'Iolani School

ʻIolani School
Iolani shield.jpg
563 Kamoku Street


United States
Coordinates21°17.190′N 157°49.474′W / 21.286500°N 157.824567°W / 21.286500; -157.824567Coordinates: 21°17.190′N 157°49.474′W / 21.286500°N 157.824567°W / 21.286500; -157.824567
TypePrivate, independent preparatory school
MottoOne Team, "humble in victory, gracious in defeat"
DenominationEpiscopal Church
Patron saint(s)Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma
FounderKamehameha IV
CEEB code120040
NCES School ID00326634
Head of schoolTimothy R. Cottrell, Ph.D.
Teaching staff162.8 (FTE)
Number of students2020
 • Kindergarten71
 • Grade 174
 • Grade 268
 • Grade 364
 • Grade 473
 • Grade 570
 • Grade 6122
 • Grade 7176
 • Grade 8205
 • Grade 9261
 • Grade 10235
 • Grade 11231
 • Grade 12224
Student to teacher ratio11.4
Hours in school day6.8
CampusesLower School (K-6), Upper School(7-12)
Campus typeLarge city
Color(s)Black, Red and White
Athletics conferenceInterscholastic League of Honolulu
MascotʻIo (Hawaiian Hawk)
AccrationWestern Association of Schools and Colleges
NewspaperImua ʻIolani
YearbookKa Moʻolelo O ʻIolani
Distinctions4th largest independent school in the United States[1]

ʻIolani School, located at 563 Kamoku Street in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, is a private coeducational college preparatory school serving over 2,020 students with a boarding program for grades 9 - 12 as well as a summer boarding program for middle school grades.[2] Founded in 1863 by Father William R. Scott, it was the principal school of the former Anglican Church of Hawaiʻi. It was patronized by Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma who gave the school its name in 1870. ʻIolani in the Hawaiian language means "heavenly hawk". Today, ʻIolani School is affiliated with the Episcopal Church in the United States. It is administered by a Board of Governors and is one of the largest independent schools in the United States.[3]


Early years[]

On October 11, 1862, Lord Bishop Thomas Nettleship Staley arrived in Hawaiʻi by request of Kamehameha IV and Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. The following year Kamehameha IV, a devout member of the Church of England, established the Hawaiian Reformed Catholic Church, also known as the Anglican Church of Hawaiʻi. The school was originally named for Saint Alban.

In 1863, Staley's companion Father Scott purchased land in Lāhaina and established Luaʻehu School, a school for boys. When Father Scott fell ill and returned to Britain, Father George Mason was summoned by Staley to administer the school on Maui. On January 12, 1863, the St. Alban's College was also established in the Pauoa Valley in Honolulu. Mason also seemed to have managed this school as well. Before Staley, too, left the islands for Britain in 1870, Father Mason merged the two schools and relocated it to the St. Alban's campus. Later Bishop Alfred Willis purchased land on Bates Street in Nuʻuanu Valley and moved part of the school there, intending it for students of full or part Hawaiian descent, under the new name of ʻIolani College. The St. Alban's College, intended for white students, separated and continuing operating at Pauoa until 1887.[4][5][6]

With the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi and annexation to the United States in 1898, the Anglican Church of Hawaiʻi became part of the Episcopal Church United States (ECUSA). ʻIolani School was moved to Nuʻuanu, transferred back to downtown Honolulu and then moved to Nuʻuanu a second time. It remained in Nuʻuanu from 1927 to 1953, when it was moved to the present Ala Wai site. The elementary school was moved to the Ala Wai site in 1946.

In 1979, the school became co-educational, ending its all-male enrollment policy.


ʻIolani School grew and refined its program offerings with a standard college preparatory curriculum as a foundation for every student. Religion, performing and visual arts, music and athletics became integral parts of the ʻIolani School education, i.e., in the sixth grade, all students must be involved in a performing art.


View of ʻIolani Campus with Diamond Head and Waikiki in the background

The campus is divided into Upper and Lower School. Buildings include Castle Building, Weinberg Building, the I-Wing, the art building, and the Nangaku Building. Other facilities include the Upper Gym and the Lower Gym, the Ranzman Library, the Dillingham Pool, and St. Alban's Chapel. ʻIolani School also has a stadium (Kozuki Stadium), a baseball field, an outdoor basketball court (the One Team Field house), and several tennis courts.[7]

The Sullivan Center for Innovation and Leadership was finished at the end of 2012 for the replacement of the Upper School Library. The Sullivan Center was created to emphasize sustainability.

The Harold K.L. Castle Building was dedicated in 1980 to the Castle Family which had donated land to 'Iolani School. The Castle Building also contains most classrooms for the 7th and 8th Grade.[8]


ʻIolani School's athletic program was founded in 1932 by Father Kenneth A. Bray. Over 900, or 70%, of the student body participates in one of over 32 competitive sports. ʻIolani School is a member of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu, an athletic conference composed of Honolulu-area private schools.

Since the formation of the Hawaii High School Athletic Association, ʻIolani has won over 75 state championships in various sports. It is the only school in Hawaiʻi to have won five consecutive state championships in Boys Basketball from 2002 to 2006.[9] ʻIolani has the most consecutive state championships in Boys Wrestling, and is the first ILH school to win a Girls Wrestling State Championship in 2005.[10] They also have eight consecutive D-II football titles, highest in the nation.[11]


ʻIolani School's campus is divided into two sections: Lower School and Upper School.

Lower School is for elementary students, kindergarten through 6th grade.[12]

Upper School is for 7th through 12th grade. The schedule has eight periods, which rotate weekly. Each student normally has one study hall/free period and one elective, although new students who do not take a language normally have a second study hall or elective. Iolani summer school allows students to earn graduation crs; cr courses offered during summer include art, history, science, computers, and language.[13]

Harold Keables[]

Harold Keables was first a teacher in Denver, where he was named the National Teacher of the Year by Life magazine;[14] in 1965 he started teaching at ʻIolani School.[15][16] Each year his legacy is honored via the Keables Chair, which brings "outstanding teachers, writers, and artists to ʻIolani."[17]

Other activities[]

ʻIolani students are involved in many extracurricular activities.

Imua ʻIolani[]

Imua ʻIolani is the school newspaper. It is published monthly,[18] distributed to all students, and is available online. In 2008, Imua ʻIolani was named the best school newspaper in the state.[19]

Math Team[]

The 'Iolani math team has been participating in the Oahu Mathematics League since the mid 1970s (the league was started in the 1968–69 school year). The team has won the league championship in 1977, 1981, 1984, 1990, 1991, and from 1993 to the present. This marks 32 total championships, including the past 27. The JV team has claimed the top spot ever since the inception of the JV division in the 2000–01 school year. Also, 'Iolani holds the record for placing first 18 times in the Hawaii State Math Bowl (which was started in 1978).[20]

Science Olympiad[]

'Iolani has two Science Olympiad Teams, Division B (grades 6–9) and Division C (9-12).

Division B has been a part of Science Olympiad since 2012.[21] They have qualified for the national tournament twice (in 2012 and 2014).[22][23] For every other year they have competed, they have been the runner-up at the states competition.[22] In the 2012 National Competition, Division B placed 5th in Water Quality.[24]

Division C has been a part of Science Olympiad since 2011.[21] They have qualified for the national tournament every year they have competed, except for 2013 when they placed as runner up.[22] At the 2014 national tournament at the University of Florida, the team was the national champions in the trial event Hydrogeology.[25] At the 2015 national tournament at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Division C was the national champions in both Fossils and Geologic Mapping and placed 2nd in the trial event Science Bowl.[26] In the 2016 National competition, the Division C team was the national champions in Fossils, and placed 3rd in Game On and Anatomy and Physiology, and 4th in Geologic Mapping.[27] They also placed 2nd in Game On and 3rd in Indoor Bottle Rocket at the 2017 National competition.[28]

Speech and Debate[]

ʻIolani has an Intermediate Speech Team (grades 7–8) and a Speech and Debate Team (9-12). Both teams have won numerous competitions. Every February, the school hosts the ʻIolani Debate Tournament, one of three State-Qualifying tournaments of the season.[29]

Real World Design Challenge[]

In 2009, ʻIolani's team "NDC" became the national champions at the U.S. Department of Energy's Real World Design Challenge, out of nine other teams from nine other states.[30][31] In 2010, the ʻIolani ZAMA team took first at the state level. Team members J. Hara, C. Kodama, E. Masutani, M. Muraoka, D. Reiss, T. Van Etten, M. Williams represented the state of Hawaiʻi March 26–29, 2010 at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., placing second at the national level.[32][33][34]


ʻIolani School also has several robotics teams which participate in competitions organized by FIRST. Iolani has a FIRST Robotics team, a FIRST Lego League team, and a Junior FIRST Lego League team. Besides FIRST related teams, ʻIolani also has a Botball team and a Vex team. ʻIolani's team number for VEX and FRC is 2438.


In 2008, ʻIolani's Vex team competed in the VEX World Robotics Competition, held at California State University Northridge.[35]

ʻIolani School typically hosts the East Oahu VEX Robotics Competition.

On December 6, 2008, the Vex team competed in the 2008 VEX Pan Pacific Competition, held at the Hawaii Convention Center. The ʻIolani team (2438a) was part of the winning alliance, and qualified for the 2009 VEX World Robotics Competition, to be held at Dallas, Texas. They won the Community award and the Champion award.

In 2010, ʻIolani's VEX team again qualified for the World Competition by being part of the winning alliance at the Kahala VEX Regional. At the 2010 VEX World Robotics Competition, they won the notable CREATE award for design, as well as placing as division semifinalists.

In the 2011 VRC season, ʻIolani's VEX team again was in the winning alliance at the Pan Pacific Competition.


ʻIolani's FIRST Lego League team won the Hawaiʻi State Championships in 2007.[36] They competed at the World Festival in 2008 as the representative for Hawaiʻi.

Two of the FLL teams competed in the Niu Valley qualifier on December 6, 2008; both teams qualified for the Hawaii State Championships to be held in January 2009. The teams took first and second place, and merged to form one team that traveled to Dayton, Ohio, for the US Open Championships. They won third place in Quality Robot Design and first place in the Alliance Rounds along with the Landroids and the ZBots. ʻIolani's FLL team is the only FLL team to win twice at the Hawaii FLL State Championships.

FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC)[]

As of October 2017, ʻIolani has 3 FTC teams.[citation needed]

Economics Challenge[]

Every spring, the Iolani Economics Challenge team led by coach Lance Suzuki competes in the state, regional, and national economics challenge. Iolani has won ten consecutive state championships and has won the national championship in 2005 and 2006 at the A.P. level and in 2007 at the non-A.P. level. In May 2010, the team of Sean Cockey, Andrew Ellison, Jesse Franklin-Murdock, and Mark Grozen-Smith defeated a team from Bellaire High School in Bellaire, Texas, to win another national title. 'Iolani also won the national title in 2013.

Model United Nations[]

ʻIolani's Model United Nations club competes in various conferences that are held throughout the year. With numerous delegates over the years of the club's founding being sent to compete in other islands, states, or countries, the club and its members have amassed a multitude of awards from many different competitions.

Notable alumni[]


Authors, ors and journalists[]





Notable faculty and coaches[]


Monarchial government[]

Territorial government[]

Federal government[]

State government[]

International government[]




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External links[]