Troubled Teen Options

Boarding School In Hawaii

Public boarding schools for troubled teens are a rarity. But then a school founded by missionaries 172 years ago is pretty rare as well. At $465,000 per year, the state of Hawaii thinks it a worthy investment. Besides helping the islands teenagers, it carries on a long tradition and honors a revered history. “Lahainaluna — often referred to as the oldest school west of the Mississippi — was founded by missionaries Sept. 5, 1831, as a seminary to train Native Hawaiian men as teachers. The boarding program was started five years later.” Generations of children from across the islands have graduated, including many who rose to fame and fortune. After becoming part of the public school system in 1923, it now provides a haven, as well as structure, education, discipline and a strict work ethic to those troubled teens who find themselves without alternatives. “Students are eligible for the program if they otherwise would find it difficult to obtain a high school education or if they would benefit from a change in environment.


Boys and girls live in separate dorms with TV lounges, computer rooms, laundry facilities and live-in staff. The students live two to a room and share meals in the school cafeteria. The setting and atmosphere are similar to what one would find on a college campus, except for a rigorous weekday schedule that starts with a 5:45 a.m. wake-up call for an hour of chores before breakfast and regular classes with Lahainaluna’s 900-plus day students. The boarders help maintain the grounds, pick up rubbish, assist in the cafeteria and office, and work on the farm raising pigs and cultivating dry land taro, corn, butter lettuce, beans, ti and other crops.’ (source) By Ann Walker