LAHAINA - He ola ka 'olelo Hawai'i (the Hawaiian Language shall live) and is thriving in Lahaina.
Kula Kaiapuna O Maui Ma Nahi'ena'ena opened its doors on the campus of Princess Nahi'ena'ena Elementary School in 2000.
Thirteen years later, the Hawaiian Language Immersion Program (HLIP) on the West Side is expanding up Lahainaluna Road to Lahaina Intermediate School in the 2014-15 school year.
"Our objective is in sight," announced Tiara Ueki, president of Na Leo Kalele, the action-oriented West Maui parent group.
Kumu Liko Rogers, HLIP kindergarten teacher, explained, "Lahainaluna High School was the original Hawaiian immersion school. To return that tradition of Hawaiian language education to Lahainaluna has been the greater goal."
Principal Lynn Kaho'ohalahala (Princess Nahi'ena'ena Elementary) and Principal Marsha Nakamura (Lahaina Intermediate School) support the advancement of the program.
With the number of students increasing, a classroom is available at LIS for sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders, Nakamura said.
The next step, Nakamura advised, is to find a qualified teacher.
A statewide search is underway for HLIP elementary and secondary school teachers in Lahaina.
Kaho'ohalahala is optimistic.
"The more students in the program, the faster the program will grow. As the program grows, the kumu will come to teach them," she said.
For more information on the open teaching positions and qualifications, call Kaho'ohalahala at 662-4020.