'Iolani School has a rich history in the Hawaiian Islands. Since its founding in 1863, it has seen the change from kingdom, to republic, to territory, to state. The school has adjusted to leadership changes, weathered challenging times, and participated in political discourse and change. Likewise, the school has felt the effects of major world events with faculty, staff, and students participating in various ways.
World War I, or the Great War, lasted from 1914 to 1918. Among other notable events, it is known for advancement in military technology and unprecedented loss. After initially remaining neutral, the United States fought as part of the Allied Powers beginning in 1917. Those enlisted in military service included a number of ’Iolani School faculty and students.
Like many institutions, ’Iolani School was heavily effected by the December 7, 1941 Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor and the subsequent United States entry into the Second World War. The school, then located at Nu'uanu Avenue and Judd Street, was closed, military nurses took over space on campus, trenches were dug around the school, and parts of the campus were transformed into air raid shelters. In February 1942 when the school reopened it was without the high school department and about half the staff. Many of the staff and older students devoted themselves to the war effort or in support of their families. The rest of the high school students had to find other schools in which to finish their education; only a group of seniors remained to be tutored by a faculty member and earn their diplomas. They had no formal ceremony, nor were there any more graduations for the duration of the war. The Fall Semester of 1942 saw the addition of ninth grade, and one grade each year thereafter until the high school department was restored. The following are resources found in the ’Iolani School Archives related to life in the school during the WWII era.
The Vietnam War, 1954-1975, saw increased United States military involvement and civilian attention beginning in the early 1960s. Students at 'Iolani School participated in political discourse of the time, through which varying viewpoints were brought to light, and discussed the fragmented dynamic of the country.
Click here for more on the Vietnam War in 'Iolani School Archives.
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