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World’s Largest, Wealthiest Private School Admits Only Second Non-Native in Over 50 Years Under Controversial Admissions Policy


The world’s largest and wealthiest private school system, Hawaii’s Kamehameha Schools, has admitted only the second non-native Hawaiian under its controversial admissions policy.

Articles this week in four international publications are first with breaking news about the admissions offer to a non-native Hawaiian, the first since the Kalani Rosell controversy of 2002. According to Education Letter, in its lead story titled “World’s Wealthiest Private School Admitting Second Non-Hawaiian,” Kamehameha Schools this month offered admission to a non-native Hawaiian under its Hawaiians first preference policy. The article can be viewed at The Wall Street Journal Professional Edition at

Education Letter quotes a Kamehameha trustees letter saying, “As with our regular admissions, we follow our admissions preference policy, inviting students of Native Hawaiian ancestry for each grade level first before inviting all others. This summer, we invited approximately 45 students from the wait pool to join our campus high school ohana [family]. One of them is not Hawaiian.”

According to an Investment Weekly News story titled “Hawaii Financial Giant, Kamehameha Schools, Involved in Controversy Again,” Kamehameha Schools, a former top shareholder at Goldman Sachs, is opening its campus doors to a non-Hawaiian for only the second time in more than fifty years. The article can be viewed at The Wall Street Journal Professional Edition at

Entertainment Newsweekly’s lead story is “Memoir and Screenplay about Racism in Hawaii in Pre-Development.” The publication is reporting that the memoir and movie are being written by award-winning journalist and media executive C.W. Henderson. Entertainment Newsweekly reports that the projects, now in pre-development, have a working title of “Yale is God,” and that the title comes from the themes of the memoir and movie, which focus not only on racism, but also on religion, relationships, and redemption. The article can be viewed at The Wall Street Journal Professional Edition at

The boy at the center of the memoir and movie, Kalani Rosell, was the first non-Hawaiian admitted to Kamehameha Schools, which has an endowment valued at $7.2 billion. Rosell was the first Caucasian admitted under the school’s preference policy, also referred to as “Hawaiians first.”

The newsweekly Ivy League Week reports that Rosell is now a senior at Yale University. According to his mother, Maura Rosell of New Haven, Connecticut, and Wailuku, Maui, he was recently awarded a Yale Environmental Summer Research Fellowship, and he is a member of the prestigious Yale varsity lightweight men’s rowing team. In addition to being an athlete and scholar, he is a well-known ballet dancer, currently with the New Haven Ballet. At Yale he is majoring in international studies and environmental studies.

Adam Liptak, the prominent New York Times Supreme Court correspondent, wrote a front page account in 2002 about Rosell and the Kamehameha controversy. The article can be viewed at The New York Times at


 Kamehameha Schools
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