With song, dance, and a historic display, King William Charles Lunalilo Elementary celebrated the school's 90th anniversary and King Lunalilo's 183rd birthday this morning. The Royal Hawaiian Band, area lawmakers and community members joined the school-wide assembly in honor of the ali'i.
"The school has such a rich history and we are honored to share a special connection to King Lunalilo," said Principal Amy Kantrowitz. "We want our students and the community to appreciate and continue the legacy of the school and our namesake, and by teaching them the history of both we hope that it will instill a sense of pride that they will pass along."
Music from the Royal Hawaiian Band filled the school's cafeteria where students performed oli, hula, and cited the King's poetry. School faculty also honored Lunalilo.
"My favorite part of the assembly was seeing my teacher perform," shared fourth grader Misaki Nishiki. "My classmates were excited to see them dance the hula just like we did."
The school is located on the site of what was once a duck pond lined with shacks. During the territorial years, a trolley line crossed the pond over McCully Street carrying passengers from town to Waikiki. The school was established in 1928 as a single building schoolhouse. Lunalilo Elementary was demolished in 1971, and later that year the school dedicated its new classroom and office building.
"We are proud of our heritage and connection to Hawaii's ali'i," added fifth grader John Cudjoe. "Today was about looking back to the past, celebrating the present and dreaming about the future."
King Lunalilo was born on Jan. 31, 1832, and attended the Chief's Children's School, now known as Royal School. He was a gifted student and talented poet and composer.
For more information about the school, click here.