Kaua‘i educator, Bernice Hundley

Bernice Emilie Laniuma Hundley (1882-1965), for whom the Bernice Hundley Gym at Kaua‘i’s Kapa‘a High School is named, was born in Anahola, Kaua‘i, the daughter of Emmalia Williams Hundley, a Hawaiian woman who was a friend and attendant to Queen Emma.

Her father, Samuel Napoleon Hundley, was a Virginian who’d served as a Confederate cavalry officer under Gen. Stonewall Jackson during the American Civil War.   

Samuel Hundley had come to Kaua‘i in 1878, and in 1885, set up Kaua‘i’s first sugar diffusion process at Col. Zephaniah Spalding’s Makee Sugar Co. mill in Kealia.  

In the sugar diffusion process, sugar is extracted by repeated hot water washings of sugarcane that has been cut into small pieces.  

Mr. Hundley went on to become head luna at Makee.

A graduate of Punahou, Miss Hundley continued her education at the Washburn School in San Jose, Calif., Stanford University and Heald’s Business College.

Upon her return to Kaua‘i, she became secretary to the manager of Makee Sugar Co. for a time before beginning her long career in education as a substitute teacher at Kapa‘a School in 1908. She taught at Kapa‘a School until 1915, when she was appointed principal.

A year later, she was promoted to supervising school principal of Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau, a position she held until her retirement in 1947.

Miss Hundley noted that when she first became a teacher in 1908 there were 17 schools in Kaua‘i County, with 55 teachers and 2,558 students. Schools were located at Ha‘ena, Hanalei, Kilauea, Ko‘olau, Anahola, Kapa‘a, Hanama‘ulu, Lihu‘e, Hule‘ia, Koloa, Kalaheo, Hanapepe, Makaweli, Waimea, Kekaha, Mana and Ni‘ihau.

At that time there were also three private schools on Kaua‘i, two in Lihu‘e and one at Koloa, with a total of four teachers and 142 students.

When Miss Hundley retired 39 years later, Kaua‘i had 20 schools, about 300 teachers and 7,000 pupils.

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