Parent and alumnus Clyde Souza made sure things ran smoothly for the centennial celebration at Queen Kaahumanu Elementary School.
For Souza, it was also a family affair.
Souza directed incoming cars at the school parking lot. Souza's 5-year-old son, Bronson, sang the Queen Kaahumanu school song alongside his kindergarten classmates. Bronson's older sister, fifth-grader Tatiana Balubar, played the part of Queen Kaahumanu, dressed in a bright gold wrap and a gold feathered haku lei.
Parents filled the school cafeteria as their children performed songs, dances and chants in honor of Queen Kaahumanu at the school's centennial celebration yesterday.
"We're celebrating the 100th year after the name has been changed," said principal Amy Kwock.
In 1887, the school opened and was originally named the Beretania Street English School.
Because Kaahumanu stressed the importance of learning during her reign, the Board of Education renamed the school Queen Kaahumanu Elementary School in 1900.
Kawika Mersberg and Noralei Pahia, Hawaiian studies instructors at the school, began teaching the children chants and dances in honor of the queen in January.
"They were willing to give up their recess to practice," said Kwock.
Fourth-graders performed the Hana chant, which spoke about the queen's birthplace in Maui. First-graders expressed Kaahumanu's interest in kite flying with a song, Ku'ulupe.
Fifth-graders sang "E pua ana ka makani," a song composed for the queen, describing her accomplishments.
Kealiiolulu Gora, spokesman of Ka Lahui Hawaii, said that the children did "an extremely wonderful and historic cultural presentation of the life and times of Queen Kaahumanu."
"It was so heartfelt," said Gora.
Queen Kaahumanu was born in Hana, Maui. She was known for her intelligence and political influence.
In 1785, at age 17, Kaahumanu married Kamehameha I.
When Kamehameha I died in 1819, Kaahumanu became co-ruler of Hawaii along with Liholiho, Kamehameha's successor.
In 1821, two missionaries, Mr. and Mrs. Hiram Bingham, taught Kaahumanu how to read and write. One of the laws Kaahumanu proclaimed in 1824 stated, "When schools are established, all people must learn."
A year later, Kaahumanu set up schools in Hawaii and ordered people to attend.
Public elementary schools that have celebrated their 100th anniversary (district listed first):
Honolulu Royal School 1839
Honolulu Pauoa Elementary 1847
Honolulu Manoa Elementary 1854
Honolulu Waikiki 1880
Big Island Pahala Elementary 1881
Kauai Wilcox Elementary 1881
Windward Waiahole Elementary 1863
Big Island Kalanianaole Intermediate and Elementary 1884
Honolulu Kuhio Elementary 1884
Honolulu Kauluwela Elementary 1884
Big Island Haaheo Elementary 1888
Honolulu Kalihi Waena Elementary 1888
Kauai Kekaha Elementary 1888
Big Island Honokaa High/Elementary 1889
Big Island Holualoa Elementary 1896
Honolulu Maemae Elementary 1896
Leeward Waipahu Elementary 1899
Honolulu Kaiulani Elementary 1899
-- Source: Department of Education