Hmong American Peace Academy celebrates grand opening of state-of-the-art high school

NOW: Hmong American Peace Academy celebrates grand opening of state-of-the-art high school

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) helped celebrate the grand opening of a new state-of-the-art high school on Friday, Oct. 22, within the district.

The Hmong American Peace Academy (HAPA) celebrates the Hmong culture and readies students for higher education.

The 99,000 sq. ft. building officially opened in August, but the school itself has been around for nearly 20 years. Now they educate 1,800 scholars in K-12.

"Whether it is the big windows that brighten up our rooms with natural light or even the color palate of the spaces, I feel a sense of comfort and pride," said HAPA senior Susan Thao.

The artwork, and the designs, honor the journey of many Hmong refugees who fled to Thailand after the Vietnam War.

School Founder and CEO, Chris Her-Xiong, said it's a reminder of opportunity.

"The Mekong River has so much meaning to us. It's either a life or death situation, and if you're fortunate to cross the Mekong River, there's hope," said Her-Xiong.

Several local and state leaders celebrated the school's grand opening.

MPS Superintendent Dr. Keith Posley shared words and Governor Tony Evers lauded the achievement.

"No matter the context a new school is always a huge source of pride in a community because it is a symbol of fellowship and aspiration for the future," said Evers.

Her-Xiong said said HAPA had a 100% graduation and college acceptance rate last year.

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