PUEO Program

Founded at Punahou School in 2005, the Clarence T.C. Ching PUEO Program identifies middle and high school students in neighboring public schools with high academic potential, but with low economic opportunity. The program aims to raise these students' aspirations and their preparation to enter, and complete, college.

The PUEO (Partnerships in Unlimited Educational Opportunities) Program utilizes the facilities and human resources at Punahou for a seven-year educational experience of summer school classes, small group mentoring and academic year group activities.

Summer school courses address individual student needs in the disciplines of reading, writing and mathematics. PUEO kumu (teachers/mentors) are recent graduates from Punahou and other private and public schools. Each kumu is responsible for seven PUEO scholars and works with their respective groups to improve study skills in the various content areas. 

Students and kumu plan and deliver a short presentation of their own choice to their peers. Student choices have included storytelling, hula, poetry reading, magic and singing. This oral practice is modeled after the Lakeside Educational Enrichment Program (LEEP) in Seattle, Washington. 

Students visit four higher-education campuses on O`ahu during the five-week summer program. Each institution is selected based on degree programs offered, size of student body, location of campus and physical proximity to the PUEO neighborhood schools. College counselors and tour guides answer questions about dormitory life, admissions, financial aid and extracurricular activities available.

Relationships formed during the summer are maintained and strengthened through PUEO academic year events. Group activities are centered on curricular content areas and are designed as gathering moments, service and fun. Examples include:

  • Honolulu Art Academy activities inspire future artists by exposing PUEO students to art and a variety of artists for the first time
  • Environmental Stewardship Field Trips
  • Spring Lu`au welcomes the newest PUEO Program participants

Hear program participants share their personal stories and experience with PUEO...

Student Selection and Participation

Students are nominated by Hawai`i Department of Education schools in the Roosevelt, McKinley, Castle and other districts to participate following their fifth grade year. The program accepts 50 students in each new PUEO class, supporting 350 students annually in grades 6 – 12.

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 Akaka Foundation. These scholarship awards recognize outstanding 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. The normal amount allotted in the these scholarships is $1,000. Note, as in all scholarship applications, nothing is guaranteed.

About 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.

Besides Mr. Ching, the charter Trustees were Henry C.H. Chun-Hoon, head of Chun-Hoon Markets; Jasper J. Jepson, Secretary and Vice President of Bishop Trust Company; Dr. Katsumi Kometani, a dentist; and Ralph M. Miwa, a political science professor at the University of Hawaii.

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 $35 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.

Additional Program Sponsors

Mamoru and Aiko Takitani Foundation, Inc.

Mamoru Takitani was born on July 21, 1912, in Yamaguchi, Japan and later came to Hawai`i where he attended St. Anthony’s High School on Maui. In 1936, he married Aiko Uno in Wailuku. The Takitanis relocated to Honolulu where Mamoru founded Hawaiian Host-Ellen Dye Candies on January 1, 1960. From its humble beginnings on Waialae Avenue in Kaimuki, the business grew and moved into new ventures resulting in greater production, expansion into papaya farming and the establishment of retail and restaurant operations. Under Mr. Takitani’s leadership, the company grew and expanded its activities to Los Angeles, Brazil and Japan. Hard work, innovation and commitment to excellence are qualities that enabled Hawaiian Host, Inc. to become the successful corporation that it is today.

In their desire to express their appreciation for the local community, Mr. and Mrs. Takitani established the Mamoru and Aiko Takitani Foundation to provide scholarships to benefit the young people of our state – winners who embody the standards of quality and excellence that the Takitanis lived by. Although Mr. and Mrs. Takitani passed away in 1988 and 2006 respectively, their legacy of commitment, dedication and generosity continues today through the opportunities they helped create for Hawai`i’s students through the Takitani Scholarship Program.

Akaka Foundation

The Reverend Abraham Kahu Akaka Ministries Foundation was founded on December 30, 1985, as a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide gifts and grants to religious and educational organizations and individuals. Funds to start the organization were provided by the gifts that Rev. Akaka received for performing blessings and other ceremonies for the community. The Foundation has no paid staff and depends on the efforts of volunteers.

The four areas of focus are: 

  • Kokua – direct help to meet need
  • Kokua to churches
  • Scholarships and help to schools and individuals requesting assistance in their educational goals 
  • Peace on Earth – to organizations for worldwide humanitarian work.



PUEO Program Office
Bishop Hall