When I recently thanked the members of the junior class for their remarkable leadership with this year's Carnival, I told them that the Punahou Carnival may be the most ambitious student enterprise in America.
This year, Carnival netted approximately $450,000 for the school, raising a significant portion of next year's student financial aid budget. At a time when most of our current families are making considerable financial sacrifices to put their children through Punahou, the trustees remain committed to meeting 100 percent of the demonstrated financial need of every admitted student. If a student is admitted, we want that child to attend Punahou regardless of the family's financial circumstances. The net proceeds from the Punahou Carnival, along with revenue from the school's endowment and other fundraising initiatives, are vital to making this noble vision possible.
But it is not just what the Punahou Carnival earns that makes it extraordinary. It's what it does. It helps to create a deeper sense of community and goodwill within the Punahou 'ohana.
The first Carnival was held in 1932 to raise funds for the school yearbook. For many Punahou graduates, their Carnival is what often unified their sometimes-fragmented class midway through their junior year. In addition to bringing a class together, the Carnival also gives the parents of Punahou juniors a unique opportunity to work alongside their teenager to put on the Carnival, accomplishing something meaningful for the entire community, while also creating a powerful and lasting memory together.
In their senior year, the vast majority of the class comes together to create and put on six Variety Show performances during the two-day Carnival. Their Variety Show experience further unifies and galvanizes them as a class, building memories as they move through the final weeks of their senior year.
The Punahou Carnival can also connect alumni with their graduating class, often serving as an annual class mini-reunion. My fellow 1970 classmates gather every year on the Friday night of Carnival for a three-hour shift to make malasadas, share stories, and complain about our aging bodies and aching knees. Our annual malasada shift provides a chance for us to reconnect, and reminds us of the strong bonds we established together as classmates 40 years ago.
Healthy school communities are built upon rich and special traditions that forge common memories and connections among their students, faculty, staff, alumni and their families. That is why we are especially grateful to those within the Punahou 'ohana who have generously volunteered their time through the years at Carnival to help perpetuate this treasured tradition at Punahou.
With my aloha,
James K. Scott '70