Building a path for women leaders

Summit + The St. Andrew's Schools

Oahu K-12 Schools
Place Downtown
Text Ikaika Hussey
Art Will Caron
Thread School of the Future

The St. Andrew’s Schools looks to the leadership of Queen Emma for inspiration as the schools improve and extend academic opportunities to the widest possible range of O‘ahu’s youth. Since 1867, The Priory has earned a reputation as one of Hawai‘i’s premier college preparatory programs for girls, graduating confident and articulate young women who go on to achieve greatness—in Hawaiʻi and around the world. The Queen Emma Pre School prepares preschool boys and girls to love learning. Now, with the establishment of St. Andrew’s Preparatory School for Boys, The St. Andrew’s Schools opens a new chapter on academic excellence for Hawai‘i and the nation. This bold new initiative brings the Schools' years of leadership in individualized learning to bear on one of the most urgent challenges facing America today: the education of boys.

Queen Emma Kaleleonalani, like many 19th century Hawaiian leaders, had high expectations for young people. It should be no surprise, then, that the school which she helped to establish, St. Andrews Priory School for Girls, is carrying on that mission (and also shares a motto with this magazine: “kulia i ka nu‘u.”) The esteemed school, now nearly 150 years old, has established Priory in the City, a program which connects young women directly to real-world professional experiences.

Bettina Mehnert, a leader in the Honolulu architectural community and principal of Architects Hawaii, is a supporter of the program.

“The Priory in the City program introduces young women to the various professions that exist here in Honolulu. It expands students’ horizons and stretches the perception of what they can be or become,” Mehnert told Summit. “It gives them an invaluable vision of what is possible for them in the future.”

Now in its third year, Priory in the City connects 75–80 sophomores, juniors and seniors of the urban Honolulu school to internships in the downtown business community.

“We’re footsteps from the seat of government and business,” Jen Grems, upper school director told Summit. “The program arose from a think tank of women leaders in business and the community. We wanted to apply a structure that provides leadership, networking and career exploration to our students.”

Bettina Mehnert speaks with Priory students in her downtown Honolulu office building

“We wanted a way that we could nurture the next generation,” program director Marcie Herring added. Students have been able to take a leadership role in the program itself. Last year’s junior class organized and developed the March 2016 Girls Summit—We Mean Business with the YWCA of O‘ahu.

“We pitched powerpoints to executives at the YWCA,” said Su Jung Maerki (‘16), who played a key role in raising funds for the Girls Summit, sponsored by the McInerny Foundation and Homestreet Bank. KITV’s Yunji de Nies gave a keynote address, and Honolulu business professionals led breakout sessions covering financial literacy, professionalism and interview techniques.

According to a survey conducted after the summit, 92 percent of participants felt they increased proficiency in a life or career skill.

Maerki is also using Priory in the City to make personal decisions about her post-secondary education and career. Her family business is endodontics—the world of root canals and dental surgery. And thanks to the Priory in the City program, she will be interning with a Honolulu endodontist.

Says the class of 2016 student: “I get a rare chance to see if I really like endodentistry while still in high school.”


Summit is Hawaii's magazine of ideas and style for the global citizen. We're named for Queen Kapiolani's motto, "kulia i ka nuu," strive for the summit. Summit is available on fine newsstands throughout North America and the Asia-Pacific region.

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Honolulu, Hawaii 96826
Ikaika Hussey
Creative Director
Mae Ariola
Will Caron
Copy Editor
Karen Shishido
Assistant Editor
James Charisma