Hualalai Academy students, parents, faculty and administrators recently hosted members of the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce for an AfterHours event in the school’s Bridge Building. More than 80 members of the business community participated in the event, taking tours of the school guided by fourth- and fifth-graders and spoke with the school’s advocates.
John Colson, who as headmaster of Hawaii Preparatory Academy helped establish Hualalai Academy in 1996, told the audience the school’s goal is to provide its students with as many skills as possible to prepare them to be citizens of the 21st century.
Hualalai Academy is one of 20 schools in the state and the only one on Hawaii Island designated as a 21st Century Learning School. “We are preparing students to be effective in a world that doesn’t yet exist,” Colson said, adding students need proficiency in digital, visual, informational and textual literacy in order to compete in the ever-changing world of technology. As Colson put it, “shift happens,” and his job is to see that students are ready. To illustrate this, Colson shared that in 2010 the top 10 “in demand” jobs did not exist in 2004.
Hualalai’s kindergarten to 12th-grade student population will be enlarged in 2014 by the addition of a junior kindergarten program. Tours of the campus showcased the elementary, middle and high school campuses, as well as a 2-acre playing field and extensive school gardens.