In this issue of the Punahou Bulletin, we share stories of student service initiatives and peer mentoring opportunities. Their stories flow from Punahou’s mission and vision to help students develop a strong sense of responsibility toward, and interdependence with, their schoolmates, their community and the world.
We believe that students who are well prepared, creative, concerned and compassionate have the capacity to make another life better. Developing caring, empathetic and respectful students is a shared endeavor between a school and a family. Teachers working as partners with parents can foster a learning environment in which these empathetic qualities are valued and discussed, and can ultimately shape individual behavior.
In and out of the classroom, we encourage our students to imagine themselves in someone else’s position, to intuit what another person is feeling, and to imagine another person’s world from their perspective. The capacity to understand the world through another’s perspective is to become other-centered and empathetic. Preparing students for leadership and moral action is about empathy, and having the capacity to relate to and connect with other people while inspiring and empowering lives.
When then-Senator Barack Obama ’79 returned to campus in 2004 to speak with Punahou students in the Chapel, he encouraged them to follow their passion for public service. Reflecting on his eight-year Punahou experience as a student, he told students they are fortunate to be in a school that strives to teach values, and that embraces its students through encouragement and by giving them second chances. He told the students we gain significance and meaning by becoming part of something larger than ourselves, and we have a responsibility to make the world a better place. He reminded them that to whom much is given, much is expected – the same thing we say to Punahou seniors each year as we bid them aloha at their Commencement.
We are striving to create and sustain a learning environment for students that challenges and cultivates the intellect. As we prepare students for a fulfilling and meaningful future, we believe it is equally important to nurture empathy and to educate the heart.
With my aloha,
James K. Scott ’70