Hawaii's Schools

Seabury Hall students gather on the lawn of Cooper House for a May Day program. The building, built in 1929 as a home for Dr. William Baldwin, has evolved into a central campus site housing offices, classrooms, a chapel and a cafeteria.

Building on excellence

Seabury Hall plans renovations
with state-of-the-art classrooms and
improved vehicle access

As part of Seabury Hall's "campaign for excellence," school officials have begun a four-year project to improve the campus. The school's existing 22 acres will more than double to 55 acres.

One of the many important changes will be reconfiguring the school plan to allow the separation of cars and pedestrians. The morning and afternoon congestion of cars that come in and out of Seabury Hall causes a great deal of traffic at the entrance.

The new plan includes a roundabout, where parents will drop off their children and pick them up more easily at the end of the day.

An entirely new high school building is planned. Its architecture will be based on Cooper House, which now contains offices, classrooms, a chapel and a cafeteria. An expanded building is also under construction for the middle school students and faculty.

Cooper House was built in 1929 for Dr. William Baldwin. The designer of the estate, Charles W. Dickey, was one of Hawaii's most outstanding architects. After Dr. Baldwin's death, the house was put up for sale.

When the advertisement for the property, also known as "Maunalei," appeared in the Nov. 19, 1944, edition of the Honolulu Advertiser, it read: "Situated at an elevation where it is constantly cool, this five-bedroom house designed by Honolulu's leading architect is the last word in modern planning, comfort and construction ... The building is of double wall construction, with an exterior finish of cement stucco. The interior has the finest of plaster finishes. The roof is of flat line and the floors are hardwood throughout."

Katherine Cooper, also known as "Aunt Kate," was looking for such an estate. She purchased the house in 1945 for approximately $109,000.

Foreseeing a need for a girl's boarding school, Cooper bequeathed her estate to the Episcopal Church of Hawaii. When Aunt Kate died in 1963, Cooper House became the heart of Seabury Hall. The five-car garage on the property was converted into classrooms for the 51 girls attending the school.

Forty years later, girls as well as boys are still being educated in Aunt Kate's converted garage. The school has grown into a coed school since then, with 388 students in grades six through 12.

The planned campus improvements will help students finally move out of Aunt Kate's garage and into larger, state-of-the-art classrooms.

A new parking lot, also under construction, will hold the growing number of student vehicles.

"We outgrew the current facilities 20 years ago," says headmaster Joseph Schmidt. "In order to educate young people for the challenges of the 21st century, it is imperative that we provide appropriate facilities."


Morning assembly
reinforces community

On the slopes of Haleakala, overlooking the foam-bordered beaches of Maui, Seabury Hall's upcountry campus begins to stir around 7 a.m. More than 50 teachers and nearly 400 students in grades six through 12 arrive, meet with friends and prepare for classes, warming the crisp morning air with the enthusiasm and community spirit of Seabury Hall.

Perhaps the most concentrated experience of this energy is the morning assembly held Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. As all of the students and faculty gather in the Performing Arts Center, students greet their faculty advisers. The individual attention provided to each student by advisers, deans, and counselors is a unique benefit of the school's small size; it is impossible to remain anonymous.

Assembly begins with morning reflection -- a quiet moment led by a teacher, student or guest. As an independent school affiliated with the Episcopal Church, Seabury promotes spiritual reflection and growth to parallel academic development.

As morning assembly continues, the college counselor announces the most recent student acceptances to college. Seabury students are well-prepared for college-level work, and they consistently gain admission to the nation's top universities with the confidence and skills needed to succeed.

Morning assemblies, held on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, help focus students on the day ahead.

Spartans also shine outside of the classroom in athletics, competing in Maui Interscholastic League sports like cross country, volleyball, football, swimming, baseball and basketball. Students are encouraged to challenge themselves outside of their perceived limits.

Many students participate in drama productions, ranging from musicals to Shakespearean plays to student-written-and-directed one act plays. Band and dance concerts also showcase students' well-practiced skills in the performing arts.

Assembly never ends without at least one announcement about community service, a graduation requirement. Students constantly rally their peers to participate in projects such as Kids Helping Kids tutoring, the Philosophy Club's biweekly meal for the homeless, the Terry Fox Run and the Relay for Life.

Students are active in so many different areas that morning assembly announcements often vary. The yearbook may ask clubs to meet for group pictures; the electric car team may demonstrate their creation; the student government may announce school activities; AP Art students may promote an exhibition; or students may announce their friends' birthdays.

Students and teachers leave the assembly prepared for another intense day of academics, athletics, arts, community service, and activities. As supportive as it is challenging, this tight-knit community forms a crucible for the development of children into skilled and confident young men and women.


About this page

Each week, Hawaii's teenage reporters and photographers tell us about their high school. This week's school is Seabury Hall on Maui.

Newspaper: Seabury Tides
Editor: Jessie Rhodes
Copy editor: Mallory James
Faculty adviser: Susan Pirsch
Next week: Hanalani School

Spartan facts

Address: 480 Olinda Road, Makawao, HI 96768
Phone: (808) 572-7235
Web site:
Headmaster: Joseph J. Schmidt
Established: 1964
Colors: Red, white, and blue
Nickname: Spartans
Enrollment: 388


You asked...

"What is the most important lesson you have learned at Seabury Hall?"

Jennie Dunn
"Seabury Hall has taught me the importance of time management and how to pursue my interests while striving academically."

Paisly Bender
"Seabury has taught me the importance of thinking for myself and has helped me gain the confidence to do so."

Kiani Spangler
"Seabury has taught me that it is important to maintain a well-balanced life between sports, school work and friends."

Lacie Rhodes
"The most important thing I have learned here at Seabury is that taking the time to form relationships with the teachers allows you to strive to your full academic potential."

Nicole Shearer
"The most important thing I have learned here at Seabury is how to find a good group of positive friends."

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