Social Studies

In order to graduate literate, aware and concerned citizens, the Academy Social Studies Department is committed to providing a learning environment in which students will:

  • learn the skills necessary for personal success in a rapidly changing society – questioning, writing, reading, listening, speaking, discussing, researching – and those leading to computer literacy
  • develop analytical strategies that promote fair-minded and logical points of view
  • derive historical significance from events through understanding the impact of the past on the present and future
  • respect a citizen’s rights and responsibilities and the methods by which our government functions
  • develop a sense of their unique cultural identities along with an appreciation of the diversity of humankind
  • learn how to function as positive, contributing members of society

Graduation Requirements

Three and a half credits must be earned, beginning with a required “Gateway” course taken in the 9th grade which may be either Introduction to Social Studies (one-half credit) or World Civilizations (one credit). After completing the Gateway course, students must take at least one semester of Asian History in Grade 10, one of the year-long U.S. History options in Grade 11, and both European History and Senior Capstone in Grade 12. Any remaining credits may be fulfilled by taking any of the department electives.

Only one credit in Summer School classes may be applied towards the three and one-half credits required for graduation. A student may take either ISS between 8th and 9th grades or Asian History between 9th and 10th grades, but not both; and either the first half of U.S. History between 10th and 11th grades or either of the two required senior courses between 11th and 12th grades, but not both.

Course Offerings

Introduction to Social Studies

The goal of the ISS course is to introduce a variety of social sciences, including but not limited to history, politics, economics, anthropology, and geography. As a Gateway course for 9th graders in the Academy, skills such as reading, writing, thinking, and note taking are emphasized. Particular emphasis is given to the development of analytical writing, formulating a thesis supported by evidence, and organizing an essay into a clear and logical format. Class time is used for discussions, group work, library research, individual focused writing, and other varied activities.

Each quarter, students are given ample time to create an extensive group research project. Each student is required to maintain an organized notebook which will be turned in for evaluation.

Gateway course – open to Grade 9. Semester course (fall semester only). One-half credit. Satisfies Social Studies graduation requirement.

Introduction to Social Studies – Hawai‘i – SUMMER 2017

This 4-week version of ISS offers another option to the required gateway course for 9th graders. While the core ISS content and skills remain the same, this version frames the content (5 disciplines of the social science: historiography, anthropology, geography, political science, economics) around the cultural region of Hawai‘i. This course offers learning opportunities outside of the classroom to extend and apply the concepts of the course to real-world issues. Students design inquiry-based service action projects connected to the cultural region of Hawai‘i in order to see firsthand what it means to be part of the solution and make a difference in the community.

Gateway course – open to Grade 9. Semester course (summer only). One-half credit. Satisfies Social Studies graduation requirement; and Spiritual, Ethical, Community Responsibility graduation requirement.

World Civilizations

This course examines in some detail significant time periods in world history. As a Gateway course for 9th graders in the Academy, skills such as reading, writing, thinking, note taking, formulating a thesis supported by evidence, and organizing an essay are emphasized through the study of a variety of cultures. Emphasis is also given to contemporary issues in political, social and economic areas in the regions covered. Individual and group work will be assigned.

Gateway course – open to Grade 9. Year course. One credit. Satisfies Social Studies graduation requirement.

Asian History – Semester

This course acquaints students with the unique civilizations of China and Japan. Its major goal is to foster intercultural awareness and understanding of the historical forces that have shaped the ways of life and patterns of thinking of these cultures. The course emphasizes family systems, social structures, religious beliefs, and philosophical ideas of these non-Western cultures, with a special emphasis on literature.

The course encourages class participation and individual responsibility. Students are expected to keep well-organized notebooks that include notes on films and discussion questions, which then form the basis for seminar discussions. In addition to reading the textbook, students complete map and atlas assignments, a variety of readings from Asian literature, and individual and group projects on various Asian themes. The student’s grade is based on written assignments (homework and formal essays), regular examinations, participation, discussion, and the group project.

Open to Grade 10. Prerequisite: a Gateway course. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies Social Studies graduation requirement.

Asian History Summer Travel

This course acquaints students with the unique eras of China and Japan during the pre-travel and post-travel classes, while emphasizing the learning goals and global citizenship while in country. Its major goal is to foster intercultural awareness and understanding of the historical forces that have shaped the ways of life and patterns of thinking of these cultures. The course emphasizes family systems, social structures, religious belief, and philosophical ideas of these non-Western cultures, with a special emphasis on literature, potential homestay experiences and societal changes.

The course engages class participation and individual responsibility. Students are expected to keep well-organized notes that include notes on films, discussion questions, and on-site visits, that will form the basis of seminar discussions. In addition to reading the class texts, students complete map and atlas assignments, readings from Asian literature, and individual and group projects on various Asian History themes. The student’s grade is based on written assignments (homework and formal essays), examinations, demonstrated cultural competency development while traveling, citizenship, participation, discussions, and projects.

Open to Grade 10. Prerequisite: a Gateway course. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies Social Studies graduation requirement

Asian History – Year

Throughout the year, students explore the unique civilizations of South, East and Southeast Asia. The course’s major goal is to foster intercultural awareness and understanding of the historical forces that have shaped Asian ways of life and patterns of thinking. This course examines family systems, social structures, ethical systems and artistic expression during the period of relative isolation; and the change and continuity of these patterns under the impact of the West and modernization.

The course encourages class participation and individual responsibility. Students are expected to keep well-organized notebooks with all their class notes, homework and film notes. In addition to reading the textbook, students complete atlas and map assignments and a variety of readings from Asian literature. Students also have the opportunity to teach their classmates, making special presentations on selected topics. The student’s grade is based on written assignments (homework and formal essays), regular tests and quizzes, class participation and discussion, and a project presentation.

Open to Grade 10. Prerequisite: a Gateway course. Year course. One credit. Satisfies Social Studies graduation requirement and Spiritual, Ethical, Community Responsibility graduation requirement.

Contemporary Issues

This elective is designed to expand the horizons for students interested in state, national, and international issues. Students research and discuss modern topics in government policies, crime and punishment, human rights, social questions, biological/medical dilemmas, military interventions, and others as they arise. Controversial subjects are considered in an academic setting in an effort to enhance well-informed opinions. The student’s grade is based on quizzes, essay tests, term papers, a debate, and a final examination.

Open to Grades 9, 10. Prerequisite: a Gateway course. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies Social Studies graduation requirement.

Hawaiian Culture

What is Hawaiian culture? What forces and values shaped and changed Hawaiian culture? What does it mean to be Polynesian today? What is universal and timeless about Hawaiian culture? Ka Punahou, the living spring, continues to renew and sustain Punahou’s Hawaiian roots by incorporating Hawaiian Studies as part of its Social Studies grades 9 and 10 elective curriculum. Students and teachers explore these questions along a five-unit journey of academic and self-understanding – all the while guided by core values:


  • `ekahi (1): Hawaiian origins and the essential familial relationship between humankind and the forces of nature that created him

  • `elua (2): Polynesian open-ocean navigation and migration and the scientific genius of non-instrumental technology and the star compass

  • `ekolu (3): the Ahupua`a land system as a model of cultural sustainability

  • `eha (4): the changing ali`i system and foreign influence

  • `elima (5): modern Hawai`i; what does it mean to be Hawaiian today?


Hawaiian values continue to shape culture and identity; Hawaiian values sustain the culture and identity of Hawaiians.

While we begin in pre-contact Hawai`i 1778 and move chronologically and thematically across time to modern Hawai`i, the course culminates in a student-creation of a traditional Hawaiian artifact using traditional methods and craftsmanship (final project).

Grading is based on group and individual projects, activities, participation, tests and quizzes, and the final (student made) Hawaiian craft.

Open to Grades 9, 10. Prerequisite: a Gateway course. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies Social Studies graduation requirement.

Hawaiian Culture II

Hawaiian Culture II builds on and extends learning from the Hawaiian Culture course toward a deeper understanding of the cultural and historical events and process that continue to shape the place and people of Hawai`i.

The mission of this course is to develop an understanding of what Hawai`i is now, to explore how past events helped to make it what it is today, and to foster an appreciation for the Hawaiian culture, especially as it is still practiced.

The course is divided into units beginning with the ancient Hawaiian culture, then moving forward in time including the huge changes of the 19th and 20th centuries, and ending with the 21st century and the issues facing modern-day Hawai`i and Hawaiians.


  • `ekahi (1): Ancient Hawai`i – a more in-depth look at how society functioned, the values which shaped traditional society and connections between Hawai`i and the rest of Polynesia

  • `elua (2): Contact and early visitors – Capt. Cook, whalers, missionaries, changing society in the early nineteenth century, creation of the written language

  • `ekolu (3): Time of change – the capital is relocated to Honolulu, which then becomes the hub of society, the Great Māhele and land issues, sugar and immigration, overthrow of the monarchy

  • `eha (4): 20th century Hawai`i – the road to annexation and eventually statehood, more immigration, language issues (pidgin, Hawaiian, other languages), WW II and its impact on Hawai`i, the growth of pineapple and tourism

  • `elima (5): 21st century Hawai`i – issues that affect everyone in Hawai`i, values that continue to define the Hawaiian people, looking towards the future while maintaining a Hawaiian identity, another look at hula


Open to Grades 10, 11, 12. Prerequisite: Hawaiian Culture, which may be waived with consent of instructor based on interview, and a Gateway course. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies Social Studies graduation requirement and Spiritual, Ethical, Community Responsibility graduation requirement.

Medieval History

This course explores the rich culture and history of medieval Europe. The journey begins with an overview of the Greco-Roman legacy and moves on to the heart of the Middle Ages: chivalry, knighthood, feudalism, castles, and cathedrals. Through a project-based approach, students develop a clearer picture of what life and relationships were like for those living during this era. Following a survey of the lasting impact of the Crusades on Western civilization, the course culminates with an introduction to the Renaissance period of European History. Along with projects, activities include research, writing, films, group work and class presentations.

Open to Grades 9, 10. Prerequisite: a Gateway course. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies Social Studies graduation requirement.

Advanced Placement United States Government and Politics

This course is a one-semester introductory course in U.S. government and politics that gives students an analytical perspective on government and politics in the United States. This course involves both the study of general concepts used to interpret U.S. politics and the analysis of specific case studies. Major areas of study include: Constitutional underpinnings; Political beliefs and behaviors; Political parties and interest groups; Institutions of the national government; Public policy and Civil rights and civil liberties.

Assessment includes seminar discussions, written assignments and tests. Besides the textbook and various readings, students are encouraged to read national publications such as the Washington Post and the New York Times. They are also encouraged to view news programs on television such as Washington Week in Review. Students must take the Advanced Placement exam in May.

Open to Grades 11, 12. Prerequisite: a Gateway course. Semester course (spring semester only). One-half credit. Advanced placement courses must be taken for a letter grade. Satisfies Social Studies graduation requirement.

United States History

This survey course consists of a chronological analysis of leaders, intellectual and cultural trends, and major political, economic and social developments in American history. Students examine topics through student discussions, films, primary source documents, simulations, and written thesis arguments. An emphasis is placed on understanding the diversity of American history, and the consequences of events, as well as their impact on contemporary American society.

Open to Grades 11, 12. Prerequisite: a Gateway course. Year course. One credit. Satisfies Social Studies graduation requirement.

Advanced Placement United States History

This college-level course consists of a chronological analysis of leaders, intellectual and cultural trends, and major political, economic and social developments in American history. Students examine these topics mainly through focused class discussions for which the students prepare in advance.
Each semester, the students take objective exams, essay exams and write “document-based” essays, which emphasize work with primary sources. The students also complete seminar essays and research papers. Students must take the AP Exam in May.

Open to Grades 11, 12. Prerequisites: a Gateway course, grade of B or better in previous Social Studies courses and a grade of B or better in Sophomore English 2 or consent of instructor based on interview. Year course. One credit. Advanced placement courses must be taken for a letter grade. Satisfies Social Studies graduation requirement.

American Studies (U.S. History (ID))

American Studies is an interdisciplinary course that analyzes selected aspects of American culture from varied perspectives (e.g., the historical, the poetic, and the artistic). Students learn to think carefully and deeply about historical events and literary and other texts. They are asked to examine their own assumptions as well as the assumptions of writers, historians, essayists and observers. They learn to question points of view, to generate theories, to select valid evidence to test theories, and to question again. They learn to listen thoughtfully and to participate reflectively.

Students are expected to read extensively and thoughtfully both for class discussion and during unscheduled time. Since writing is an excellent process for developing critical thinking skills, essays and writings of various kinds, including short pieces of historical research, are expected at least once a week. Standards of clarity, evidence, craftsmanship and logic are expected.

Although lectures and textbooks provide a historical “context,” the course is not designed to lead to the College Board Achievement test or the AP Exam in history. Taking such tests would not be precluded but would require independent study on the part of the student. Instead of emphasizing chronology, the course focuses thoughtfully on selected aspects of American culture and history.

Open to Grades 11, 12. Prerequisite: English 2 and a Gateway course. Year course. Two credits: 1 credit in English and 1 credit in Social Studies. Satisfies English and Social Studies graduation requirements.

Economics

Is it better to work for the good of society or for the good of the individual? How do people react when they pursue their own interests in a situation of scarcity? In Economics, students explore these questions and many more to gain an in-depth knowledge of economics through critical analysis and extensive writing assignments. The course develops an economic way of thinking to help analyze problems and questions using a theoretical framework. Students play interactive simulations and games to experience key concepts, use current events to explore how governments shape economic outcomes, and investigate how innovation and entrepreneurship can flourish in and enrich a free-market. It requires an open mind and inquisitive spirit.

Open to Grades 10, 11, 12. Prerequisite: a Gateway course. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies Social Studies requirement

Gender Studies

In this course, students are introduced to the field of gender studies, including feminism, masculinity, gender, LGBTQ issues and cross-cultural perspectives. These seemingly diverse topics are held together by a shared perspective and an awareness of lenses through which more traditional subjects, such as literature, history and other social sciences, can be viewed and analyzed. This course considers what those lenses are and how they work, as well as how different aspects of the world change when viewed through the lens of gender. Students will discover their own lenses and understand what has shaped them.

The course covers the following units: feminism and women’s studies, the social construction of gender, masculinity studies, LGBTQ studies, and cross-cultural perspectives of masculinity and femininity, with considerable choice of assignments, alternative assessments, and a research project which allows students to discover and investigate issues of personal interest. Additionally, students develop their research, public speaking, writing, questioning and inquiry abilities.

Open to Grades 10, 11, 12. Prerequisite: a Gateway course. Semester course. One half credit. Satisfies Social Studies requirement.

Law and Modern Society

This course focuses on the development, interpretation, and enforcement of laws in the United States. Students study trial procedures, conduct their own mock trials, and analyze the ways in which the media influences our contemporary legal system. We also explore how the Supreme Court has interpreted our basic Constitutional rights over time. Guest speakers – lawyers, judges, police officers, and crime investigators – bring the legal system into the classroom for students. A highlight of the course is a field trip to the courts to observe criminal and civil trials or hearings in progress, often accompanied by commentary from justices, judges, and lawyers involved.

Open to Grades 11, 12. Prerequisites: a Gateway course. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies Social Studies graduation requirement.

European History

From the paintings of the Renaissance to the experiments of the Scientific Revolution; from the storming of the Bastille in the French Revolution, to Otto von Bismarck creating Germany; from the trench warfare of World War I to the blitzkrieg of World War II; from the antagonisms of the Cold War, to the collaborative efforts of the European Union and the establishment of the currency called "Euro," students in this class explore European History through a variety of prisms. History, here, from the Renaissance to the contemporary era, is examined through political, cultural, social and intellectual windows. During each unit of the class (which are dominated by large themes: the Reformation, the Age of Anxiety, etc.) students write short papers, engage in small group seminar work with other students, grapple with historical and historiographical questions, and listen each cycle to an interesting lecture presentation or watch a topical film. Students write, with the approval of their instructor, a mandatory term paper written on a topic of their choice. By asking students to write papers regularly, think critically in small group discussions, and to explore European History through an array of interesting, chronological topics, we are preparing them for the rich and demanding academic life in college.

Open to Grades 11, 12. Prerequisite: a Gateway course. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies Social Studies graduation requirement.

European History Through the Arts

What does the Mona Lisa reveal about Europe during the time of the Renaissance? Why did Beethoven initially dedicate his Third Symphony to Napoleon, only to take away the designation shortly thereafter? When Picasso said, "I paint what I know, not what I see," how was this a "window" in the period between the world wars? Students in this class learn European history through various visual and performing art forms, such as painting, sculpture, architecture, music, theater and film. Our course asks, "How is art a window into the time period of modern European history?"

These questions and others like them, are explored through a variety of formats: the European tradition of building a solid chronology and content background is combined with student-centered work and research. Students come to understand a common historical and artistic vocabulary, essential ideologies, and the difference between primary and secondary sources, and then elucidate them in projects, essays, simulations and presentations. Considerable choice of assignments and research projects allow students to explore and discover their particular interests in the arts, while learning core developments in modern European history. All of these modes prepare seniors for collegiate academic challenges, with the primary objective to not only master the various historical facts and sequences, but also to stimulate investigation and research, to develop a critical sense when acquainting oneself with various documents, analyzing artistic resources, and experiencing the unique richness of European history.

Open to Grades 11, 12. Prerequisite: a Gateway course. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies Social Studies graduation requirement.

European History through Philosophy

Does god exist? Why be good? What is evil? What is beauty? How should we live our lives? How do we explain human suffering? This course explores these questions and examines how philosophers and great ideas helped shaped political, social, economic and human events throughout modern European History. Students explore a variety of literary and visual mediums as they engage with the metaphysical, moral, religious, scientific and political philosophies of the western tradition.

Considerable choice of assignments, alternative assessments and research projects allow students to discover and investigate historical eras, philosophers and philosophies that interest them. Learning experiences include analytical essays, creative writing, film critique, primary and secondary source research, and multi-media projects.

Open to Grades 11, 12. Prerequisite: a Gateway course. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies Social Studies requirement.

European History through Russian Eyes

Just snow and onion domes? From Ivan the Terrible to Rasputin, from Peter the Great to Lenin and Putin, from Tolstoy and Tchaikovsky to Soviet Realism and Dr. Zhivago – what makes Russia, as a European country, tick? Using European History as the backdrop for this course, students see the development of the European experience from the late Middle Ages to the contemporary period, using Russia as the main country of study. Russian language, Russian literature and Russian music (and perhaps cuisine) make this history course a living cultural experience. While students cover all the major topics in European History (The Renaissance, The Reformation, Napoleonic Wars, World Wars, The Cold War, etc.), they do so from the vantage of the Russian lens. By focusing on one European country, students can delve deeply into topics in European History. Students discuss their work in small group seminars, write historical papers, learn a bit of the Russian language, read Russian literature, and also, by so doing, are exposed to the main currents of modern European History.

Open to Grades 11, 12. Prerequisite: a Gateway course. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies Social Studies requirement.

Advanced Placement European History

As this is a yearlong class, students in this class have the time to delve into key historical issues in Modern European history. Beginning with the late Middle Ages and ending with the contemporary era, this course asks students to focus on the key political, intellectual, social and cultural events that have been crucial in the development of Europe. In a small group setting, students discuss major topics developed in homework papers (often salient points) and also in response to a seminar topic prompted by a Punahou booklet designed for this course. Students write a term paper during the first semester of this class. Discussions revolve around key historical questions: What defines a Renaissance artist? How does one distinguish between the religious doctrines of Protestants and Catholics? How did the Scientific Revolution shape the modern world? What were the motivations for the French Revolution? How did Bismarck unify Germany? Why did World War I occur? Is it proper to blame Germany for World War II? Did Gorbachev’s reforms succeed? What led to the creation of the European currency? Students have the time to ponder, discuss and think through these questions. Students must take the AP Exam in May.

Open to Grades 11, 12. Prerequisite: a Gateway course. Year course. One credit. Advanced placement courses must be taken for a letter grade. Satisfies Social Studies graduation requirement.

Senior Capstone

We envision this Capstone course to promote the culmination and synthesis of the values and experiences of Punahou. This course will Cap the senior year with an innovative SEEDS curriculum – themes of Social responsibility, Economics (as a tool kit to address the themes), the Environment, empowering Deeds of service and Sustainable solutions, which anchors this integrated learning experience. Our vision is to graduate students who are global citizens with passion, heart, and intellect and who use their talents to design sustainable solutions that create social change.

SEEDS serves as the acronym for the themes as well as the governing concept of the course. Just as seeds represent the life-cycle of plants and demonstrate the creative, transformational and renewable cycle of life, we use the seeds metaphor for the senior who has come full circle in his/her life at Punahou; the senior who has grown these qualities in his/her work and character and leaves an indelible imprint at Punahou. As a capstone experience, this course is an opportunity for seniors to make sense of where they’ve been in order for them to move forward to plant new roots and grow their talents beyond Punahou. Case studies integrating Social responsibility, Economics, the Environment and Deeds of service challenge seniors to design Sustainable solutions to address a real-world issue of immediate and future significance.

Open to Grade 12. Prerequisite: a Gateway course. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies Social Studies graduation requirement.

Senior Capstone: Psychology - SUMMER ONLY

This course looks at the SEEDS themes through the lens of psychology. Specifically, this class explores topics from the field of positive psychology, such as mental health, happiness, success,
gender socialization, morality, social influence, gratitude and service. Capstone Psych blends
the traditional Capstone classroom with more experiential activities to engage students on a
social, emotional and intellectual level. This class may appeal to students with an interest in
the field of psychology as part of their Capstone experience.

Open to Grade 12. Prerequisite: a Gateway course. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies
Social Studies graduation requirement.

Senior Capstone: Science

This course looks at the SEEDS themes through the lens of science, particularly applied sciences that affect people’s lives, public health and the environment. This class may appeal to students who wish to focus their own projects on science related issues and connect their learning in previous science classes with their Capstone experience.

Open to Grade 12. Prerequisite: a Gateway course. One-half credit. Satisfies Social Studies graduation requirement.

Independent Research Project – Social Studies

This course is for those who have a sincere desire to work independently on personal projects and receive both academic credit and faculty guidance. The focus is on research-oriented projects initiated by the student. Students can use this course for making future contacts in the social studies field, or they could use their project as a foundation for entry in social studies award and scholarship competitions.

The faculty advisor provides deadlines, grade and/or credit contracts, coordination of activities with other faculty and/or outside contacts, and instruction in methods of research, writing, accountability, and presentation of material. The format of the course includes both group and individual meetings. Sessions are held with all those enrolled in order to address common issues and aspects of research, discussion of field pedagogy, appropriate field techniques, and research methodology. The course also requires one-on-one consultations with the faculty advisor about individual project concerns and directions.

To take the course, the student must present a written proposal to the instructor prior to enrollment, stating the purpose of the project. The instructor and student work out a departmental contract which is then subject to approval of the department. Final determination of the project and the student’s grade are subject to the same departmental review process.

Open to Grade 12. Prerequisite: a Gateway course. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies Social Studies graduation requirement.

Senior Capstone: International Options – SUMMER ONLY

 

These international options of the Capstone experience combines class work at Punahou with international travel during the summer. Throughout the experience, students explore the SEEDS curriculum (themes of Social responsibility, Economics, the Environment, empowering Deeds of service, and Sustainable solutions), which anchors this integrated learning experience. With the support of their teachers, classmates and international partners, students design their own learning opportunities based on their strengths and passions. The experience nurtures the development of global citizens by encouraging students to use their talents to design and implement sustainable solutions that create global social change, both in this experience and beyond.

As a capstone experience, this course is an opportunity for seniors to synthesize their learning thus far at Punahou, and to prepare them to do good work beyond Punahou by exploring what kind of a global citizen they hope to become. Case studies integrating the course's themes, field study and hands-on experience in partnership with other global learners combine to form this innovative curricular experience.

Open to Grade 12. Prerequisite: a Gateway course. One-half credit. Satisfies Social Studies graduation requirement and SECR credit.

 

Capstone: Alaska Arctic – SUMMER 2017

Western Alaska is a trans-boundary region of the Arctic that shares a border with Russia. The Inupiat, Yupik and Inuit communities have inhabited this region for a millennium, adapting to the harsh regional climate which is defined by extreme temperature and a frozen sea during much of the year. Today the Arctic is challenged by the impacts of climate change. The four million residents of the Arctic, many of whom are native, are said to have gone from “igloos to the internet” in one generation. While communities still practice their traditional cultures in remote settings and significantly rely on their environment (particularly the marine environment) for much of the food and materials they need, their way of life is changing and becoming more difficult. Students’ learning and service opportunities are in the context of an Alaskan rural community.

Capstone: Bhutan – SUMMER 2017

This international version of Capstone combines class work at Punahou with travel to the country of Bhutan. Students engage in service learning around Bhutanese environmental protection efforts, the history and integration of Buddhism into daily life, and the impact of evolving educational systems. Students help plan the Haa festival, a significant summer event in Bhutanese culture. As a country that measures its success based upon Gross National Happiness, this unique experience provides students with cultural exchanges in different villages across the country.

Capstone: New Zealand (Christchurch, Hamilton/Cambridge and Auckland) – SUMMER 2017

This course focuses on understanding health issues and cultural sharing between Honolulu and New Zealand. Students from Riverdale School in New York City homestay and attend classes with students in Honolulu before traveling together to Christchurch to study and devise urban revitalization projects. The Punahou group then travels to Cambridge to spend time with students at Punahou’s partner school, before spending time in Auckland. Students study health issues facing Auckland and compare to those in Honolulu, and share the cultural uniqueness of Honolulu and learn about the diversity of Auckland, especially the Maori culture. Students engage in meaningful systems and design thinking as they examine local manifestations of global issues. Students participate in homestays, connect with students from different schools, engage with community-based organizations and participate in Learning Walks to explore their own questions and carry out social/health project ideas.