LAHAINA - Newly appointed Vice Principal Keola Rogat is a young man that truly represents the deep, rich culture of Lahainaluna High School and, in the fuller view, the West Side community at large.
Rogat was raised in Upcountry Maui but spent his high school years at Lahainaluna as a boarding student, graduating with the Class of 1994.
He went off to college on the Mainland, attending Northern Colorado University and San Jose State University, where he earned a Bachelor's Degree in Social Psychology.
Rogat returned to his island home and furthered his professional resume with Masters Degrees in Secondary Education and Education Administration from the University of Phoenix and the University of Hawaii at Manoa, respectively.
In 2002, Rogat signed on as a substitute teacher at his alma mater and earned a State of Hawaii teaching credential along the way.
Soon thereafter, he moved into the leadership position of the vocational department at Lahainaluna as the career technical education director while also coaching track and field and basketball for the Lunas.
When Principal Michael Nakano retired in September of 2010, Rogat moved into the administration office on campus as a temporary vice principal alongside Lynn Kaho'ohalahala and Joanne Dennis.
"Lynn Kaho'ohalahala moved over to Princess Nahienaena Elementary as the principal there, and I stayed on as a vice principal here at Lahainaluna," Rogat explained from his campus office last week.
"It is officially still a temporary assignment, and I am working on the certification."
So the stars are lining up quite nicely for this "Luna for Life," as he solidifies his position in this most noble of professional pathways to pay forward the educational maturation process presented to him.
"As a former boarder, I am very comfortable here. I love this school, and it will always be close to my heart," he said.
By helping the students on a daily basis, Rogat feels a sincere and profound personal fulfillment.
"It is always something new and exciting," he said. "I'm always running around campus."
Aside from the day-to-day assignments and responsibilities of his position, Rogat said that working to continue the Lahainaluna Boarding Department is high on his list of priorities.
"Representatives from the state government - including Roz Baker from the Senate - came over recently and were given an overview of the Boarding Department. She (Baker) is a strong advocate and supporter of Lahainaluna and the boarding program, and I think we'll get some very positive results from this visit. The State Senate representatives were really impressed with the newer projects at the athletic field and the cafeteria," he said.
"I am so impressed with the community and alumni support here at Lahainaluna. It is beautiful to see the tradition continue," Rogat concluded.