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Happy 20th Birthday VSAS!

The Volcano School of Arts & Sciences Celebrates 20th Anniversary

The Volcano School of Arts & Sciences opened 20 years ago with students sitting on carpet squares, using clipboards instead of desks and eating lunch in shifts in the carport of a rented house. Now, the school has blossomed into a school with two campuses, over forty staff members, more than 260 students and hundreds of alumni around the world. This January, the Volcano School of Arts & Sciences (“Volcano School”) will celebrate its 20th birthday!

Xanthe Serafin, one of the founders of Volcano School who still teaches at the school today said that a team of parents and community members met weekly for almost three years to create the school’s implementation plan. On January 11, 2001, Volcano School’s charter was finally approved at a Board of Education meeting. “We all jumped up and down and hugged each other. And then, the real hard work began!” laughed Serafin.

Volcano School opened its doors to students in September 2001. Star Carlin, one of the school’s original teachers, remembers the feeling of creating everything from scratch. At first, the school only served students from Kindergarten through Sixth Grade. The original location of Volcano School was a rented park employee housing inside the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park.

Volcano School then moved to its current location on Old Volcano Road in Volcano Village. It expanded to offer two more Middle School grades, and eventually moved its Middle School to the Keakealani Campus on Haunani Road. In recent years, Volcano School has added a community-based option, “Kula ‘Amakihi,” led by another teacher-founder, Lisa Barnard. In alignment with its mission and vision, Volcano School became a Hawaiian-Focused Charter School in 2016. In 2020-2021, a high school with grades nine and ten were added. “Even though the school has gotten much bigger, we have kept the sense of ‘ohana intact,” reflects Carlin. “Having the opportunity to be part of creating a school has indeed been a most excellent adventure.”

Happy 20th birthday, Volcano School! ~Erica Jensen

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