Kamehameha Schools Kapālama

History and culture

Mō‘aukala & mo‘omeheu

Our History

Kamehameha Schools was endowed by the will of Ke Aliʻi Bernice Pauahi Bishop (1831-1884), the great-granddaughter and last direct descendant of King Kamehameha I. During her lifetime, Pauahi witnessed the rapid decline of the Hawaiian population. Despite the dire condition of her homeland and its people, the princess envisioned a brighter future for all Hawaiians. With the support of her husband Charles Reed Bishop, Ke Ali’i Pauahi articulated her vision in her last will and testament. She placed more than 375,000 acres of ancestral lands in a perpetual endowment with the intent of improving the capability and well-being of Native Hawaiian children through education. In 1887, three years after her death, Ke Ali’i Pauahi’s vision became a reality with the opening of the Kamehameha School for Boys. Seven years later, the Kamehameha Schools for Girls was established.

Today, Ke Aliʻi Pauahi’s endowment supports an educational system that serves nearly 7,000 learners across three K-12 campuses and 30 preschool sites statewide. The Kapālama High School enrolls 1,800 students annually from grades 9 through 12. Roughly 330 students from grades 9-12, primarily from the neighbor islands, reside on campus as part of our boarding program.

Our Culture

Christian and Native Hawaiian cultural values and practices, as well as service learning, are integral to our programs both on campus and in our community. The culture of our academic program prepares students for college, career and life by offering a diverse curriculum designed to nurture and cultivate haumāna to become global-minded servant leaders and successful lifelong learners.