The Wailuku is the longest river in Hilo (twenty-six miles.) Its course runs from the mountains to the ocean along the divide between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa.
Waiānuenue Avenue (rainbow (seen in) water) is named for the most famous waterfall, Ka Wailele ʻO Waiānuenue, Rainbow Falls on the Wailuku River.
For a while, other than church-related schools, if a Big Island youngster wanted to pursue his education beyond the eighth grade, he had to travel to O‘ahu. There he would board and go to school. (HHS)
Then, “One of the largest gatherings that ever attended a mass meeting in Hilo was present at Fireman’s Hall Thursday night to express to Superintendent of Public Instruction WH Babbitt their views regarding a high school site and other school matters.”
“The atmosphere of the hall was fairly charged with incipient trouble, which later broke into a storm of words and bitterness.”
“Chairman Mason called for expressions of opinion upon the subject under discussion. There was a dead silence for an interval, when LA Andrews started the ball rolling, by stating there were two things upon which there was a unanimity of sentiment in Hilo.”
“The first was the necessity for a high school in Hilo and the second the selection of the Riverside lot as the high school site. TJ Ryan offered a resolution, which passed without opposition …”
“… stating that it was the sense of the meeting that the high school should be erected on the Riverside lot.” (Hilo Tribune, December 12, 1905)
“After considering the various sites suggested, the committee practically determined on the lot on which now stands the Riverside School.”
“The present lot is not quite large enough to accommodate both the Riverside and the High Schools, which latter will be a nine-room building, and if a portion of the hospital grounds can be secured, the mauka portion of the Riverside lot will be used for High School purposes. (Hilo Tribune, June 29, 1905)
School authorities hesitated but finally agreed to start a high school at Hilo Union School in September, 1905; 25 ninth-grade students attended high school at Hilo Union School.
In 1907, the school moved to the Riverside School. It was then called Hilo Junior High School. By the time the first class graduated in 1909, only 7 of the original 25 were left.
Hilo High’s first graduating class consisted of seven students in 1909: Richard Kekoa, Amy Williams, Eliza Desha, Frank Arakawa, John Kennedy, Annie Napier and Herbert Westerbelt. (Mangiboyat)
With limitations for space, in 1911, “(t)he bandstand at Moʻoheau Park has been converted into a schoolroom by the county fathers, on account of the fact that the accommodations at the Riverside School are inadequate and the County has no funds at present with which to build an addition.” (Hawaiian Star, February 27, 1911)
“This class formerly occupied the basement of the Riverside building and it was so damp in the present weather that it was thought best to make the change.” (Hawaiian Star, February 27, 1911)
Finally in 1922, Hilo Junior High School moved up Waianuenue Avenue and renamed to the permanent and present Hilo High Campus. As years passed, the campus flourished with more buildings, students and educational experience. (Mangiboyat)
Hilo High Auditorium was built in 1928. It was donated to the school by the Alumni Association. It was designed by a former student (and part of the first graduates) of Hilo High School, Frank Arakawa.
Riverside got its school site. In the early 1920s, American-born parents called for the development of separate education for their children.
Consequently, the development of “English Standard” schools, sometimes called “Select Schools” since a level of proficiency in English language was required.
While most of the people who attended the schools were of American-born parents, anyone with the ability to speak proper English was allowed to attend. 1925 marked the beginning of segregating students by ability to speak and write English.
In 1927, a Parent-Teacher group in Hilo petitioned the legislature for funds to construct a new English Standard school which had an attendance of 169 children sharing facilities with Hilo Union School.
Just before its opening in 1929, the Hilo Tribune Herald reported: “It is a one-story frame building with Spanish type arched porches and when complete will be one of the most attractive school buildings on the island.”
By 1948, English Standard sections in various schools were replacing separate schools as the next generation of immigrant children became proficient in English. In 1955, two rooms were added to the original E-shaped structure.
In 1956, the porte cochère, or covered drive-through/passenger drop-off, was constructed. A garage driveway was also added in 1956. Riverside became the Hilo District Office for the Department of Education in 1959. (HHF)