Hale Kula Elementary School on Schofield Barracks in Wahiawa has been renamed to honor the late U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye.
The state Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to rename the school Daniel K. Inouye Elementary School, effective immediately.
“Senator Inouye’s commitment to Hawaii’s public schools throughout his career continues to benefit thousands of students, from securing federal resources to advocating for military families,” schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi said in a statement.
Inouye, a highly decorated World War II veteran and the second-longest-serving senator in history, died in December 2012 at age 88.
The school, built in 1959, services more than 800 students who are mostly military dependents.
Jennifer Sabas, the late senator’s longtime chief of staff and now director of the Daniel K. Inouye Institute, testified in support of the change on behalf of the family and her organization.
“The renaming of Hale Kula to the Daniel K. Inouye Elementary School would be an excellent tribute to his proud service in the U.S. Army as well as his commitment to an excellent and equitable school system for civilian and military students,” Sabas said in written testimony. She noted that Schofield was the home of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team for which Inouye volunteered during War World II.
“Our soldiers and their families would be proud to attend a school named after this great soldier and leader,” Maj. Gen. Charles Flynn, Schofield Barracks commanding general, said in written testimony.
The school is undergoing a $33 million renovation, funded by the U.S. Department of Defense and the state, to upgrade its administration building, classrooms, student center and library-media center.
“In light of all of the exciting changes going on at our school, our history and location, it is fitting that we have been given the honor to change our name,” Principal Jan Iwase said. “The feedback from the community was very positive, and we look forward to promoting our school and successes under this new name.”