Legacy of a Princess
Kamehameha Schoolsʻ mission is to fulfill Pauahi's desire to create educational opportunities in perpetuity to improve the capability and well-being of people of Hawaiian ancestry.
Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop was the great-granddaughter and last direct royal descendant of Kamehameha I. During her lifetime, she witnessed a rapid decline of the Hawaiian population. With that decline came a loss of Hawaiian language, religion, customs and most of all…spirit.
Despite the dire condition of her homeland and its people, the princess envisioned a brighter future for Hawaiians. With the support of her husband Charles Reed Bishop, Princess Pauahi articulated her vision in her last will and testament. She placed more than 375,000 acres of inherited Kamehameha lands in a perpetual endowment with one purpose: to create schools to improve the capability and well-being of Hawaiians.
In 1887, three years after her death, Princess Pauahi’s vision became reality with the opening of the Kamehameha School for Boys. Seven years later, the Kamehameha Schools for Girls was established. In the years that followed, students acquired the skills and knowledge necessary to weather the changes brought about by western civilization, helping Hawaiians find their place in the new society.
Today, Kamehameha Schools is the largest private landowner in the state of Hawai‘i. Income generated from its residential, commercial and resort leases, as well as diverse investments fund the schools’ educational programs and services.
Kamehameha Schools currently operates K-12 campuses on O‘ahu, Maui and Hawai‘i Island with a total enrollment of 5,400 keiki. It also operates 31 preschool sites enrolling 1,500 keiki. KS subsidizes a significant portion of the cost to educate each of its students. Although a modest annual tuition is charged, nearly 60 percent of preschool and K-12 families qualify for need-based financial aid.
In addition to its preschool and K-12 programs, KS also serves thousands of additional learners by providing educational opportunities through summer enrichment programs, community education programs, financial aid and post-high scholarships.
Christian and Native Hawaiian cultural values and practices and service learning are integral to KS programs both on campus and in the community. It is the policy of Kamehameha Schools to give preference to applicants of Hawaiian ancestry to the extent permitted by law.