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Honokaʻa High students share experiences with alternative education, hopes for the future

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Honokaʻa High and Intermediate
FILE - Students at Honokaʻa High and Intermediate back in the classroom on Aug. 3, 2022.

Hawaiʻi’s public schools have been back in session for a week now and most students are starting to get settled into their routines. For students in the state’s Alternative Learning Program, they’re doing things a little differently.

The program is for young people who have faced challenges in the past and are not thriving in the traditional learning environment. It’s also an opportunity for teachers to find innovative solutions for students with unique learning styles.

The Conversation sat down with four young men from Honoka’a High School on the Big Island: seniors Kaiya Lawrence-Spencer, Justin Cootey, and Derek Gomes, and junior Ikeʻao Kapeliʻela. They talked about the role of school in their lives and their hopes for life beyond high school.

This interview aired on The Conversation on Aug. 10, 2022. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.

Russell Subiono is the executive producer of The Conversation. Born in Honolulu and raised on Hawaiʻi Island, he’s spent the last decade working in local film, television and radio. Contact him at
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