EE Ford Project of Interest - Priory in the City

Downtown Honolulu Is The New Classroom


What does an all-girls school, founded by Queen Emma over 145 years ago, know about innovation and collaboration? Just ask the EE Ford Foundation. The Foundation recently gave a $50,000 grant to St. Andrew’s Priory School to support Priory in the City, a downtown experience providing networking, mentoring, and internship opportunities for girls.

Located in Honolulu, Priory is in walking distance of the State Capitol, the business district, art museums and nonprofit organizations. Thanks to the generosity of the EE Ford Foundation, downtown Honolulu is the new classroom for Priory students.

Junior Neewen Navarrete said, “I told my mom that the program was well-worth the blisters I got as a result of walking around in bad shoes because I feel so much more competent as a leader due to the skills I’ve acquired and lessons I’ve learned.”

The downtown classroom consists of experiences at Capitol Place’s media room, the YWCA of Oahu, and the law firm of Ashford & Wriston. Power lunches with former ABC News Producer Noriko Namiki, YWCA of Oahu’s CEO Kimberly Miyazawa Frank, and Ashford & Wriston’s Managing Partner Kevin Herring gave the girls opportunities to learn from business and community leaders.

Senior Maya Rezzonico said, “From this program, I learned how to write proper thank you notes, how to collaborate, how to take on responsibilities, how to prepare and excel in job interviews, how to talk to the media, how to dress, and pretty much how to become a successful woman in the business world and be where I want to be.”

Priory Head of School Sandra Theunick said, “This idea started when we formed a think-tank of women to create an educational experience that would take advantage of our downtown location, provide not only career and life skills training for our girls, but also provide an opportunity to develop qualities that are characteristic of a globally minded citizen.”

The think-tank consisted of women such as Barbra Pleadwell, Hastings & Pleadwell Partner; Dew-Anne Langcaon, Ho’okele Health Innovations CEO; Judy Pietsch, Priory Board Chair; Marti Steele, Priory Board Trustee; Kimberly Miyazawa Frank, YWCA of Oahu CEO; Nancy Pace, M.D., Rotary Club of Honolulu President; and Marcie Uehara Herring, former Junior League of Honolulu President.

The school sends a special mahalo to community and business leaders for inspiring Priory to leverage its downtown location. As they say in real estate, “It’s location, location, location!”

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