The Legacy of a princess

Kamehameha Schools was founded by the will of Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the great-granddaughter of Kamehameha the Great.

Pauahi Legacy
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One of the traditional Founder’s Day ceremonies takes place at Mauna ‘Ala, Ke Ali‘i Pauahi’s final resting place.
Beneficiaries of Ke Ali‘i Pauahi’s legacy reflect at Founder’s Day

As Dr. Scott Parker took some time to address a large group of 2010 and ’19 graduates from Kamehameha Schools Maui just moments after they all returned to campus for the annual Founder’s Day ceremony, the po‘o kula’s message was one that resonated for anyone fortunate enough to have benefitted from Ke Ali‘i Bernice Pauahi Bishop’s generosity.

“On this day of all days, I hope in one way, shape or form that you reflect on the ways that Pauahi has touched your lives,” said Dr. Parker. “It’s important to remember the impact she will have for many generations to come. This campus is your home, and you’re always welcome to come back. We hope to see you do amazing things, now and in the future.”

KS staffers, students, alumni and community members across the state honored the life and legacy of Ke Aliʻi Bernice Pauahi Bishop with song, worship and dance at a series of Founder’s Day celebrations.

“This is one of the most important things we do as trustees, and we all come back energized and inspired,” said KS Chairman of the Board of Trustees Lance Wilhelm, a 1983 Kamehameha Schools graduate. “You all come here (to honor our founder) because you have aloha in your heart, and share that with Pauahi.”

Most Founder’s Day events took place on December 19 – Pauahi’s birthday. In addition to the ceremonies held at KS’ three campuses – Hawai‘i Island, Kapālama and Maui – beneficiaries of the organization’s founder including alumni, staff, current students and their ‘ohana showed appreciation for the opportunities made possible by Ke Ali‘i Pauahi’s lasting commitment to Native Hawaiians.

“I learned to appreciate the fragility of humanity, which connects us,” said Mason Chock, a 1989 KS Kapālama graduate and current Kaua‘i County Council Member during his keynote address at the Kaua‘i Community Founder’s Day event on December 20. “When I think about how Kamehameha has evolved to address the way our people have evolved, it makes me proud.

“Thanks to Pauahi and her legacy, our alumni are in every corner of the world and, like our ancestors, our voice is the voice of the world. I know our beloved Pauahi would be proud of who we’ve become.”

Kamehameha Schools was established in 1887 by the will of the princess to improve the capability and well-being of Hawaiians through education.

“As I watched the seniors walk in to celebrate their last Founder’s Day, two thoughts came to mind,” said Keikilani Meyer, librarian at KS Hawai‘i. “This moment is why we do what we do. Our haumāna give me hope for the future of our lāhui – Ke Aliʻi Pauahi lives on in our haumāna.”

To relive additional Founder’s Day memories from ceremonies held across Hawai‘i, view the photo gallery.

Related Photo Galleries

December 20, 2019

Founder’s Day 2019

Kamehameha Schools staffers, students, alumni and community members across the state honored the life and legacy of Ke Aliʻi Bernice Pauahi Bishop with song, worship and dance at Founder’s Day celebrations statewide.


Tags: ʻōiwi leaders, alumni success, native hawaiian identity, founder's day