What’s Hawaii’s Most Expensive High School? It’s not Punahou School.



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The most expensive high school in the state isn’t on Oahu, it’s actually Hawaii Preparatory Academy on the Big Island, and tuition can top more than $50,000.

Located in Kamuela, Hawaii Preparatory Academy’s tuition for students in grades 9 through 12 is $22,300 (Punahou School is $19,950, and that’s for grades K through 12.) It’s also a boarding school, with tuition ranging in price for boarders from $38,300 to $52,000 for international students.

Hawaii Preparatory Academy was an inspiration for local author Kaui Hart Hemmings, as the school that the main character’s troubled teenage daughter attends in the novel The Descendants’ (remember the football-field-beer-bottle-throwing scene?)

Fictional characters aside, who goes to Hawaii Preparatory Academy? Alumni include Ed Case and author Graham Salisbury (Under the Blood Red Sun). Because the Big Island also hosts a slew of Hawaii’s most expensive homes, along the Kohala Coast, it’s probably safe to assume that a few students may come from that neighborhood. Also, Chinese nationals are showing interest. According to Hawaii Preparatory Academy’s website, they are getting an “unprecedented demand for interviews from China.”

The school boasts two campuses, one in Waimea, and the other a sprawling 220 acres at the foot of the Kohala Mountains. Families get a lot of bang for their buck. There’s a 6,100 square-foot science facility, which opened in 2010, sustainability programs and a wealth of sports and recreational activities, including equestrian, tennis and theater production, not to mention access to the Big Island’s great outdoors.

 

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