Summer 2012 - Feature | 150th Celebration
The Big 1-5-0!
Birthdays are a time for celebration and a time for reflection. This fall, ‘Iolani School will begin its 150th Year. The school will honor its rich history with a yearlong 150th Anniversary Celebration, “Inspired by Our Legacy, Committed to Our Future.”
The cornerstone of the celebration will be construction of the Sullivan Center. A four-story, 40,000-square-foot facility in the center of campus, the Sullivan Center will be built during the 2012 to 2013 school year with completion in the fall of 2013.
Other celebratory activities include a Birthday Bash in January 2013 on campus, a speaker series throughout the year, exhibits and class projects on campus, a gala event in the fall of 2013, alumni community service projects, and coverage of events on www.iolani.org and in the 'Iolani School Bulletin. A pre-sale took place in early May for the commemorative ‘Iolani 150th Anniversary Celebration aloha shirt designed by Reyn Spooner. The aloha shirt and other attire will also be available for purchase in the book store this October 2012.
We are also collecting memories. Please feel free to share your favorite recollection from your ‘Iolani experience or tell us, in your own words, what you feel makes ‘Iolani special. Email your memories to .
There are many more events being planned. So please stay connected, get involved and give yourself a hand. ‘Iolani’s celebration is a credit to all of the students, parents, alumni and friends who contribute and support the school in so many ways. Please enjoy the following memories that were graciously submitted.
Quonset Huts and KPOIAt that age, we were fascinated by the army warehouse storing army supplies e.g. ammunition consisting of bullets of all sizes and shapes, equipment that we fully could not comprehend at that age, and uniforms, belts, casings, army weather balloons and, yes, even several rifles and machine guns. After reading the popular G.I. Joe comics at that time, these remnants of war brought realism to our young imaginations.
While we were elementary grade students attending ‘Iolani on the (current) Ala Wai campus, one of our dreams was to have attended the old Nuuanu campus where the reputation of ‘Iolani was established in its sports lore and stories of Father Bray.
The Ala Wai campus in 1948 to 1949 consisted of a quonset hut where, I faintly recall, housed the kindergarten students and a separate wooden structure that consisted of the art classes and first grade classroom. Most of the campus fronting Kamoku Street was nothing but a barren foundation of concrete that once were warehouses and also, included the popular radio station KPOI where deejay Tom Moffat and others made their marks in the radio business.
Alas! Our dream of attending the Nu‘uanu campus slowly disappeared as we witnessed the construction of several concrete structures on the current campus. We were thus denied the opportunity of attending the Nu‘uanu campus where legends and ghosts were born.
With the dedication of the Upper School, of which the date is faint in my memory bank, my Class of ’60 finished our high school education on the banks of the Ala Wai. We have memories of the rocky track and field, the ancient warehouse that one dared called the gym, the dormitory where several members of my class were the last residents, and the student center where one wore his white, starchy long-sleeve shirt and black tie, escorted by the resident manager Mr. Harold Silva.
‘Iolani No Ka Oi!
Randall Ng ’60
Retired state Department of Education teacher and counselor
Arts and MusicThis was followed by a commission from the Raider Marching Band and performed in the Rose Parade. Next was the grown up version of The Adventures of Maui commissioned by the school for the Honolulu Symphony and premiered by them in 2000. The work was also performed in Nagoya, Japan by the symphony orchestra there. Next, in 2005 I was commissioned by the school to write an adaptation of my film score from Paniolo o Hawai‘i. This was premiered in Hawai‘i Theater along with visuals from the film.
The tradition of commissioning new works from living composers reveals ‘Iolani’s dedication to preserving and propelling music into the future.
Among all these memories of performances in Carnegie Hall, Neal Blaisdell Concert Hall, and Hawai‘i Theater, the one that stands out most for me is this. While I was living on campus (truly a composer in residence) the Raider Marching Band marched right up to my front door and serenaded me with the march I had written for the Rose Parade. This is the sort of thing you think happens to the great composers of the past. But it took place right there on Convention Drive! Wow!!
Dr. Robert Wehrman
Composer, author and former ‘Iolani choral director
Early Co-Ed YearsI was the only female drummer in the band. What a wonderful time it was to be a pioneer! I remember the campus had the Harold Castle building as the newest building built at the time. I remember lobbying to keep St. Alban’s Chapel just as we see it today. I cherish the high school memories and the closeness all my classmates feel to the school.
“‘Iolani – One Team” resonates today just as it did when I attended the school and graduated as the second co-ed class.
Karen (Ng) Chun ’84
Technical Design Engineer, State Department of Transportation