HONOLULU – A petition signed by thousands of people, Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians, was delivered to Kamehameha Schools trustees Thursday.
That petition calls for changes to the school's admission policy.
Thursday afternoon a contingent of about 24 people, mostly from Maui, met with the trustees.
The petition is about the admission of the first non-Hawaiian to Kamehameha's Maui campus.
Organizers said the petition represents the voice of the community including those who have not been among the chosen few to attend Kamehameha Schools.
"They put me on a waiting list and I tried again, but they didn't chose me yet," Maui third-grader Gregory Juan said.
Sydney Gambio will be among those attending the Maui campus with the school's first non-Hawaiian student.
"It's not right. It's not what Bernice Pauahi Bishop wanted. She wanted the schools to protect and preserve the Hawaiian culture," Gambio said.
The tone of the hour-long exchange reflected the communities pain but also the desire to reconcile that hurt.
"As keepers of this trust, we believe you can fix this admission policy to better reflect the intent of Princess Pauahi," petition organizer Maile Jachowski said.
"We have gone out and planned a thorough process and started a review of the criteria that has hurt so many people," Kamehameha Schools Board Chairman Douglas Ing said.
A long-standing criticism has been the school is "elitist." There were calls again Thursday to admit children based on their potential and not strictly on their accomplishments, grades and ability to take tests well.
The school expects to make some interim changes for the new admissions period, which begins next month.