Senior Dean took a small group of educators from Lahainaluna to Waipahu High School in March of this year to see innovative programs like their Early College Program, Career & Technical Educational Academies and Certification Programs for Seniors. A movement that has taken Lahainaluna from a school steeped in tradition to a school leading the charge to ensure that Lahaina students explore higher education (receive college).
The Early College Non-Degree Seeking program will also be available. Students who join this program will not earn enough credits to earn an associate’s degree, but they may still have some college credits under their belt when they graduate from high school.
They may be able to shorten the time they spend in college, which significantly reduces loan debt.
According to Arakawa, “The most amazing part about the new Early College programs is that ALL of the college courses students will take are FREE for students at Lahainaluna High School. State grants and community donations will also help pay for textbooks and online fees. “
These Early College courses will be taught by college teachers, not high school teachers. The courses will have the same rhythm and the same rigor as a normal college course on a college campus.
Time management and self-discipline are very important traits that all students must learn to master.
Students are required to attend their college courses; if they play sports or have a part-time job, realistically they might not be able to take these Early College courses.
Early college students will be treated like normal students and are governed by the college and high school rules of conduct regardless of their age.
The college will not be able to communicate with parents or send progress reports when students are having difficulty just like a normal student.
Some college courses can be taught on the Lahainaluna campus, but the majority will be taught virtually after the normal high school day.
A preliminary list of Lahaina Intermediate has been collected for students interested in the early college degree research program; email Miss Kristy or Ms. Ilima if you would like to be added to this list.
Enrollment and enrollment in Early College will begin when students register for their classes in Lahainaluna in December and January.