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Lanai High gets own bus thanks to Maui-based donation

LANAI CITY, Hawaii >> Lanai High and Elementary School has its own bus for the first time in school history.

Hana High and Elementary School donated the bus, which arrived earlier this month, the Maui News reported. The school will use it for the first time when Hana’s basketball teams visit.

“We’re not going to change the ‘Hana’ paint right away,” said Lanai Principal Elton Kinoshita. “We will leave it up for a little while.”

He added: “The fact that our sister school would help us like this is amazing.”

In the past, the school rented vehicles from Dollar Rental Car to take sports teams to the Lanai ferry for off-island games and to bring visiting teams to the school.

But Dollar closed its doors on the island in November, triggering what some called a “mini-crisis” for student athletes.

Kinoshita turned for help to Lanai City resident and former University of Hawaii at Manoa pitching coach Coop DeRenne, a longtime coach who has deep roots in Hawaii baseball. He called his contacts on Maui and Oahu.

When DeRenne called Robert Joseph Jr., Maui District Schools transportation officer, Joseph recommended asking Hana because both are Maui Interscholastic League Division II schools, and he thought Hana might have additional buses due to a grant.

Hana’s Athletic Director Devon E. Carroll and Director of Transportation Wailani Nakooka found a couple of buses that were out of daily rotation for student and school transport and were used for field trips and athletic travel.

A bus was donated to Lanai.

“This helps our entire league out, and we want to see camaraderie in our division continue,” Carroll said.

The 5-year-old bus, which seats 14 to 16 people, arrived Jan. 2 on Lanai.

Its estimated value is $30,000 to $35,000, according to DeRenne. Lanai mechanics said the bus will last for a while.

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