Lahainaluna High School webpage banner

Picture of Mount Pu'u Pau Pau
Picture of Mount P'uu Pa'u Pa'u

Brief History of Lahainaluna High School

In 1831, Chiefess Kalakua Hoapiliwahine, wife of Governor Hoapili, offered the use of a tract of land on the slopes surrounding Pu'u Pa'u Pa'u to the American missionaries for the creation of a high school.

The high school was established in 1831 by the American Board of Commissioners of Foreign Missions to be a work/study program "to instruct young men of piety and promising talents". The school opened with twenty five students, including David Malo, age 38, under the leadership of Reverend Lorrin Andrews. Malo went on to hold important positions in the kingdom, including the first Superintendent of Schools.

Besides constructing their early classrooms and sleeping quarters, students engaged in a variety of studies including geography, mathematics, history, to prepare them for leadership roles in the Hawaiian Community. Until 1877, when there was a shift to English, the language of instruction was Hawaiian.

The first newspaper west of the Rockies, Ka Lama, was printed in Hawaiian at Lahainaluna on February 14, 1834.

In 1836, thirty two boys between ages 10 and 20 were admitted as the first boarding scholars.

Lahainaluna was transferred from a private mission seminary to a public institution of higher learning in 1849, and a year later King Kamehameha III signed the act that put school under direct control of the Hawaiian Monarchy. By 1864, only Lahainaluna graduates were considered qualified to hold government positions such as lawyers, teachers, district magistrates, and other important posts.

In 1903, Lahainaluna became a Vocational Trade School and in 1923, a public technical high school, admitting both girls and boys as day students, and yet still continuing the male boarding program. It wasn't until 1980 that the first girls were accepted into the boarding program.

Rich in tradition and culture, Lahainaluna today is not only one of a few public boarding schools in the nation, but it is also the oldest high school west of the Mississippi River. As part of the Hawaii State Department of Education, Lahainaluna prepares students with essential skills and knowledge to further their education, to pursue careers, and to contribute positively to society.

Back to Main Page

©2012 Lahainaluna High School. all rights reserved. Terms of Use | Contact Us |
As a learning institution, Lahainaluna High School is committed to ensuring that its official website content conforms to the regulations of the American with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Lahainaluna High School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age in its programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Emily De Costa, Principal, 980 Lahainaluna Road, Lahaina, HI 96761 808-662-4000.

Annual Notification of Privacy Rights
Know your privacy rights as they apply to 1) student record information; 2) directory information; 3) surveys and other information collection; and 4) military recruitment information. For more information on your privacy rights, the laws that protect them, and how to exercise your rights, contact your school administrator or visit