The junior year at Punahou is both fun and challenging, with a focus on leadership development and preparation for college. Compared to their sophomore year, a student’s choice of courses grows significantly, as do the academic rigor and expectations.
Students take English, math, American literature and U.S. history. Having fulfilled their language and science requirements in their first two years, they may choose to continue on in those studies or to explore a wide variety of other courses.
A range of psychology electives is available to juniors, including AP psychology, positive psychology, sports psychology and peer teaching. Peer teachers serve as teaching assistants for Punahou student groups ranging from kindergarten to the Academy.
In preparation for the college application process, juniors take the PSAT in October (high scores qualify students for National Merit), the SAT in December, and any applicable AP exams in May (typically). Juniors are assigned a college counselor and take a non-credit college guidance course in the fall. During the year, students have the opportunity to attend sessions with admission representatives from any of the roughly 200 colleges that visit Punahou.
As hosts, juniors are integral to the planning and execution of the annual Carnival in February, a schoolwide event benefiting the financial aid program. Along with thousands of parent and alumni volunteers, every member of the junior class works several booth shifts, and many volunteer as chairs. Carnival offers leadership opportunities and is a tremendous bonding experience for the class, as they work toward a common goal. Following a mixed junior-senior social event the night before Carnival, the spring also features an off-campus social event, best described as an informal junior prom.