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2012 Founders & Visionaries - Wahine Edition

(page 2 of 6)

Sacred Hearts Academy

Betty White, Sacred Hearts Academy Head of School

A confident, independent woman who values community service, religion and education, Betty White, Head of School for Sacred Hearts Academy, embodies the very traits the school aims to instill in its students. Sacred Hearts Academy offers a robust college-preparatory curriculum, emphasizing science, technology, engineering and math, resulting in 100 percent college matriculation.  Athletics and a vibrant selection of courses in visual and performing arts and the humanities help develop students’ potential.

Founded by a religious order in 1909, the all-girls school emphasizes character development in its diverse curriculum. “We want our girls to be competent, compassionate, and ready for college and a career,” White says. “We hope that while they are with us they develop a voice as well as the confidence to use it.”

White, who has been with the school for more than 42 years, constantly pushes to keep the school’s curriculum in tune with the ever-changing technology and needs of society. The school focuses on what it refers to as STEM—science, technology, engineering and mathematics—through not only its classes but also through project-based learning. They often bring in real-world professionals from companies such as BAE Systems, HEI and Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard to serve as mentors for the students. The students also engage in national engineering and robotics competitions, and it is the only high school in the nation to serve as a NASA Ground Station for radio telebridge contacts.

“The purpose of good programming is to empower girls to succeed in math, science, technology and engineering careers where women have been traditionally underrepresented,” White says. Yet, she emphasizes the value of a well-balanced college preparatory curriculum that also includes outstanding performing and visual arts. 

An essential aspect of instilling values into the students lies in serving the community. “Service is big here,” White says. “It is one of the most basic tenets of our mission.”

The students begin service work in kindergarten, where they have been known to make biscuits for animal shelters, and the work continues all the way until they graduate. “We received recognition as a 2007 National School of Character,” White says. “This was based on character education at the school, including 60,000 hours of community service performed annually by the students.”

Putting her soul into her work, White tears up when asked what the school means to her. “I have been here for almost my entire professional life,” she says. “It is a privilege to be a member of such a community. I cannot imagine another one that combines talent, industry and warmth in quite the same way.  We are giving the girls an extraordinary and uncommon education.”


Sacred Hearts Academy
3253 Waialae Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96816


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