School Traditions

Celebrate what it means to be Ka Makani!

As a school, we have been fortunate to serve our community and draw inspiration from each other and this island for over 70 years. We cultivate our traditions—and create new ones—out of gratitude and celebration for all Ka Makani who’ve come before us, and all those who will follow after. Come join the legacy we share!

At the Lower School, traditions like May Day, class musicals, and the Keiki Triathlon fill the school year with fun and exuberant learning.

At the Middle School, Theme Week is a major highlight, along with Makahiki season, the eighth grade transition program, and an array of other events.

Upper School traditions

HPA Olympics

Our biggest event of the year, the HPA Olympics lasts three days and involves the entire Upper School community. Former faculty member Zeke Knight and his psychology class launched the event in 1979, and it’s still going strong. Classes compete against each other in over 100 creative events, including hula competition, paintball, circle sit, class cheer, beach clean-up, a foodbank drive, and the Zephyr writing competition, just to name a few. The games conclude with a raucous lip-sync competition and stunning talent show.

Dorm Wars

This friendly dorm competition begins at the opening of school and runs all year long. It’s a great way to foster dorm kinship and welcome new boarding students into the fold. We kick off with a wacky opening ceremony followed by fun and silly competitions in the gym. Over the course of the year, we hold smaller competitions, culminating with an end-of-year residential block party that includes street hockey and other events. Once we’ve tallied a year’s worth of points, we award the “Jug of Awesomeness” to the winning dorm, which houses the trophy until the following year.

Graduation

Every year in May, HPA celebrates its mighty seniors as they move into the world. Over 1,000 people pack into Castle Gymnasium to watch as the soon-to-be graduates celebrate their last time together as a class. The graduates are dressed in white, wearing lei and walking barefoot. The gym itself is beautifully decorated with flowers and plants from around the island. In addition to the traditional speeches and awarding of diplomas, the ceremony includes hula and mele (chant), including “Hole Waimea,” a mele that has been sung at HPA graduation over many decades. These are given as a gift from the senior class to their mentors, family, and all others who supported them at HPA.

Students taking the September 19 ACT

Check-in will begin at 7:30 am at Rutgers Tennis Center. Students must have been on the Big Island for at least 15 consecutive days prior to testing or they will not be admitted, per the governor's mandate. Any student from an off-island school must bring a copy of their airline ticket showing their date of arrival on the Big Island — no exceptions.

Students will be required to fill out a COVID-19 questionnaire and have a touchless temperature taken upon arrival. Anyone with a temperature over 99.9 degrees will not be admitted. All examinees must have a mask, photo ID, and No. 2 pencils. Please do not forget an approved calculator. It is recommended that students bring a water bottle and snack. No water fountains are available on campus.