Island School graduates 25 seniors

  • Ryan Collins / The Garden Island

    Connor Darnbrough, from Emma Harris, Izzy Ancharski and Pierce Bivens pose for a photo prior to the Island School commencement ceremony Saturday. The four were part of a graduating class of 25 students.

  • Ryan Collins / The Garden Island

    Ben Griep, from left, Luke Reynolds, Henry Scherer, Alexander Rovinsky and Ezra Washburn pose for a photo prior to their Island School graduation commencement ceremony Saturday at the Puhi campus.

  • Ryan Collins / The Garden Island

    Students from Island School take a stand during the opening part of their graduation ceremony Saturday night on the Puhi campus.

PUHI — Exactly 25 seniors strolled across the stage Saturday night at Island School during the annual commencement ceremony, earning their high school diplomas and, most importantly, ending one chapter of their young lives and beginning another. Of the 25 graduates at the private school, 24 will be attending either a private or public university this coming fall.

“I’m going to school at Cal Poly,” Isabella Ancharski said. “It feels like butterflies. I’m excited, but I’m also sad. I’m not really worried about much, just leaving my friends and family at home.”

Others shared Ancharski’s excitement on the prospect of leaving home to head for the greener pastures of the college campus.

“I’m going to UH Manoa next year,” Luke Reynolds said. “Honestly, it is going to be weird. It’s going to be a lot to deal with living on your own, making your own decisions. It was quite a journey. I don’t think I would change a thing.”

California is a popular destination for many of the seniors.

“A sense of independence for sure. I’m going to college in San Fransisco,” said Alexander Rovinsky. “It’s a way-different environment.”

Rovinsky said he intentionally chose the California school to be far enough away from home to have a new sense of things, but close enough to home to not get homesick.

The 2019 Island School seniors received 114 acceptance letters to 73 different schools across the country. Of the senior class, 36 percent will be attending private institutions in the fall, with the other 64 percent set to attend public institutions. Student majors will range from biomedical engineering, industrial design, animal sciences, film, political science, and business.

Class members will head to Oahu, Hilo, California, Washington, Oregon, Missouri, Wisconsin, Michigan, West Virginia, Maryland, Florida and Connecticut. This senior class, over the course of four years, was able to complete 3,102 hours of public service.

“If you were to flash back to about four years ago, you would see a young, 13-year-old, brace-face, relatively awkward girl graduating from the eighth grade,” Ancharski said in a graduation speech to her peers, friends and family.

“I had attended St. Catherine from kindergarten, and if I’m being honest, when I finished eighth grade knowing I had to be to high school, I was terrified. It scared me to know that I had to change schools, and when my parents told me I would be attending Island School, the school where I hardly knew anyone, it frightened me even more.”

Ancharski said that she wanted to attend Kapaa High School instead because that was where the majority of her middle-school friends were going.

“However, over the past four years, I have learned so, so much. I guess you could say that I made a few friends along the way,” she added. “As happy as I am to be graduating and to be turning a new chapter to my life, there are a few everyday things that I am going to miss from my old school.”

The senior gave several tearful memories of her peers before leaving the stage to thunderous applause.


Ryan Collins, county reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or

  1. Charlie Chimknee May 26, 2019 7:07 am Reply

    Aloha Kaua’i Graduates,

    Off to College…?

    No matter where you go, and you feel lost or alone in the world, just find a River, they all run to the Sea…and all waters of all the Seas all lead to Kaua’i.

    Thank God for that…!


    And if at first you don’t see a clear path to your first dream(s) don’t hesitate to move onto a newer bigger better more rewarding in life career or future.

    It’s OK to have a lousy or low interest or low pay job when you are young, use it as encouragement to get a better career or job as you get older, just don’t wait too long to make your next move.

    Best to your future, be proud you are from Kaua’i…!

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