History

Mt. Olomana (left) Playscapes by Artist Mamoru Sato (right)

Maunawili Elementary School is blessed with a setting of natural beauty and tranquility. If you are standing on the school's playfield, it has a sweeping view of Mt. Olomana and the Koolaus. On rainy days, the children at the school marvel at the numerous waterfalls cascading down the Koolau Mountain chain. During sunrises, a light morning mist might occur and Mt. Olomana will often glow with a pinkish hue. Rainbows are abundant over the campus.

The areas served by Maunawili School are rich in Hawaiian history. Ancient Hawaiians lit bonfires on the two peaks of Mt. Olomana during celebrations. The flat area of Maunawili near Olomana was used for war games to train young warriors. These games included running, spear-throwing, spear-dodging, and other activities requiring physical effort.

Two important heiau still remain near Maunawili School: Ulupo near the Kukunono subdivision, and Pahukini near the present-day landfill. The land around these heiau was very fertile, and the many streams of Maunawili supported extensive taro, loi and the fishpond at Kawainui. Prior to the construction of Maunawili School, the area hosted a rice field and later a cow pasture. A remnant of this pasture still exists, and a herd of cows and a few bulls can be seen occasionally peering over the back fence of the school which separates the campus from the pasture.

Just across the street from well-maintained single-dwelling residences and on a slight slope, the campus is a mantle of flowers, shrubbery and trees. The generous landscaping is obviously the result of many people making a statement about the school being a special place for the children and community. This message is further conveyed by "Playscapes," five smooth rock sculptures created by Mamoru Sato in the front of the campus. These sculptures were created to encourage children to play on them.

Since 1958, Maunawili School has served a diverse student population from the surrounding communities of Olomana, Pohakapu, Maunawili, and Kukunono. At present, a larger number of students are of Hawaiian, part-Hawaiian, Caucasian, or Japanese ancestry. However, the student population still contains a mixture of diverse ethnicity. Our students demonstrate behaviors that indicate they genuinely enjoy coming to Maunawili School. The school is a setting in which they feel safe and accepted. On May 22, 2009, Maunawili Elementary celebrated its 50th birthday anniversary. A link from our initial web page highlights some of the festivities.

During the Spring and Summer of 2003, Maunawili received a major renovation after 40 years of use. The interior of all classrooms were renovated with new floor tiles, new "white boards," new paint, new lights, and some sink cabinets. Both the interior and exterior of the office and the cafetorium were also renovated. The exterior of the library was painted. In addition, reroofing was done on Building A and the cafetorium. New wind breakers were installed on all walkways and non-skid stripes were painted on the walkways. Many hours were also spent by staff in repainting the red-brick exteriors of Buildings A-E. The students returned to a campus in the Fall of 2003 that was bright and attractive. Subsequent to the 2003 renovation, a new fire alarm and bell system have been installed.