School Info » History of Hilo High

History of Hilo High

During the 1880’s, if any youngster on the Big Island wanted to pursue his education beyond the eighth grade, he had to travel to Oahu where he would board and go to school. Miss Josephine Deyo, principal of Hilo Union School wanted to find a way to keep these young people home while furthering their education. She was also very concerned about those students who could not afford to travel to Honolulu to continue their education. School authorities hesitated but finally agreed to start a high school at Hilo Union School in September, 1906. Public interest in the high school, at first, was weak but was reconsidered when they realized that if this school did not work, then all high school students would again have to travel to Oahu to continue their education. Even with much opposition, Miss Deyo pursued successfully. Her devotion for high learning on the Big Island benefited many and is still benefiting us today.

Looking back at the location of Hilo HIgh School is very interesting. The first building stood on the Hilo Union campus and consisted of a wooden frame building including 3 classrooms on the first floor and a laboratory, library and assembly hall on the second floor. There were 25 students attending the high school.

In 1907, the school moved to the where the District Annex is presently located. It was then called Hilo Junior High School. By the time the first class graduated in 1909, only 7 of the original 25 were left. The school stayed at that location for 15 years.
The Auditorium was built in 1928. It was donated to the school by the Alumni Association. It was designed by a former Hilo High School Graduate who goes by the name of Frank Arakawa. The PALC (Preforming Arts Learning Center) currently uses the Auditorium for classes and plays.

Finally in 1922, Hilo Junior High School moved up Waianuenue Avenue to its present location. The only building on campus was the Makai Building. Since that time there have been many changes in the buildings and facilities over the years. The “wild jungle” of guava trees made way for the Mauka Building and the Auditorium Building. The patio area today was then only a gully full of weeds.

Now known as Hilo High School, the campus has expanded as the need for more students started to attend. Celebrating over 100 years of service to our community, Hilo High School has a rich history and legacy, one that is continuing the grow.