McKinley High School to celebrate 150 years of Black & Gold tradition


McKinley High will be celebrating 150 years of Tiger pride and tradition with anniversary events throughout this school year beginning with a Homecoming Week Luau on Friday, Sept. 25.

​HONOLULU – McKinley High School will be celebrating 150 years of Tiger pride and tradition with anniversary events throughout this school year beginning with a Homecoming Week Luau on Friday, September 25, 2015.  Generations of Black and Gold students, families, alumni, faculty and staff will gather for the 150th Anniversary Luau at 4:30 p.m. and the traditional Homecoming "Lighting of the M" at 7:30 p.m. 

McKinley's current students and alumni, dating back to the Class of 1946, will provide classic Hawaiian entertainment. Guests will be able to paint a few strokes of their own to complete a large commemorative mural prepared by Art Club students and purchase 150th Anniversary logo merchandise. More than 600 guests are expected to attend this special event, which will culminate with a fireworks show.

McKinley High School was officially established in 1865, as the Fort Street English Day School by Maurice B. Beckwith. In November 1869, the English Day School moved from the basement of the old Fort Street Church to a new stone building on the corner of Fort and School Streets. The Fort Street School later moved to the Princess Ruth's Palace in 1895 and was renamed Honolulu High School.  In 1907, Honolulu High School moved to the corner of Beretania and Victoria Streets.  The school's name was then changed to President William McKinley High School, after President William McKinley.

With growing enrollment, a new and larger school was necessary. In 1921, the present site on King Street was acquired through territorial condemnation.  In 1923, the school was moved from the Beretania-Victoria site to its present location. McKinley High School is proud to be listed on both State and National Registers of Historical Places.

McKinley High School has produced many notable alumni including former Governor George Ariyoshi; former US Senator Daniel K. Inouye; former US Senator Hiram Fong; US Representative Tammy Duckworth, Illinois' 8th Congressional District; former Honolulu Chief of Police Lee Donahue; former principal of Kamehameha Schools and co-founder of the University of Hawaii's Hawaiian Studies Center, Mrs. Gladys Kamakakuokalani Brandt; Mr. Duke Kahanamoku, olympic gold medalist in swimming (1912 and 1920); Mr. Charlie Higa, founder of Zippy's restaurants; former State Adjutant General Major General Robert G.F. Lee; Mr. Tenari Maafala, President of the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers (SHOPO); and Dr. Danny Takanishi, Jr., general and cancer surgeon at the Queen's Medical Center, tenured Professor of Surgery and Program Director of the General Surgery Residency Program at the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine; and many others.

More anniversary events are planned throughout the school year, including a special 150th Hall of Honor induction ceremony on January 29, 2016, the McKinley Tiger Pride and Tradition Day on February 26, the McKinley Community Fair on March 12, and the 150th Anniversary Gala on April 28. 

For more of McKinley's proud history and details on upcoming commemoration events, please visit the 150th Anniversary website at​

McKinley High is the second oldest public high school in Hawaii. The first is Lahainaluna High, which was established in 1831.

Contact Information

Donalyn Dela Cruz

Phone: 808-586-3232



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