St. Andrew's Priory School an all-girls school no longer

Published On: Oct 23 2013 06:11:21 PM HST   Updated On: Oct 24 2013 06:44:28 AM HST

St. Andrew's Priory School has been an all-girls school since its inception in 1867.

For 147 years, St. Andrew's has been preparing girls for the future.

"This experience really helped me speak up more in class, gain confidence," said student Tessa Antonio-Tolentino.

"So I noticed when I came here, it was a lot easier for me to open up, to feel like I'm safe when I answer questions," said student Nicole Heafner.

But this year brings new names, changing signs, and a dramatic turn for one of Hawaii's oldest schools. It now falls under a new umbrella -- St. Andrew's Schools, encompassing St. Andrew's Priory, Queen Emma Elementary -- and St. Andrew's Prep, solely for boys, kindergarten through fifth grade.

Click here for Lara Yamada's report.

"So we were looking at other ways to respond to the economy, because discretionary dollars are fewer," said Sandra Theunick, Head of Schools.

Enrollment is at about 340 this year, down from its peak of 500 before the economy tanked in 2008.

The new addition means more money, but also an opportunity to help boys the way it's helped girls.

"Boys' brains develop at different times, at different rates and in different areas compared to girls," said Sophie Halliday, director of studies.

Studies show girls develop earlier in reading and writing. Boys develop earlier with spatial reasoning and geometry. Boys also crave more physical activity and more space to explore, researchers say.

"We can translate into doing the same thing for boys, because the goal is the same," Theunick said.

Nicole and Tessa, both seniors, are interested in careers in medicine.
Gaining the kind of confidence -- they hope -- a new school of boys will, too.

"We just have a new addition to our family," Antonio-Tolentino said.


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