First U.S. Buddhist high school to open in Nuuanu

Posted: Friday, February 28, 2003

HONOLULU (AP) -- The nation's first Buddhist high school is set to open in Hawaii this August with a teaching focus on peace.

Pacific Buddhist Academy in Nuuanu will include instruction on conflict resolution and communication and will spotlight the values of harmony, interdependence and community service, school officials said.

''We're going to go beyond developing happy, successful students,'' said Pieper Toyama, the head of the school. ''We're going to develop happy, successful students who make peace.''

The school will be part of a campus that already includes the Hongwanji Mission School, which educates 300 students in preschool through eighth grade, and the Buddhist Study Center for college students and adults.

Pacific Buddhist will open its doors to 30 ninth-graders on Aug. 20. A new grade will be added each year, and school officials hope to eventually enroll 250 students.

Toyama said he wants to attract a mix of students to the school, where tuition will be $7,000 per school year.

''The school seeks individuals with diverse backgrounds who at the same time are willing to embrace the concept of the oneness of all human beings.''

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