According to legend, Ha‘aheo was named because Kamehameha the Great once asked the people who lived here to grow huge amounts of taro to feed his army. He watched the people toil until the monumental task was completed, then ascended the hillside where our school now stands. He told the people this:
"Ha‘aheo wau i ka ‘oukou hana, a i kapa ‘ia keia wahi ‘o Ha‘aheo"
(I am proud of your work! This place I name Ha‘aheo, pride)"
Ha‘aheo School was established on March 5, 1888 to serve the children of sugar cane plantation workers in Wainaku. Reports indicate that 30 students were enrolled that first day, and they were taught by Ms. Helen Severence, Ha‘aheo’s first teacher and administrator. Ms. Severence commuted from Hilo every day on horseback. It wasn't until 1925 that there were enough students to warrant one class per grade level.