La Pietra

La Pietra

La Pietra: Hawaii School for Girls, also referred to as La Pietra or Hawaii School for Girls, is a private school for girls in grades 6–12 located in Honolulu, Hawaii. Founded in 1964 by Lorraine Cooke, it moved to the current La Pietra campus in 1969. Barbara Cox Anthony has chaired the school's board of trustees since 1978.

The school is situated at the foot of Diamond Head, a famous Hawaii landmark. Classrooms are housed in a building modeled after an Italian villa.


La Pietra was the home of Mr. and Mrs. Walter F. Dillingham (Walter Dillingham was the son of Ben Dillingham, of Oahu Railway and Land Company). That portion of La Pietra which is now the school was left by Mr. and Mrs. Dillingham to Punahou School. Being unable to use the building, Punahou was anxious to sell it. After a period in which there were few interested buyers or offers (Punahou was asking $1 million dollars for the estate), Mrs. Richard A. Cooke and Mrs. Garner Anthony, who had started and temporarily housed Hawaii School for Girls at Central Union Church, were able to raise the funds necessary to meet Punahou's price. Reuse plans were developed by architect John Tatom and his assistant Tom Fanning. Work to convert the estate into a school was done by parent volunteers and the Dillingham's Hawaiian Dredging Company. Hawai'i School for Girls moved into the site at the start of the 1969-70 school year. In 1976 a new six-classroom building was constructed on the site of the old estate swimming pool. This building, designed by Leo Wou, was intended to mirror, as much as possible, the architecture of the Dillingham villa.

During the "Mahele" this site was given by the chiefs of old Hawaii to a man who would one day become King Lunalilo. After the king's death this site was sold to James Campbell, in 1883. Subsequently, Walter Dillingham would buy the land from Campbell and use it to build a home for his new bride, the former Louis Gaylord. Mr. and Mrs. Dillingham were married in in Florence, Italy, at Villa La Pietra, the 600 year-old villa of Mrs. Dillingham's aunt. After selection of the Diamond Head site as their home, Louis Gaylord Dillingham hired Chicago architect David Adler to draw up plans for a villa that would draw its inspiration from Villa La Pietra in Florence, but not copy it. When completed in 1922 for the sum of $400,000 that main building contained five bedrooms and other living and service rooms. These rooms would, some 47 years later, become the classrooms of La Pietra, Hawaii School for Girls. For 40 years La Pietra was the social center of Honolulu. The Dillinghams were hosts to many notable visitors, including President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Walt Disney, among many others. During World War II. military and political leaders often met to discuss the vital issues of the day. [J Gilmar, Historic Hawai'i News, November 1983]

Heiau site

The Dillingham Estate, now La Pietra, Hawai'i School for Girls, is located near or partially on an ancient Hawaiian heiau, or temple, called Papaenaena. Referred to by early writers as "Leahi" (the Hawaiian name for Diamond Head) heiau, it was quadrangular in shape, about convert|80|ft|m|abbr=on. is size with ocean facing terraces leading into the structure and several altars located at near the back wall. Papaenaena was arguably built by Maui King Kahekili to commemorate his conquest of O'ahu. This heiau was destroyed by Kanaia about 1856 and its stones were carted off to Waikiki for use as rock walls and driveways. Papaenaena figures prominently into the history of Kamehameha the Great and his conquest of the Hawaiian Islands. In 1804, when Kamehameha was on his way to invade Kauai he halted at Oahu with an army of 8000 men. A plague or epidemic subsequently killed more than two-thirds of his army. During the epidemic Kamehameha, upon the advice of his priests, instituted a ten-day kapu (restriction) and sacrificed three humans and many hogs and edible plants. The men sacrificed were accused of eating tabu coconuts. Eyewitnesses to this sacrifice would later record their observations. Kamehameha also is reported to have sacrificed his nephew, Kanihonui, who broke the tabu with Kamehameha's Queen, Ka'ahumanu, at Papaenaena. ["Tales of Temples," in All About Hawaii, 1904 University of Michigan Press] "When Papa’ena’ena heiau stood on Diamond Head, it overlooked what is today First Break, the beginning of Kalahuewehe, a surfing course famous for hundreds of years. Kahuna at Papa’ena’ena flew a kite at the heiau to inform surfers that the waves were up." [ - Waikiki Historic Places]

Kapiolani Park

La Pietra, Hawaii School for Girls, is located just a few hundred yards above Honolulu's Kapiolani Park. "Characterized from the beginning as 'swamp land in a desert,' Kapiolani Park has struggled to find a constant environmental niche. The land became a park specifically because it wasn't considered suitable for anything else, and because of its peculiar climate -- it's one of the few places on Oahu where rain almost never falls. And because King Kalakaua loved the ponies. After a number of horse races were canceled because of muddy tracks in the wet winter of 1876, racing enthusiasts asked the king for a permanent, dry course. Many ali'i lived in Waikiki, so Kalakaua chose the flat plain at the foot of Diamond Head because it was handy, unoccupied and dry. The government condemned the land and Kalakaua decided to make its dedication memorable. On June 11, 1877, Kapiolani Park was dedicated with horse races, barrel races, and sack races. The park was the first Hawaiian public space, and began the vision of a group of civic-minded businessmen, who convinced Kalakaua to give them a 30-year lease. The Kapiolani Park Association was chartered to create "a tract of land in the vicinity of Honolulu as a place of public resort," where "agricultural and stock exhibitions, and healthful exercise, recreations and amusements" could occur. Scotsman Archibald Cleghorn, Governor of Oahu and father of Princess Kaiulani, was the park's sparkplug. Vice-president and later president of the Kapiolani Park Association, Cleghorn planned the park's landscaping, including the majestic ironwood trees along Kalakaua Avenue. Money was raised by selling $50 shares in the association. Shareholders had the right to lease a beachfront lot skirting the park, and many of the best-known names in Honolulu had cottages there by the 1880s. During the 1893 revolution, most of these valuable properties became privately owned, and most were later given back to the city or condemned and seized. Baseball followed as a natural successor to horse-racing, and became a regular Saturday attraction. The two main teams were the Athletes and the Whangdoodles. Grounds were manicured and lilyponds were created. Wild peacocks became a park fixture. Picnicking took place on the banks of streams, and no two footbridges were built alike. The area was a playground for average citizens." [Honolulu Star Bulletin, August 11, 2000] Because La Pietra, Hawaii School for Girls has limited space for athletics, Kapiolani Park is used for physical education classes and training for soccer and cross country running teams.


A La Pietra education provides girls in grades six to twelve with unique opportunities for college preparation, intellectual growth and self-understanding. Course offerings are grounded in the most current research and practice in the ways girls learn; the broad curriculum allows girls to master traditional academic disciplines while exploring new directions through electives and a required Independent Project. All La Pietra programs are built around the idea that a girl's middle and upper school years are a "pleasurable struggle" made up of both challenges and achievements.

"Intellectual development is our primary goal. In small classes, teachers encourage risk-taking and foster the skills and habits essential for success. La Pietra students are fluent readers and writers, ambitious, independent thinkers, articulate communicators and good listeners. They are creative in finding solutions, resourceful in searching for information, agile in analyzing problems, confident working alone and effective in partnership or with groups. A La Pietra education also builds a strong appreciation for the arts, a high level of scientific, mathematical and technological literacy, an understanding of the history and interdependence of nations and the ability to communicate in a second language.

"As part of La Pietra's commitment to the education of the whole girl, the school also supports the home in guiding ethical, emotional and physical development. Athletic programs, class and group activities, service projects, individual guidance and close teacher-student relationships support the school's values: responsibility, patience, cooperation, respect, self-discipline, perseverance and service to others. Distinct middle school and high school programs allow for each girl's full participation in social, governance, service, athletic and other opportunities. Open communication and shared goals characterize La Pietra's relationships with parents.

"The student body of approximately 240 girls represents the rich ethnic and socioeconomic diversity of Hawaii. La Pietra seeks responsible learners with a wide range of abilities and the potential for solid academic growth. The school maintains a strong commitment to need-based financial aid including full tuition grants to a limited number of girls. The faculty and staff are a diverse, committed group of women and men whose expertise, compassion and high expectations draw from each girl the very best she has to contribute in class and as a member of the school community.

"KAHIAU is Hawaiian for the personal quality of selfless giving and generosity of spirit, without expectation of return or reward. At La Pietra we seek to cultivate the spirit of KAHIAU as a way of life in our school community and to share this spirit with the greater community that is our world. []

School Heads

Joe Pynchon, La Pietra's first headmaster died on January 2, 2008 . He was headmaster at La Pietra from its inception in 1964 until his retirement at the end of the 1990-91 school year. He joined La Pietra from Iolani School, where he was chairman of the English Department.Born in Boston, he served in Italy and India with the American Field Service in World War II. He earned a bachelor of arts degree from Carroll College in Waukesha, Wis., and a master's of education degree from Harvard University. He was a freelance and features writer for Boston daily and weekly newspapers and magazines, as well as for education journals. [Honolulu Star Bulletin Wed. June 4, 2008] Nancy White, La Pietra's third Head of School, retired in June of 2007 after twelve years. White began her teaching career at Kamehameha Schools in 1962. [Pacific Business News, June 1, 2007] She also taught at MidPacific Institute, a private school on O'ahu. She was replaced by Mahina Eleneki Hugo, La Pietra's middle school dean.

Mahina Eleneki Hugo was named head of school at La Pietra-Hawaii School for Girls, replacing recently retired Nancy White. She is the fourth leader of the school and the first Hawaii-born person in that position.

She joined the state's only secular all-girls college preparatory school faculty in 1992. Most recently she was assistant head of school, dean of the middle school and associate admissions director.

The Kailua resident, 40, is a 1984 graduate of Sacred Hearts Academy. She earned a bachelor's degree in sociology and a master's in education in private school leadership from the University of Hawaii.

While at the university, she was a member of the 1987 NCAA Championship Rainbow Wahine volleyball team. Among the honors she garnered while on the team were NCAA Women's All-Conference Player, NCAA's Most Inspirational Player of the Year and the UH Circle of Honor award. [Pacific Business News, Friday, Oct. 5th, 2007]

Barbara Cox Anthony

On Monday, May 28th, Barbara Cox Anthony, La Pietra's founder passed away at the age of 84. According to Forbes Magazine Anthony, the daughter of three-time Ohio governor James Cox (who also founded Cox Enterprises) was worth 12.6 billion dollars and the richest woman in Hawaii. [Honolulu Advertiser, May 29th, 2007] Cox was replaced on La Pietra's board by Alice Guild.

Anthony married four times: Her first husband, Bradford Ripley, a naval aviator, died during World War II. The young widow met and married Stanley Kennedy while in Miami, where he was a member of the underwater demolition teams, the precursor to today's Navy SEALs. Stanley Kennedy was the son of the founder of Inter-Island Airways and its successor, Hawaiian Airlines. They moved here and she quickly took to the Islands, making it her home for the next 62 years. After their divorce, she married Glover, who died a few years later of a heart attack. Later, she wed Garner Anthony. Friends said she found much joy in her children and grandchildren. She is also remembered as an avid athlete who loved the outdoors. She'd competed in rodeos as a girl, and later other sports. She rode dirt bikes and raced cars. "A group of us played tennis at Beretania tennis court," recalled longtime friend Bill Morris. He quipped, "We allowed her to play with us as long as she brought the sandwiches and iced tea after the game." Actually, he added, she was a tennis standout, once winning a Miami tennis doubles championship with the late great Jack Kramer. Her activity level remained high despite advancing age. "She was snow skiing when she was 79 with an artificial hip, if that gives you an idea," Kennedy said. And she especially loved activity involving animals. "She was a great equestrian, and raised horses," Kennedy said. The Dayton Daily News, the first newspaper founded by her father, reported that in Hawaii, beneficiaries of her denonations included the Aloha United Way, a police officers charity, homeless shelters, animal rescue groups, hospitals, the YMCA, the Salvation Army and the Honolulu Academy of Arts. That love of animals also translated into support for the Hawaiian Humane Society, though throughout her life, much of her benefactor role was kept quiet. "She didn't want or need to take credit for her generosity," Morris said. "Every year Forbes came out, we'd learn that (she was the richest person in Hawai'i). She was rich in different ways. She was rich in heart." Listed by Forbes in March as the 45th richest person in the nation, she was the only Hawai'i resident to make the list of billionaires. She had homes at Diamond Head and on the Big Island and elsewhere outside Hawai'i. Anthony and her sister, Anne Cox Chambers, served on the board of Cox Enterprises. She became "the financial angel for La Pietra," said Morris, who met her about six decades ago, surfing in Waikiki. "Whenever they needed money, she supplied it," he said, adding that in addition to meeting the school's financial needs, she helped with the headmistress' quarters and scholarships. "She was very generous," Morris said. "She gave a lot of people scholarships, but without people knowing where it came from. She gave money to Punahou for scholarships, but didn't want them to know who gave it." It was her way of staying under the radar. "Every Monday, she'd get a foot-high stack of people asking for money," Morris said. "She didn't want to be given any sort of publicity about things. She knew if (her various contributions would be made public), she'd get, instead of one foot of requests, it'd be two feet." But when Anthony would hear about a girl who might not be able to make tuition at La Pietra, she was quick to help. "She was very supportive of our school," said Nancy White of La Pietra. "She really was a supporter of education for young women; she wanted them to have full lives." [Honolulu Advertiser, May 29, 2007]

La Pietra News

In 2006 La Pietra student Rachel Wagenman created a 21st century version of the traditional school newspaper, called the La Pietra News. Wagenman's Web based news site follows current events, reports on school academic and athletic events, provides a forum for opinions and advice columns, and posts images of school life. Wagenman, serving as editor, dreamed of creating a Web based news site since the age of six. [ La Pietra News]

External links

* [ School Website]

[ La Pietra in the News]

{| class="wikitable"La Pietra, Hawaii School For Girls
Mahina Hugo
Average class size
Student:teacher ratio
Lady Panthers
Royal and Powder Blue

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