Final Say

  • Becoming Global Citizens

    By Kaylen Kuo ’18 and Betsy Wo ’18

    Fall 2017

    This past summer, our group of 18 traveled to New Zealand, a country with a vibrant culture, history and community. Most of us have lived in Hawai‘i our whole lives, trapped in a bubble, so the thought of expanding our horizons had us excited. We arrived with the purpose of learning about New Zealand culture and giving back.

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  • The Pages That Bind Us Together

    By Calais Nobuhara ’17

    Summer 2017

    On the last day of every school year, each student is given a yearbook. Whether it's the glossy Na ‘Opio or the hardcover Oahuan, these books are a representation of the long year behind us. As we flip through the pages and compose long messages in our Sharpie pens, we don’t remember the rough, stressful times. Instead, we are proud of the year we completed as we prepare ourselves for whatever chapter will come next.

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  • What We'll Remember

    By Audrey Boyle ’17

    Summer 2017

    Class of 2017, first of all, I want to offer a hearty pat on the back to all of you. We made it (almost)! In these next three minutes, I'll attempt to put words to something as nebulous and indefinite as the quote-unquote "Punahou experience".

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  • Educating the 21st Century Leader

    By Caitlyn Kwan ’17

    Summer 2017

    Looking back at our educational experiences thus far, a part of me can’t help but wonder … What was it all for? Simply to get into a good college? A mental challenge to see if we could handle the pressure? Are we prepared to face the real world and all of its challenges?

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  • The Punahou Student

    By Sarai Uesato ’17

    Summer 2017

    I am not much with words or much of a speaker, so I don't really know what I'm doing up here, but I have a lot of love for the people sitting here today and I would like to share a piece of my heart.

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  • A Connected Community

    By Noah Williams ’17

    Spring 2017

    In January, eight students traveled to San Francisco for their G-Term experience titled, “Hokule‘a Educational Outreach to San Francisco.” While Hokule‘a was not physically present during their trip, the students’ objective was to carry forth its message by sharing the gifts of Hawai‘i through song, dance, education and friendship with groups in the Bay Area.

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  • Building an Extraordinary Network for the Leaders of Tomorrow

    by Albert Jiang ’17

    Winter 2016

    Throughout the summer, a small team of alumni, students and a science teacher worked tirelessly to organize the first-ever Health Care Career Spotlight event held in October 2016. A panel of seven Punahou graduates working in the health-care field kicked off the symposium with a Q&A session in front of over 200 students, parents and teachers. In the second half of the event, these panelists joined 50 more alumni in hosting breakout groups based on their respective specialties and fields.

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  • SGLI: India

    Fall 2016

    We were welcomed with a bhothu (a red dot placed on the forehead), a sprinkling of fragrant water and a garland. It was a typical Indian ceremony performed by a couple of students on a school stage. However, it welcomed us to something extraordinary, the very first Student Global Leadership Institute held outside of Hawai‘i.

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  • The Land of the Fiery Chilies

    Fall 2016

    As we crawled up the decorated staircase like a hungry tribe of monkeys, an aroma of spices and chilies wafted through the air. It was our first encounter with the unique spicy cuisine of Bhutan. We faced off with the renowned ema datsi, which consists of green chilies in a cheesy broth.

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  • Days

    Summer 2016

    Well, Class of 2016: we did it. We are graduating from Punahou School. Tonight is a night to celebrate our accomplishments, reflect on our experiences and simply just be together one last time.

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  • The Grand Essentials

    Summer 2016

    At the beginning of every school year, Dr. Scott concludes Convocation by saying, “The school year is now open.” We, the Class of 2016, were the 175th class to stand together at the opening of a Punahou school year, and now as this year is ending, we might seem to feel the gates of Punahou closing behind us.

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  • Not Just A School

    Summer 2016

    Aloha beloved friends, family and faculty. Today we celebrate the Class of 2016 and our journey through Punahou. I want to start with a quote from John Stewart. The comedian had the epiphany that “school is something you complete, but life is something you experience.” Not here. Punahou is so much more than just a school.

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  • Roots and Wings

    Summer 2016

    Throughout my years at Punahou, my mother often repeated words that Dr. Scott relayed to the new Kindergarten parents in the Chapel on the first day of school. Those words were: “The irony of a being a parent is that everything we do for our children is done so that they can one day leave us.”

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  • Many ‘Firsts’

    Spring 2016

    This past year, I embarked on a 12-day trip to Estelí, Nicaragua, as part of an Operation Smile medical mission team. Surrounded by medical volunteers from over 15 countries, I experienced a unique community comprised of individuals from different backgrounds and cultures. As one of two students within the mainly adult medical team, I was initially intimidated.

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  • The Value of Diplomacy

    Winter 2015

    There are many types of Model UN delegates, from those who love to engage in fervent debate, ensuring their country’s voice is heard, to those who prefer to collaborate and compromise with other countries, even if it means their views aren’t always the top priority.

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  • Learning Through Service in the Arctic Circle

    Fall 2015

    As a member of the Capstone Arctic trip, I, along with 15 other rising seniors and two chaperones, embarked on a five-week journey of Hawaiian and Native Alaskan cultural exchange to examine the effects of global warming in Alaska and deepen our understanding of service learning.

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  • A Transformative Trip to the Arctic

    Fall 2015

    The Capstone Arctic trip was a life-changing experience. Everyone in our group gained a wider sense of the world after being exposed to a culture quite different from our own. A truly transformational moment for our small group of sixteen was the time we were preparing for the Nalukataq festival in Barrow, Alaska, the northernmost city in the United States.

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  • Gifts of Ka Punahou

    Summer 2015

    I would like to talk to you about a question, one I am sure many of my fellow classmates and alumni have asked themselves at some point in their lives. The question is, what makes Punahou special to each of us? We have all taken our individual journeys, no matter how many years we’ve spent at this School.

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  • The Magic School Bus

    Summer 2015

    Well, we’re here. This is where we get off the bus, the bus that some of you have been on for 13 years, and for me, just one year. I don’t know what it’s like to call Punahou home for 13 years -- or 8, or 4 -- but my one year has been one heck of a magical ride!

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  • Kinship in the Class of 2015

    Summer 2015

    n the field of anthropology, scientists study a group of people looking at their past and present, observing their kinship patterns, and collecting ideas from social and life sciences, to give them clues as to who these people truly are.

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  • We Are In Bloom

    Summer 2015

    When I was in kindergarten, I heard my older sister ask my dad, "Papa, what is the meaning of life?" At five years old, I didn't understand the depth of this question, but as I watched my dad, my all-knowing father, struggle to find an answer, I realized that this question encompassed much broader ideas than I expected.

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  • I’ll Be Seeing You

    Spring 2015

    A few years ago, the Class of 2015’s idea of a fun Carnival was going on rides and playing games. This year we preferred singing and dancing on the Dillingham Hall stage. Everyone told us that Variety Show, the seniors’ annual musical theatre performance during Carnival, would bring us even closer together as a class. Each moment, from the auditions to the final Saturday night show, proved that promise true.

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  • A Plateful of Gratitude

    Winter 2014

    I think of Punahou as a buffet – a pretty expensive buffet. When we go to expensive buffets, we don't just get the same old fried chicken that we already know and love. We want to stuff our faces with all of the opportunities the buffet has to offer, and we should fill up our plates with as many new things as we can handle.

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  • ‘Chinglish’: The Language of Friendship

    Fall 2014

    Stepping off of the plane in Beijing, it was clear I had landed in an entirely new world, where traffic laws were mere suggestions, glimpses of blue skies were photo-worthy opportunities and, as we quickly discovered, personal space was literally nonexistent as our train raced through the underground “tunnel of doom” to get into the Forbidden City.

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  • Mauruuru A Vau

    I Thank You

    Fall 2014

    This summer, I was one of 15 Punahou seniors who had the rare opportunity to travel to Tahiti and Rapa Nui for our Senior Capstone course, CapSEEDS. First, we learned about the history, geography and economy of the islands during a two-week, pre-travel classroom segment. We then embarked upon the travel portion of the course, which immersed us in the islands’ cultures.

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  • Journey Forward

    Summer 2014

    Every single one of us has a different story, a different life, a different journey that shapes the person we become. Character, they say, is not defined by a single event, it’s defined by what we do in response to these events. As I sat at my desk trying to write this speech I began to think, “Is this really the end of our journey at Punahou?”

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  • Finding Our Way

    Summer 2014

    There’s a famous painting by the artist Paul Gauguin that depicts people in various stages of life, ranging from a baby to a teenager to an old woman, all in his trademark vivid colors. Now, I know what you’re thinking – so what? What does this painting have to do with us, the Class of 2014?

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  • The Perfect Finish

    Spring 2014

    Devastated. Disappointed. Defeated. Just a few of the words I use when people ask me to recount our 2011 loss in the state championship football game.

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  • Gaijin

    Spring 2014

    The Japanese word for foreigner is gaijin. This is a label that has haunted me, comforted me and shaped me throughout my life.

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  • Growth

    Medium: Digital drawing on photo

    Winter 2013

    “Growth” is one of the more experimental pieces from a series of self portraits I created last year, in which I mixed the medium of digital photography with digital drawing. I chose to explore the theme of nature because I have always been attracted to plants and fairy tale imagery.

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  • Finding Myself

    Winter 2013

    I used to wonder what drew me to the haunting echoes of “The Queen's Prayer.” From the opening notes to the last chord, the slow and steady cries of the song resonate with me and I feel strangely at peace.

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  • Life-Changing Experience in Costa Rica

    Fall 2013

    Costa Rica had such an impact on my life, not because of the monkeys that played in the trees beside our houses or my first discoteca experience, but because of the people and their amazing way of life.

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  • Service in Senegal

    Fall 2013

    Dinnertime with my host family was always the liveliest part of my day in Senegal. We ate dinner so late! I was living in their house during Ramadan, so we would typically eat a small breaking-of-the-fast meal at sundown; usually baguettes, dates and tea, and then a huge meal later, at about 11 p.m.

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  • Modern Japan: Connecting Across Cultures

    Fall 2013

    The Modern Japan course centered around the theme of tsunagari, or “connections.” Our class of 13 was comprised of students from Punahou, public and private schools from around the island and even students from Seattle.

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  • An Unconventional Recipe

    Summer 2013

    Generating a great graduation speech requires a few key ingredients. First: the stock. Start with a helping of nostalgia, perhaps reminiscing about kindergarten naptime and juice boxes.

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  • Learning Through the Lens of Language

    Spring 2013

    I was drawn to taking Words R Us because its name reminded me of Toys R Us; this small detail was enough to make me sign up for a course that I knew nothing about. I was lured into a meticulous trap set by the savvy Words R Us English teachers – apparently they knew how to take advantage of the fact that Academy students all still want to be children.

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  • The Power of Words

    Spring 2013

    Like everyone else in the world, I make mistakes. Some simple mistakes, like coloring outside the lines or forgetting to do my laundry, don’t require apologies. Other, more serious ones, like throwing a pool party with my parents out of town, require a sincere “I’m sorry.”

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  • Into the Abyss

    Winter 2012

    In the sport of freediving, a diver descends into the ocean depths without the aid of scuba gear. Kyle Gion ’13, a relative newcomer to the sport, competed as an alternate for the U.S. men’s team at the 2012 AIDA Freediving Team World Championships held in Nice, France, Sept. 8 – 15, 2012.

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  • A Newfound Love of Music

    Fall 2012

    Evan ’13 represented Hawai‘i this past June at the prestigious International Institute of Young Musicians, which brings 65 promising young artists from around the world to Lawrence, Kansas for three weeks of intensive musical training and competition.

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  • As I Gaze at the Stars

    Summer 2012

    Earlier this year, I found myself on the North Shore as a camp counselor at Mokule‘ia. It was our last night on the beach, and I lay there with more than 100 eighth-graders gazing at the stars.

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  • The Artistic Ideal

    Spring 2012

    As a writer, I create not just for myself, but also for an audience. In my English-based philosophy course called “Ideas in Western Literature,” I discovered that the writer-reader relationship is a special one, where a desire for external validation can help a writer develop confidence. The YoungArts program was my artistic validation.

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  • A Simple Three-Letter Word

    Winter 2011

    I’ll admit that my first day on the Pauahi Bridge would have appeared anticlimactic to any spectator. But to me, that afternoon was an exciting first experience with a publication, and I was suddenly grateful for that little voice telling me to just say “yes.”

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  • A Message of Peace

    Fall 2011

    Traveling internationally can be daunting, but last summer when my project for the Hiroshima Peace Scholarship intersected with the opportunity to retrieve an Aogiri tree from Hiroshima, it seemed to me like the world was conspiring so perfectly in my favor.

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  • Legend Beyond Measure

    Summer 2011

    As a Punahou athlete over the past few years, I gradually began recognizing the Winged “O” as our school logo and symbol. I even sported that flaunty, slick, flying sticker on the back of my car. And while I could easily talk to you today about how the Class of 2011 is an assemblage of brothers and sisters of O‘ahu, who, in the future, will rise up and make that Winged “O” soar, I wouldn’t be referencing the true symbol of our beloved school. In all actuality, we are simply a tree.

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  • To Give is to Receive

    Spring 2011

    Created by Punahou School's Psychosocial Department, the Peer Helping program provides students with the prospect to both lead and be led by one another.

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  • The Road to Advocacy

    Winter 2010

    The air surrounding me had the familiar humidity of home as I left the cool, enclosed Atlanta airport carrying onto a waiting bus everything I would need for the next 38 days. Through Etgar 36, a summer program, I visited 29 cities in 27 states, starting from Atlanta. Billy Planer, the founder of the organization, created the program to foster future political voices by taking Jewish teenagers on a bus journey across America to learn about history, issues and our own identities.

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  • Bridging the Global Gap

    Fall 2010

    It is July 6, 2010, and our party of 36 Punahou students, teachers and teacher’s aides has been riding the rails south of Beijing for more than 25 hours and 1,000 miles. Arriving at Jishou, we are greeted outside the train station by two Chinese teachers holding a red banner: “Warmly Welcome Hawai‘i Punahou Teachers and Students.” Ahead of us was another 4-hour bus ride on bumpy roads to the town of Baojing, in the foothills of the mountains between Hunan and Sichuan provinces.

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  • Ready or Not

    Summer 2010

    We have a choice. We can either be the passive victims of our environment or we can be the active heroes of our lives.

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  • On Eating Green

    Spring 2010

    What you may not know about your last meal is where it came from, how it was produced and what was really in it. These questions framed my Senior Independent English Project, an exploration into the daily food choices we make. Like any other English project, mine centered around writings that inspire action in their readers.

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  • A Special Service

    Winter 2009

    As part of the senior CapSEEDS course, I am volunteering at the Variety School of Hawai'i, a private school for special-needs children, especially those with different degrees of autism.

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  • Final Say

    Fall 2009

    After a long walk through downtown Hiroshima in mid-morning traffic, we arrived at the Hiroshima Peace Park and settled under a large tree near the Atomic Bomb dome. Kevin '10 and I, along with our new Hiroshima high school friends, were on a mission to collect signatures supporting an anti-nuclear weapon petition, which will be presented at a nuclear non-proliferation conference next May at the United Nations.

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  • Connecting the Dots

    Summer 2009

    Fourteen years ago, I was given the option of repeating kindergarten because, amongst other reasons, I was a late bloomer in the coordination department. All this time, I thought the reason I was unable to continue with the Class of 2008 was because I was artistically challenged.

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  • Hurry Up and Wait

    An Inauguration Day Diary of a Punahou Marching Band Member

    Spring 2009

    This is it: the day of the inauguration, the reason for coming all this way. I should be excited, but in truth, it's difficult to be excited over anything at 4:30 in the morning.

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  • Costa Rican Dreams

    Winter 2008

    In summer 2007, Carrie Tribble '09 traveled to Costa Rica with a group from Punahou School and decided to return a year later as a volunteer at EARTH University. Following are vignettes from her experiences.

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  • Who I Am

    Fall 2008

    I am from Vietnam. Xin chào, tên tôi là Pham Trong Quân. I was born in Vietnam, but my family and I were fortunate enough to immigrate to Hawai‘i in 1993. As with all newcomers to the United States, we had to work hard to build a steady foundation for ourselves.

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  • The Purple Crayon

    Summer 2008

    I would like to start by reading an excerpt from "Harold and the Purple Crayon." It's a children's book. My first real encounter with this book was in the second grade.

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  • Ka Punahou

    Spring 2008

    I was born a Yankee in the frosty city of Minneapolis, Minn., and raised a southerner in the hinterland of north Georgia. Growing up in a rural area of the south is a simple way of living.

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  • The Race for Our Future

    Winter 2007

    On September 22, 2007, nine members of the Teen Editorial Board participated in a key panel discussion at the Hawai‘i 2050 Sustainability Summit in Honolulu. Here are Kimberly's reflections on that defining experience.

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  • First Steps to Peace

    Fall 2007

    Morgen Chang ’07 joined other island students in welcoming the Dalai Lama to Hawai‘i this April by composing an essay on peace.

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  • Of Susndials and Solidarity

    Summer 2007

    On the second day of our freshman year, a Ma-noa rainfall blessed our Punahou campus. The cool, refreshing mist gently descended its damp, moist blanket of rain onto the walkways.

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  • A Day in the Life of a Punahou Athlete

    Spring 2007

    Spencer McLachlin capped an illustrious career in sports at Punahou by playing on the 2007 Varsity volleyball and basketball teams. The 6’7” senior is now headed to Stanford University.

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  • Hana‘uhane: Spirit and Service

    Winter 2006

    This August, the fourth annual Hana‘uhane Interschool Retreat took place at Kokokahi YWCA on the shores of Kane‘ohe Bay.

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  • Vaulting to Success: Anh Tran ’06

    Fall 2006

    Anh Tran decided to fulfill her senior year service requirement by volunteering for the summer youth program at Palama Settlement.

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