Maui High is one of three public schools in the state to offer a day care program for students with children. But now that program is getting phased out because the school is running out of space. We get more from HPR contributing reporter Colleen Uechi.
If not for the day care program at Maui High School, 16-year-old junior Jada Apolo isn't sure she'd make it through the school year.
Apolo is a mother to a one-year-old girl. Thanks to the school's day care program, she's able to attend classes while staff look after her daughter. But with the overcrowded campus expecting 640 freshmen in the fall, some programs are facing cuts. That includes the day care and teen parents program. The teen parents program started in 1989. It teaches pregnant students and new parents how to care for their children. The day care followed in 2005. It's affordable, too – Apolo pays about $25 for the school year.
Because of the day care, Apolo has time to ask teachers for help after school. Her grades have improved, and she hopes to attend college to become a veterinarian. But if the programs don't continue, Apolo worries she might have to cut her education short to get a job. Former program director Crystal Kondo thinks some other teen moms may drop out, too. She said the programs have helped students realize that they can go on to college even after having a child. This year there are 12 students in the program.
Principal Jamie Yap says the day care has value, but with the lack of space, school officials have tough decisions to make. With almost 2,000 students, Maui High School has the highest enrollment on island. Apolo hasn't given up. She's sent letters throughout the community, hoping someone will offer space or a solution.