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Discovering the Treasures: Oahu’s Windward Side

(Sponsored) Once you drive through the lush ridges of the Koolau mountains, escaping the crowds and hustle of Honolulu, relaxation takes over. From Waimanalo to Kahaluu, Windward Oahu’s unique local businesses, scenic beauty, and friendly faces bring kamaaina and visitors alike to this low-key paradise.


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Live & Learn:

For generations, Oahu’s Eastside has grown well-rounded students and community-minded individuals. Parents can relax knowing their children are just a quick bus ride or walk from home at one of Windward Oahu’s many high-quality schools and colleges.

Photos: Courtesy of St John Vianney Parish School

Nestled at the base of the Koolau Mountains since 1965, St. John Vianney Parish School has played part in educating several generations of Windward Oahu families. The Enchanted Lakes school, with its intimate class sizes and Catholic-faith foundation, fosters effective communicators, critical and creative thinkers, and responsible and involved citizens. This Windward Oahu school offers its students exciting extracurricular opportunities in band, orchestra, hula, robotics, sports, Japanese language, and technology classes. Conveniently located by the Marine Corps Base Hawaii, the school welcomes many military families into the community. “It is our honor to offer military dependents a safe and caring environment with challenging curriculum as their parents serve our country,” says principal Caryn DeMello.


In the heart of Kailua town, St. Anthony Catholic School provides a balanced progressive and traditional education. As the oldest private school in Kailua, St. Anthony’s teaches Catholic values along with a stimulating academic curriculum. “Our students are well prepared for high school with an enriched curriculum and are regularly accepted into other, competitive, top private and Catholic schools,” says principal Bridget Olsen. Keeping up with the times, the school focuses on incorporating 21st Century learning and project-based learning with today’s latest technological elements such as interactive Promethean boards and iPads.

Photo: Courtesy of Le Jardin Academy

Upon a grassy hillside off of Kapaa Quarry Road, Le Jardin Academy grows topnotch students and athletes. Le Jardin is the largest independent school on the windward side of Oahu with an enrollment of 820 students in grades PreK through 12. As an International Baccalaureate World School, Le Jardin teaches a challenging academic curriculum balanced with community service initiatives. “Our emphasis on critical thinking and community service creates curious, independent learners who excel scholastically and develop a healthy and moral character,” says Cindy Herndon, director of marketing at Le Jardin Academy. These philosophies are exemplified in the fifth grade Exhibition—a team-oriented, student-run research project. “Exhibition is a culmination of what they’ve learned and what interests them,” explains K-5 principal Majken Johansson. “We want them to think globally and act locally. This year, some fifth graders explored the difference between street art and graffiti, another group pursued the topic of bullying in schools. It’s great to see them find ways to take action towards a specific topic.”

Photo: Courtesy of Trinity Christian School

Trinity Christian School also strives to raise worldly students. Situated just off the Pali Highway, the school combines Christian-based classical education with a focus on both global and local communities. The small K-12 school keeps class sizes at a max of 18, and provides additional aids and learning specialists to enhance the classroom. Trinity Christian School takes a trip in its senior capstone program, the Grand Tour of Europe, in which the students actually visit the historic European cities and sites from their studies. “We provide a unique and effective method of education that helps prepare our young men and women for further learning opportunities and helps them to become worldly citizens,” explains headmaster Stephen Sprague.

Photo: Courtesy Windward Community College

The beautiful Windward Community College (WCC) campus, tucked against a green ribbon of the Koolau range in Kaneohe, features outstanding facilities and resources to help East Oahu students pursue their dreams. The Paliku Theatre, Hokulani Imaginarium and Lanihuli Observatory bring the students’ studies to life with stage productions, hands-on research, and visual learning experiences. “Sometimes students don’t even want to leave campus, because of the peaceful open spaces and serene study environment,” explains Bonnie Beatson, marketing and public relations director at WCC. “Many students consider WCC like family.” Beatson says WCC strives to provide the best hands-on education possible in a nurturing environment and for an affordable price. Known for arts and sciences, WCC students excel in today’s professional world thanks to unique programs such as an Associate Degree in Veterinary Technology and the Nursing Pathway Program (a CNA-LPN-RN pathway program)—which combines prerequisites for nursing school along with Native Hawaiian healing practices for a well-rounded education.

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Honolulu Magazine June 2018
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