After dedicating nearly half a century to the all-girls academy in Kaimuki, and becoming the first layperson to lead Sacred Hearts Academy, Betty White is retiring as head of school.

Follow her through the campus of Sacred Hearts Academy, and it won’t take much time to see how much White’s students adore her.

The last day of school also marks the end of an era, as White steps down in July from her role as principal.

"I just think it's time. This is actually my 50th year in teaching,” explained White.

After teaching for two years in her home-town of Southwest Virginia, White moved to Hawaii with her husband Emmet in 1971.  She began teaching at Sacred Hearts, and eventually became the principal 20 years later.

"I only wanted to be a good teacher.  I had no intentions or dreams of going into administration,” said White.

Since then, White's passion for mentoring young girls hasn't stopped.

"When I got here at Sacred Hearts, it sort of fell into place. Promoting and making sure that girls had the opportunity to be the best they could be just slowly developed,” said White.

"We develop grit thanks to her. She sets an example.  She's one of those leaders that is here first thing in the morning and is the last to leave,” said Noelani Oliver, with the Development Office of Sacred Hearts Academy. 

The school's first lay leader, White led Sacred Hearts from religious to lay instruction, helped boost staff, and created centers for performing and visual arts, science and computer labs.
An advocate of financial independence for women, White also paved the way for the school to offer symposiums in science, technology, engineering, and math to girls from all Hawai'i private and public schools.

"We want to make sure that our girls are financially secure.  It's the STEM fields that are going to bring in more lucrative salaries,” explained White.

As for what's next, White said her and her husband Emmett, who also just retired, are looking forward to traveling and spending time with family.

"We have seven little grandchildren,” explained White.

"Those who know her are kind of anxious to see what retirement will bring for her because she operates at 120 miles an hour,” said White’s son, George White.

"We're looking forward to deciding the rest of 2019,” said Emmet.

White was just given the "Ransome Award" by the National Coalition of Girls' Schools, for empowering girls.

"I'm going to miss everything. I'm going to miss the students, I'm going to miss the faculty, I'm going to miss the building.  I'm going to miss my office, the parents.  I'll definitely miss it because it's been very much a part of my life,” said White.

Uplifting, inspiring, and pushing girls to be their absolute best.
Betty White is one of Hawaii's Remarkable Women.