POSTED: 23 November 2004 - 8:00pm HST

Uncle Louis sings the school song used in the 1920's

an image from Eleele Elementary School's website

by Juan WIlson 23 November 2004

Uncle Louis Almodova Jr (the Mayor of Salt Pond Beach Park) found my wife, Linda, and I at a picnic table as we dried off after a swim last weekend. He told us about an invitation he had to go to Eleele School and visit his great-granddaughter's classroom and tell them a bit of history about the school.

Uncle Louis was at Eleele School in the early 1920's and it was the only school he ever attended. He still knew the schools athletic song and sang it for us at the beach under a palm tree.


Eleele Sports Class Song

There's a school on the hill above the sea,

with a team that knows how to play,

and when they get the ball,

you'll have no chance at all,

our boys are sure to win the game.

Eleele's name will mark the fame

when they win in the grand old way.

There's a school on the hill above the sea,

with a team that knows how to play,

Eleele, Eleele is the school that we love,

Eleele, Eleele, Eleele, black and gold.



I found a brief history of Eleele School on the web and was surprised at how long ago the school was founded.


'Ele'ele School, formerly known as Hanapepe School, began in the late 1830's probably as a private school since the Department of Public Instruction was not established until 1840.  The date 1837 was determined through a 1937 Mo'olelo , the school yearbook, which celebrated the school's 100th anniversary.

Early records refer to an "outstation" in Hanapepe during the late 1830's.  This was a "place where people gathered around a minister for informal instruction in the native tongue, Hawaiian, religious readings, and other subjects."  The first official documentation of Hanapepe School was in the 1847 Department of Public Instruction report.

Eventually, by 1860, there were three Hanapepe Schools: Hanapepe Uka, Hanapepe Kai, and Puulima.  However the condition of the buildings was so poor that the schools were gradually torn down and consolidated into one school.

When it came time to rebuild, a suitable site could not be found in Hanapepe, so Hanapepe School was rebuilt on the bluff in 'Ele'ele on seven and a half acres acquired from McBryde Sugar Company.  Hanapepe School was completed and open for classes in September 1912.  It was officially renamed 'Ele'ele School in 1915.  Through further land acquisitions from McBryde in 1928 and in 1940 the campus was increased to 14.844 acres.

In 1971 and 1972 the new music building and new cafeteria were built.  Construction of a new administration building began in 1977 and was completed in 1978.  This replaced the one built in 1912.  It was also in 1977 that the seventh and eighth grades were transferred to Waimea Canyon School.  In 1986 the enrollment increased with the closing of Kaumakani School (formerly Makaweli School).

Ele'ele School celebrated its 150th anniversary during April 27 to May 2, 1987.  A monument with a bronze plaque proclaiming the sesquicentennial was built on the campus.  Enclosed within the monument is a time capsule to be opened at the 200th anniversary.

Presently, 'Ele'ele School has 14 buildings with 551 students in 23 homerooms and a professional staff of 36.
Historical information summarized from:  "'Ele'ele School Sesquicentennial, 150 Years of Education in West Kauai, 1837-1987" by Shurei Hirozawa in 'Ele'ele School, 150 Years of Memories, Sesquicentennial Celebration, 1937-1987.


See also:
The Caretaker of Salt Pond
Uncle Louis remembers the Eleele School Song
Kauai Rhumba Kings
Two Tales from Uncle Louis Almodova
The Legend of the Menehune Fish Pond
The Legend of Spouting Horn
Hanapepe Valley Mochi Pounding
Da Mayor of Salt Pond
Salt Pond Pavilion named for Uncle Louis


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