[Stories by Mike Foley, originally published in Kaleo on March 9, 2000, and March 23, 2000]
It was five or six years before the first automobile, and more than a decade before the first airplane came to Hawaii that Hauula Elementary School started up in its current location. One hundred years later, the school will celebrate its centennial anniversary with a special three-day series of events from April 7-9, 2000.
The 1955-56 faculty and staff at Hauula Elementary School
(historical photos courtesy of Bette Haring; other photos by Mike Foley)
A Brief History
Hauula School, as it was first named, was founded in 1900 at its present site as part of the Territory of Hawaii’s Department of Public Instruction, Ko’olauloa School District. Written records prior to the 1919-20 school year are not available.
School year 1924-25 saw the first appointed school principal, Julia Anahu. Prior to then, there was no principal: Teachers were responsible for the administration of the school. Since then, Hauula Elementary has had at least 25 additional principals.
Under principal Jean Izu in 1992, Hauula Elementary submitted a Letter of Intent to become a School/Community Based Management (SCBM) school — one of the first in the Kahuku Complex.
Mrs. Izu retired in June 1994, and with SCBM team members participating in the selection process, Linda Shimamoto was chosen as the current principal.
Hauula was also the first public school in Windward O’ahu to adopt a modified (or “year-round”) calendar. Both of these programs received the full cooperation of the Hauula Community Association and parent support groups.
Hauula Elementary has distinguished itself in many ways over the years. For example:
• A partnership with the City Department of Recreation provides activities for its intersession periods;
• Involvement in the Polynesian Writing Grant with BYU-Hawaii;
• Pride in having a Hawaiian Immersion Program on campus;
• Having a Spelling Bee champion;
• Participation in the annual Kahuku Complex Speech Festival.
Over the past few years, Hauula’s many successes have raised the morale of teachers and have given the community reasons to take pride in its school. The successes have also been noticed statewide as school and community members have been asked to speak at various conferences.
As it enters its second century, the school continues to provide the children of Hauula with a safe, nurturing environment in which to learn and move forward with pride.
Many segments of the community are joining together from April 7-9, 2000 (April 9 is the 100th day of the year), to honor the school’s 100-year history:
Friday, April 7th:
• Assembly and/or classroom activities, 8:30-11.
• Games and field activities, 11:30-1:30.
• 100th birthday cake
• Songs: Beautiful Hauula (Hawaiian/ English), Hauula Smiles and Happy Birthday.
• Decorations – balloons, banners
• Marine Corps
Saturday, April 8th
• A program from 10-4 featuring Kela Miller as emcee, with entertainment throughout the day, Proclamations and Honorary Certificates as dignitaries arrive, and sharing fond memories.
• 10 am: Opening Remarks (Linda Shimamoto)’ students sing Beautiful Hauula;
• 11 am: Dedication of Ceramic Wall, created by Thomas Deir; unveiling of the Memorabilia Case built by James Tannehill;
• 12-3 pm: Luau;
• 3-4 pm: Finale
Sunday, April 9th
Chairman Walter Santiago will conduct an interfaith service from noon to 2 pm to bless the school, followed by a small reception. Others participating might include Rev. Raymond Kalili, Bishop Danford Hanohano and Rev. Dennis Welch.
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[From the March 23, 2000, issue of Kaleo]:
The upcoming three-day Hauula Elementary School centennial celebration on April 7-9 has special meaning to a lot of people who remember the country school from years ago. Kaleo talked story with three of them who have special ties:
Florence Amoe Ahina Nihipali (pictured at left, with her husband, William on the right), who was born 84 years ago in Hauula and raised just across the street from the school — where she still lives, went to Hauula when it included a 7th and 8th grade and all of the buildings were wooden. Mrs. Anahu was the principal when she went there in the 1920s.
Nihipali recalled about 300 kids, who came from Punalu’u to Laiemalo’o, attended school from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. “No more bus in those days,” she recalled. “Kids in Punalu’u had to walk to school. We had to learn to read and write, but not like now, we didn’t have a lot of extras,” she said, for example: “We never had a cafeteria.”
Nihipali fondly remembered that all the kids participated in May Day programs and school concerts. “We always had May Days,” she said, adding the kids also liked to play hopscotch and baseball.
But it wasn’t all fun. Nihipali said her mother, Mary Ahina, “was janitor in the school. Pau school, we go back to help her.” She also said she would help her mother in their taro patch, which was located where the community park now is.
Nihipali said she, her two sisters, brother, future husband —William Nihipali, 87, and their three children: the late Alvina Apo, Blossom and Zachary “Sunny” Nihipali all attended Hauula Elementary.
“The school was good to me,” she said, adding she’s still pleased with it. “They’re doing fine and taking care of the children.”
Saline Plunkett (pictured at right0 is another Hauula resident who has special memories of Hauula Elementary. She retired last year after teaching at the school for 33 years — 20-plus of them in the first grade.
Plunkett, who is originally from Waimanalo, told Kaleo she started teaching at Hauula in 1963 after graduating from BYU Provo and spending a couple of years teaching among Native Americans in the Uinta Basin.
“When I came to the school,” she recalled, “everything was still wooden buildings. Mr. Ito was the principal. We were still eating in our old wooden cafeteria, and the administration building was closer to the road. There were also a principal and teachers cottages. There were no textbooks — only for the teachers, and no library,” she continued, adding that in 1968 the 7th and 8th graders were transferred to Kahuku Intermediate.
“In those days we had very good relations with the parents,” she said, recalling how discipline has changed. “I used to go on home visits. Now, the students practically dare you to discipline them.”
Plunkett, who married Hauula resident Ku Plunkett in 1968, also recalled helping start camping and Big Island trips with sister teacher Elly Tepper, who now teaches at Keolu and was named State Teacher of the Year in 1999.
Plunkett said her mother-in-law, Mary Ann Plunkett, was also a teacher at Hauula; and their children, Ku III and Ikaika Plunkett attended Hauula Elementary.
She now watches her mo’opuna and fondly recalls working with the PTA and community merchants.
Although she only taught there for the 1955-56 school year, Bette Malakowsky Haring has fond memories of Hauula Elementary and performs volunteer work at the school every time she comes back. She recently retired after teaching in her home state of Minnesota for 20 years, and putting in another 20 as a librarian . . . but back in 1955 she accepted a contract to teach in Hauula after going to school with a number of Hawaiians at Colorado State U.
What was the school like then? “It was mostly teachers of Hawaiian descent. Mr. George Kekauoha [from Laie] was the principal. There were four other mainland teachers that year. We lived in the principal’s cottage,” she said of her year in Hauula, recalling that school secretary Grace Kahaleoumi, who now lives in Arizona, was her roommate. Nina Law, whose father was president of the newly-opened Church College of Hawai’i, was the other K teacher.
“I think we paid $2.50 to help with the electricity,” she said. “I found it to be a wonderful experience.” Haring also recalled her classroom was where the flag pole is now, that they had a flag-raising ceremony every day, and there was “one piano for the entire school.”
Asked if any of her K students remember her, Haring said “I’ve met six of them,” adding she was surprised to see “Nadine Preston, one of my students, working in the office. To be so warmly received was heart-warming.”
What’s the biggest change? “The open spaces are gone,” she replied.
(Photo caption, above-right): Bette Malakowsky Haring’s 1955-56 Kindergarten class at Hauula Elementary School.0