Article written by Head of School Ruth Fletcher, Ph.D.
On Tuesday, we celebrated the 183rd birthday of our founder, Queen Emma Kaleleonālani. A transformational leader, Queen Emma dedicated herself to serving the health, educational and spiritual needs of her people. Queen Emma is often called the people's queen because of her commitment and dedication to improving the lives of others. She recognized the need for young girls to have access to a quality education and in 1867, founded St. Andrew's Priory School for Girls. Since our founding, our community has grown to include The Prep and The Preschool, and today, as one school, we continue to Kūlia i ka Nuʻu, Strive for the Highest.
Our celebration began with an all-school chapel in The Cathedral of St. Andrew. Our senior class led the oli, Eō Ke Kuini, to begin the service. Queen Emma's portrait, flanked by paʻa kāhili, was placed on the altar and draped with maile. It was a visual reminder of the woman we so admire. Following the service in the Cathedral, students presented hoʻokupu to Queen Emma's bust in the James and Abigail Campbell Park. Students, faculty and staff took the opportunity to honor Queen Emma for her daring vision and courage.
Following the all-school celebration, the Class of 2019, the Class of 2020, and several faculty and staff traveled to Mauna ʻAla, the Royal Mausoleum, where a special service was held to commemorate the life and legacy of Queen Emma. Our beloved Chaplain Annalise officiated and Board of Trustee member Ivan Lui-Kwan served as this year's guest speaker. Guests included the Hawaiian Royal Benevolent Societies, the Hawaiian Civic Clubs, community representatives, clergy, our own Board of Trustees and their special guests, and many others.
Mr. Ivan Lui-Kwan spoke to those gathered about Queen Emma's arc of light and the impact the aliʻi have had on our school, our state, and nations around the globe. He highlighted the leadership of Queen Emma as exemplified by five Priory students who traveled to New Zealand as part of the Partnership for Youth (P4Y) leadership forum: Shaping Vision 2030 for Community Revitalization and Sustainability. The service concluded with a procession to the Kamehameha Tomb where guests presented hoʻokupu to honor our beloved ʻEmalani.
To me, personally, Queen Emma is a role model and someone who I look up to. Her visionary leadership and example of love, care, and service calls me to strive for the highest for our school and our community.
Thank you, everyone, for being a part of this beautiful celebration.