King Kekaulike High School

King Kekaulike High School, home of the Na Ali'i, was established in 1995 and is located in Pukalani, Hawaii.
It serves the communities of Haiku, Kula, Makawao, Paia, and Pukalani. 

121 Kula Hwy, Makawao, HI 96768 | 808-727-3500 | ESTABLISHED IN 1995



Welcome Back!

These last two months all has been quiet on the Kekaulike Front... The echoes and cheers from commencement have slowly dissipated. The cheers, whoops and hollers from the non-graduating troops as we all ran and drove for the campus exits have long left the school soundtrack. The phones hardly ring at all.

 Quiet does not, however, mean idle!

Our custodians and cafeteria staff have been going all out cleaning classrooms, cleaning the kitchen and grooming the campus. Our office and clerical staff have been diligently keeping us afloat business-wise and making sure that all of our paper work is in order and up to date, our Registrar has been building our schedules and organizing our kids days and grades, and our Student Services Coordinator has been directing Extended School Year and organizing services for students for the coming School Year. We've been working hard at closing up this past year and preparing for the coming one.

We've been busy for sure, but we're lonely, and we sorely miss the reason(s) we work so hard. The time has come to fill the void that each year all of us who are committed to the full twelve months of stewarding Upcountry's Premier High School feel on our about June 10 — a feeling that continues, this year, until July 31 for staff, and the following week for students.

Let's go 2018/2019! Bring on our kids! Bring on our teachers! Come on back parents and family! Bring on the support folks, the community members who dedicate a part of their lives to student success, all the guys and gals that deliver our necessities and take away the things that we need dispersed...

Welcome all — there are so many exciting things that are new at Kekaulike as well as the ongoing: it's going to be a great year! Let's all join in making this not only a great year at our school, let's strive for making it by the sheer force of collective commitment the BEST EVER.

Our Upcountry students deserve nothing less.

Mahalo for Your Support,




Aloha Kekaulike Ohana! 


This day, and this evening, and this momentous event have been a long time in coming…

From those seminal moments when a few Na Alii dreamers dared to espouse a vision of a Hale dedicated to the arts on Kekaulike ground — through the final touches on the lighting calibration for its stage (which were completed only a couple of days ago!), the King Kekaulike High School Preforming Arts Center has been a journey of epic proportions.

Inspiration, trepidation, elation, frustration, amazement, wonder, a little more…, or even a lot more frustration, then unimaginable anticipation when this monolithic skyscraper(!) began to take its final shape — all of these emotions and more were shared at one point or another. And this was just how we adults felt!

Our kids, on the other hand, showed uncommon patience and trust in us. They waited, endured the setbacks in relative silence, got excited in measured ways, rolled with it all and waited some more. Meanwhile, our seniors from last year accepted that they would not be “the first” with grace and dignity, seemingly taking great joy in the fact that their younger proteges would be the ones. Our students never wavered in their belief that this day would come, and then it would be their day to shine.

And so here we are. Finally. Their day HAS come. Our kids are taking possession of this most precious resource and they can now launch like their pirate ship into what will surely be some of the most exciting times ever for Kekaulike. LONG LIVE THE ARTS!

The fact is, our kids have already taken ownership. I was blessed to share in the first minutes of the first day when some of our students from tonight’s production walked in wonder, starry-eyed, onto and about their stage in order to start their very first rehearsal towards tonight. They joined hands and one of our most precious resources, Mr. Chris Kepler, shared words of time and place and perspective that moved us all. I’ll admit with pride that I had tears and golfball-sized chicken skin. These kids, and this building, are a gift. It’s time to CELEBRATE!!!!! Celebrate the journey that has come to a close and also celebrate the new one — the one that those dreaming visionaries imagined so many years ago…

Welcome to our students’ new performing arts center. I am am so thankful that you chose to join us in celebrating these beautiful and extraordinarily talented young people and this most magnificent gift: a Hale of equally epic proportions within which to shine brightest.



Aloha Kekaulike Ohana,

Welcome to the all downhill, out of control rollercoaster! All aboard for a wide-eyed, white knuckle ride that is unrivaled in the annals of life experience!!!

Not really, but it certainly feels like it this time of year... The above can be laughed off as extreme hyperbole, but the truth is, the last ten weeks of high school are a test of endurance and patience for everyone involved, but most acutely felt by students, teachers and parents.

We just completed our annual senior project presentations — a year long, constant building of pressure and expectation that tests even the most organized and diligent 12th Grader — and yet again all of our senior students who presented were extraordinary. And now we are in the final weeks of school. Fourth quarter brings with it a host of final deadlines and the end of many chapters, both literally and figuratively, and it might seem so unfair that so much is due, and also at stake, packed into such a short span of time.

And yet! There is a light at the end of the tunnel and signs of the approaching finish line are all around us if we look carefully... The jacarandas are flowering in preparation for our glorious commencement. The days are getting longer, hinting at Summer Break, and our juniors are starting to size up the territory currently claimed by our seniors, while the sophomores are doing the same with the junior spots of interest. Our freshmen are simply expressing quiet joy with the knowledge that their first year, the crossing of that scary, unknown bridge, is behind them!

We're going to make it! See you May 24!


Quotes from DOE Success Stories:
“The climate of the school is, ‘We can always do better,’” said Elliott
“It’s a constant process. I’m personally very proud of the work,
but there’s no celebrating. We’ve got more work to do.”
Read full feature: Climbing a mountain in Upcountry Maui paying off at King Kekaulike


Aloha Kekaulike Ohana,

On behalf of all of our very hardworking and dedicated team at Kekaulike, I would like to wish our
Community a happy and healthy Winter Break!

It just doesn't seem possible that half of our school year has passed and that come the first days of 2018, we will begin our downhill push towards commencement and the conclusion of another year of learning opportunities for our underclasses... The time seems to have passed at warp speed, and it's hard to fathom where all of the time has gone. 

What is clear, is that our students, parents, families and our entire staff have worked extraordinarily hard and we've earned a break from all of our critically important efforts towards our kids' futures. It is an incredible privilege to be a part of our Kekaulike Learning Ohana and I feel that as we celebrate the season with family and friends, it is important to celebrate the hard work being done as well: hat's off and a flourishing bow to everyone!

Let's take a breath, rest easy for a moment, reflect on a job well done (but not finished!) and recharge for the finishing sprint to come!

Mahalo for all that you do for Kekaulike, 

Mark Elliott
King Kekaulike High School


      Mahalo June Kaneshiro! 

      Mahalo June Kaneshiro! 

Aloha Kekaulike Ohana,

Wow! That was fast: First Quarter of the 2017/2018 School Year has now come and gone and it seems like only yesterday that we were flush with the excitement of the First Day of School! As we move into our well-earned Fall Break (and our students and staff have worked especially hard this year!) I wanted to share a couple of updates:

We have a new Parent/Community/Network Coordinator (PCNC) in Ocean Zbiciak, who is now captaining our communications and networking efforts at Kekaulike. She will be keeping you informed of all of our various events, deadlines, activities and initiatives through a variety of formats, including this newsletter. Ocean joins us with an extensive background in communications, graphics and advertising and community outreach, and we are thrilled to have her on our team. You can contact her here:
(808) 727-3517 or email

You'll be hearing a LOT more from Ocean from now on, but I do want to look back for a moment and celebrate one of Kekaulike's all time greatest contributors. It was with great sadness and trepidation that I accepted Ms. June Kaneshiro's notice to me that she was retiring last Spring. I have been involved with Kekaulike on and off since somewhere around 1997, and I truly can't remember a day that was spent here without June's positive, enthusiastic presence... June has worn many hats and performed many exemplary tasks at Kekaulike, first and foremost being her diligence in keeping us all informed. What many didn't see was June's absolute commitment to our students in the form of relentlessly accumulating and then dispersing school supplies, life supplies — so many of the things that kids and teachers need in order to survive in a school environment. No kid in need went without if June knew about it and she never sat waiting — she went out to our students always looking to help them. I'd be lying if I said I didn't have trouble envisioning a Kekaulike High School without June Kaneshiro... She made us a better, more caring, more informed place. 

All of us hope June has the best retirement ever! I personally KNOW that June is going to have a happy, healthy retirement from Kekaulike (I know she's never going to stop working at something) because she's so good at everything she does and, June, if you're reading this: I'm SO sorry for all of the times I made you wait for my own entry to all of those newsletters you so excellently assembled! If it makes you feel any better, Ocean is waiting WAY past deadline for this entry...

Update #2: We've been blessed to have College Counselor Lyle Irimata on loan from the University of Hawaii Maui Campus and college counseling- trained Jackie Zambrano — both are working very hard with our students in searching for student and college/university matches, application processes and requirements, and scholarship opportunities.  

They welcome inquiries from parents and would like everyone to encourage their Kekaulike student(s) no matter what grade level to stop by the College Counseling Office (F-204) to learn more about what could await them. We of Kekaulike believe that ALL students should explore some form of post-high school education and/or learning opportunity, and there are so many different forms and venues for learning after Kekaulike. We also believe that one can NEVER start too soon in exploring post secondary options and opportunities! A well planned program goes a long ways towards saving money and most important, finding the best match for our students as they pursue their careers and dreams.

Update # 3: Our new Performing Arts Center is coming into the home stretch now... The luxurious seats have been installed and much of the detailed technology is in place. Every day it seems like there's a big jump towards completion and I want to share that it is quite magnificent. There appears to not be a bad seat in the house and the sheer size of the stage area is a thing to behold. I know I'll be chicken skin and teary-eyed when our kids take over. I don't want to commit to a specific opening date, as Murphy's Law always seems to be the bridesmaid to all large scale construction projects of this nature, but I do want to share that we're GETTING THERE!

Mahalo for Your Support of our School,

Mark (the Principal)