Kamehameha Schools provides an education fit for a king ... or queen. The private charitable trust was founded and endowed by Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, great granddaughter and last royal descendant of Kamehameha the Great. One of the largest independent schools in the US, Kamehameha educates more than 5,000 elementary, middle school, and high school students, many of whom board at one of its three Hawaii campuses. In addition, it operates some 30 preschools with a total enrollment of about 1,500. Kamehameha Schools is also the largest private property owner in the state of Hawaii, and uses the proceeds from its real estate operations to support its schools.
The Kamehameha School for Boys was established in 1887, followed by the Kamehameha School for Girls, which opened in 1894. By 1955 the schools consolidated onto a 600-acre campus with views of Honolulu that span from Pearl Harbor to Diamond Head.
To this day, Kamehameha Schools gives preferential admissions treatment to students of Hawaiian decent, a long-standing policy it is fighting to preserve despite the controversy it creates. The schools have successfully fought off several lawsuits aimed at opening its doors to other ethnicities, including a close decision by an appeals court in 2009. – less