Princess Ruth Keʻelikōlani inherited all of the substantial landholdings of the Kamehameha dynasty from her brother, Lot Kapuāiwa; she became the largest landowner in the islands.
At her death, Keʻelikōlani’s will stated that she “give and bequeath forever to my beloved younger sister (cousin), Bernice Pauahi Bishop, all of my property, the real property and personal property from Hawaiʻi to Kauaʻi, all of said property to be hers.” (about 353,000 acres)
Bernice Pauahi was the birth daughter of Abner Pākī and his wife Laura Kōnia (Pauahi was the great-granddaughter and direct royal descendant of Kamehameha the Great.)
She was reared with her parent’s hānai child, Lydia Liliʻu Kamakaʻeha (birth daughter of High Chiefess Analeʻa Keohokālole and High Chief Caesar Kaluaiku Kapaʻakea, who later became Queen Liliʻuokalani.) The two girls developed a close, loving relationship. They attended the Chief’s Children’s School, a boarding school, together, and were known for their studious demeanor.
Pauahi’s will formed and funded the Kamehameha Schools; “Thirteenth. I give, devise and bequeath all of the rest, residue and remainder of my estate real and personal, wherever situated unto the trustees below named, their heirs and assigns forever, to hold upon the following trusts, namely: to erect and maintain in the Hawaiian Islands two schools, each for boarding and day scholars, one for boys and one for girls, to be known as, and called the Kamehameha Schools.” (KSBE)
Bernice Pauahi Bishop’s will (Clause 13) states her desire that her trustees “provide first and chiefly a good education in the common English branches, and also instruction in morals and in such useful knowledge as may tend to make good and industrious men and women”.
She directed “that the teachers of said schools shall forever be persons of the Protestant religion, but I do not intend that the choice should be restricted to persons of any particular sect of Protestants.”
On November 4, 1887, three years after her death, the Kamehameha School for Boys, originally established as an all-boys school on the grounds of the current Bishop Museum, opened with 37 students and four teachers. A year later the Preparatory Department, for boys 6 to 12 years of age, opened in adjacent facilities.
In 1894 the Kamehameha School for Girls opened on its own campus nearby. Between 1930 and 1955, all three schools moved to its present location – Kapālama Heights – less than a mile mauka of the old Bishop Museum campus. In 1965 the boy’s and girl’s campuses became co-ed and the curriculum was increasingly geared to college preparation.
Prior to 1897, Kamehameha students attended Sunday services at Kaumakapili Church, then located about a mile from campus at the corner of Nuʻuanu and King Streets. It took about 20 minutes to cover the distance on foot – with the boys wearing their heavy West Point-style uniforms designed for “long lasting quality, not comfort.”
On December 19, 1897, a new campus chapel dedication took place on the sixty-sixth anniversary of Bernice Pauahi Bishop’s birth. KS scholars, teachers, administrators and community representatives filled the whole building.
Reverend William Brewster Oleson (1851–1915), former principal of the Hilo boarding school (founded by David Belden Lyman in 1836,) helped organize the schools on a similar model.
At the first Founder’s Day ceremony in December, 1889, Charles Reed Bishop, Pauahi’s husband and a member of Kamehameha’s first Board of Trustees, elaborated on her intentions.
“Bernice Pauahi Bishop, by founding the Kamehameha Schools, intended to establish institutions which should be of lasting benefit to her country…The founder of these schools was a true Hawaiian. She knew the advantages of education and well directed industry. Industrious and skillful herself, she respected those qualities in others.” (KSBE)
“The hope that there would come a turning point, when, through enlightenment, the adoption of regular habits and Christian ways of living, the natives would not only hold their numbers, but would increase again … And so, in order that her own people might have the opportunity for fitting themselves for such competition, and be able to hold their own in a manly and friendly way, without asking any favors which they were not likely to receive, these schools were provided for, in which Hawaiians have the preference, and which she hoped they would value and take the advantages of as fully as possible.” (KSBE)
In 1996 two new campuses were established on the neighbor islands of Maui and Hawai‘i, and they now serve students in grades K-12. The three campuses enroll about 5,400 students and an additional 40,000 are served annually through community-based and scholarship programs, and collaborations with educational and community organizations.
Kamehameha subsidizes a significant portion of the cost to educate every student. Although modest tuition and fees are charged, nearly 60 percent of preschool and K-12 families qualify for and receive need-based financial aid.
In addition to three campuses, Kamehameha operates 31 preschool sites enrolling 1,500 3- and 4-year-old children statewide; and serves thousands more students through community outreach and scholarship programs, and collaborations with educational and community organizations. (Lots of info and images from KSBE.)
The image shows a pre-1900 image of the Kamehameha School for Boys, the beginning of the Kamehameha Schools system (KSBE.) In addition, I have added other images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.