Donor Stories

Clarence T.C. Ching PUEO Program Received $6 Million Grant

"Today is really a celebration of public and private schools working together to support the success of all of Hawai'i's keiki who will inherit a common future, no matter where they went to school," said President Jim Scott '70 to an audience of nearly 100 educators from Hawai'i's public and private schools, as well as community organizations and families connected to the Clarence T.C. Ching PUEO (Partnerships in Unlimited Educational Opportunities) Program at Punahou School.
The PUEO Program is a collaboration between Punahou and the Hawai'i State Department of Education that provides public school students from challenging circumstances with the skills and preparation needed to attain their educational aspirations and attend college.

The occasion on Feb. 17 marked a renewed commitment by The Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation to support the PUEO Program for the next 10 years with an extraordinary grant of $6 million. The gift builds on the successes of a previous $3 million grant awarded in 2009, making The Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation the single largest private foundation donor to Punahou.

"Our foundation from the outset has always believed that education is one arena where we can have a profound effect on our young people. All of the trustees have been immensely impressed with what PUEO is accomplishing and the effect that it has on all of these student's lives," noted Kenneth Okamoto, a trustee for The Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation.

Yuna Martin, a 2012 graduate of Kalani High School and the PUEO Program, shared her story of personal growth and triumph over difficult circumstances: "PUEO has given me a clear sense of my own potential. It made me want to invest in my own education and cemented the fact that I really wanted the college experience."

Governor David Ige and Hawai'i's first lady, Dawn Amano-Ige, were among the event's many distinguished attendees. Governor Ige described the PUEO Program as one of the "true success stories" of education in Hawai'i: "We know that it takes a village to educate a child, and having public schools work with private schools and community organizations is so important for us as we try to maximize the different opportunities that we can get for our students."

State Superintendent of Schools Kathryn Matayoshi commended the program as "a prime example of a private school-public school partnership. This commitment today is about the longer term; it's about making sure kids make it all the way through, and are successful and contributing to this community."