Community Engagement


Partnerships in Unlimited Educational Opportunities

Founded at Punahou School in 2005, the Clarence T.C. Ching PUEO (Partnerships in Unlimited Educational Opportunities) Program aims to serve and support scholars with unlimited potential and limited economic resources. The PUEO Program embodies the essence of Punahou’s commitment to being a private school serving a larger public purpose through meaningful partnerships with other schools and educators. PUEO proudly employs summer faculty from public and private schools across Hawai‘i.

Scholar Nomination Process

Students are nominated for a PUEO multi-year scholarship by Hawai‘i Department of Education administrators and counselors. The same cohort of scholars return each summer for five weeks of program participation. From 2005 – 2022, rising 6th graders were nominated for the multi-year scholarship program. Starting in 2023 the program will expand to add 5th grade and in 2024 the addition of 4th grade. By 2024, the program will deliver a nine-year scholarship program, for grades 4 – 12.
Nominations are based on five primary criteria:

  • Scholars represent the middle of their academic class
  • Scholars have demonstrated strong character traits
  • Scholars have a supportive family
  • Scholars are part of the federal free or reduced lunch program
  • Scholars will be a first-generation college graduate
Each year PUEO partners with 60+ HIDOE partner schools from across Hawai‘i including elementary, middle, and high schools. PUEO supports 200 – 250 scholars, with approximately 30 – 40 scholars in each grade level cohort.

Summer Learning is Essential to Achievement

The PUEO Program provides a consistent and comprehensive summer learning program that includes year-round events to foster a cohort experience and continuum of learning. PUEO’s mission is to graduate scholars with the skills, confidence, and resilience to be college-ready by supporting them with a multi-year academic scholarship from grades 5 – 12 (starting in 2024, grades 4 – 12). The PUEO cohort model focuses on pilina (relationships) by demonstrating that these summer scholar relationships can transcend school affiliations, athletic competitions, awards, and neighborhood homes.

The Five-Week Summer School Experience

List of 8 items.

  • Rising 5th Graders

    • Hawaiian Studies
    • Outdoor Education
  • Rising 6th Graders

    • Engineering and Design, Coding and Game Design
    • Ukulele and Creative Writing
  • Rising 7th Graders

    • Marine Biology
    • Ukulele and Creative Writing
  • Rising 8th Graders

    • English and Math Enrichment
    • Performing Arts
  • Rising 9th Graders

    • Modern History of Hawaiʻi (0.5 HIDOE credit)
    • PUEO Nest: Research and Analytical Writing Skills
  • Rising 10th Graders

    1. Participation in a Democracy (0.5 HIDOE credit)
    2. Financial Literacy (0.5 HIDOE credit)
    3. PUEO Nest: Research and Analytical Writing Skills
  • Rising 11th Graders

    • Test Preparation for College Entrance (0.5 HIDOE credit)
    • College Essay Writing
    • Integrated Performance Project (0.5 HIDOE credit)
  • Rising 12th Graders

    • English 100 or Sociology 214 (dual credit for HIDOE and University of Hawai‘i System)
    • Career and Life Planning (0.5 HIDOE credit)

College Readiness

PUEO is committed to creating a culture of college readiness across the program. PUEO’s vision of college readiness includes the successful completion of both PUEO and a high school program as well as enrollment in a postsecondary course of study. Success in PUEO is measured through academic and personal outcomes like high school graduation, college enrollment, college completion, an established sense of self, a sense of culture and belonging, as well as community contributions. To achieve this, PUEO provides opportunities for scholars to practice and develop the skills, confidence, and resilience to meet these expectations through holistic year-round and summer engagement, including working with college counselors, a college opportunity fair, and more.

The Academic Year

The summer learning cohort experience is extended through year-round events. Scholars reunite with their friends during the school year for a variety of activities and events aimed at developing their skills, confidence, and resilience toward college readiness.
  • PSAT Testing (10th grade)
  • SAT Testing (11th grade)
  • FAFSA Workshop (12th grade)
  • UH Mānoa Visit (12th grade)
  • PUEO College Opportunity Fair (10th, 11th, 12th grade)
  • PUEO Fall Event (6th, 7th, 8th, 9th grade)
  • PUEO Spring Event (6th, 7th, 9th grade)
  • PUEO Lūʻau (5th, 8th grade)
  • Scholar Graduation (12th grade)

About The Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation

In January 1967, developer Clarence T.C. Ching successfully bid on a contract to build an affordable housing complex on a 19.5-acre tract at Vineyard Boulevard and Liliha Street in Honolulu. Envisioning the “Kukui Gardens” project as a way to give back to the community, Mr. Ching next sought to form a non-profit organization to sponsor the ambitious undertaking.

The Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation, via trust agreement, was officially established on August 8, 1967. In the years following Mr. Ching’s passing in 1985, the Foundation continued to support non-profit agencies and educational institutions in Hawai`i. In January 2006, the Foundation announced its intention to sell Kukui Gardens. In December 2007, the housing complex was sold to Carmel Partners Inc. and the State of Hawai`i for $132.5 million.

Since then, the Foundation has committed to donate more than $80 million to a number of educational and health institutions in the community. Today, the Foundation continues to fulfill Mr. Ching’s vision of helping Hawai`i’s needy, sick and aged.

PUEO College Scholarship Program

PUEO Scholars may apply to the PUEO College Scholarship Program, generously supported by the Mamoru and Aiko Takitani Foundation, Inc., with additional support from the Reverend Abraham Kahu Akaka Ministries Foundation. These scholarship awards recognize PUEO scholars who exemplify the qualities of hard work, academic achievement, commitment to excellence, a proven dedication to our community and a demonstrated need for financial assistance. The awards may be used at any accredited two- or four-year college or university and will be paid directly to the recipient scholar’s college or university account.

PUEO Program Timeline


Punahou School launches the PUEO Program in partnership with the Hawai‘i State Department of Education with generous support from the founding donors

Unbound Philanthropy, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Harold K. L. Castle Foundation, and others. Punahou School demonstrates its larger public purpose by providing the PUEO Program with the use of its vast facilities, human resources, and many departments across its campus.


The Clarence T. C. Ching Foundation announces a three-million-dollar grant to support the PUEO Program over the subsequent six years. In recognition of this extraordinary gift, the program was renamed the Clarence T. C. Ching PUEO Program.


PUEO graduates its first class of 40 scholars. 95% of the PUEO Class of 2012 graduated from high school and 48% earned a post-secondary degree or certification.


100% of the PUEO Class of 2013 graduates from high school. 49% earned a post-secondary degree or certification.


95% of the PUEO Class of 2014 graduates from high school. 63% earned a post-secondary degree or certification.


The Clarence T. C. Ching Foundation expands its commitment to PUEO with an additional grant of six million dollars over the subsequent 10 years. 100% of the PUEO class of 2015 graduates from high school. 53% earned a post-secondary degree or certification.


100% of the PUEO Class of 2016 graduates from high school. 52% earned a post-secondary degree or certification.


PUEO adds Performing Arts to its 8th-grade curriculum and Financial Literacy to its 10th-grade curriculum. Financial Literacy was created in close collaboration and partnership with Hawai‘i State Department of Education partners.


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, PUEO delivers its summer program entirely online.


After surveying families during year two of the COVID-19 pandemic, PUEO delivers its summer program in a dual format, with 25% of scholars in-person at Punahou School and 75% online from home.


PUEO returns to 100% in-person learning at Punahou School in June 2022 and implements an interdisciplinary ukulele and creative writing course in partnership with the Fender Play Foundation.


PUEO expands its reach to include incoming 5th-graders from across O‘ahu.


PUEO expands its reach to include incoming 4th-graders from across O‘ahu.

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