Academic Profile

Punahou School, an independent college preparatory day school, was founded in 1841 by Protestant missionaries on lands given to them by Hawaiian chiefs. The beneficiary of these two traditions, Punahou is now the largest independent school on a single campus in the United States, serving more than 3,750 students in K – grade 12. The 2019 senior class numbered 419.

Punahou School is fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and is a member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) and complies with the NACAC “Statement of Principles of Good Practice.”

The school year consists of two semesters of approximately equal length. Scheduling uses a modular system, and classes vary in length according to their needs.

Grade Point Average

The GPA is computed annually and cumulatively. Only courses taken at Punahou that receive a letter grade are used to determine the GPA. Citizenship and Physical Education grades are included in the GPA. Advanced Placement and Honors courses are not given additional point values. Rarely does a student graduate with a 4.0 GPA. Punahou School does not rank its students. GPA is based on the traditional 4-point scale (A = 4.000, A– = 3.667, B+ = 3.333, B = 3.000, B– = 2.667, C+ = 2.333, C = 2.000, C– = 1.667, D+ = 1.333, D = 1.000, D– = 0.667).

Honors and Advanced Placement Courses

Punahou students are advised not to take more than two Advanced Placement courses simultaneously. Students enrolled in AP courses must take AP exams.


  • Senior English Honors (one semester only)
  • Junior English Honors (one semester only)


  • Japanese: II Honors, III Honors, IV Honors, V Honors
  • French: II Honors, III Honors, IV Honors, AP French Language and Culture
  • Spanish: II Honors, III Honors, IV Honors, AP Spanish Language and Culture
  • Mandarin Chinese: II Honors, III Honors, IV Honors, V Honors


  • Geometry Honors
  • Algebra II/Trigonometry Honors
  • Advanced Pre-Calculus Honors
  • AP Calculus AB
  • AP Calculus BC
  • AP Computer Science Principles
  • AP Statistics


  • Chemistry Honors
  • Physics Honors
  • Biology Honors
  • AP Biology
  • AP Chemistry
  • AP Environmental Science
  • AP Physics 1
  • AP Physics 2
  • AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism
  • AP Physics C: Mechanics

Social Studies

  • AP United States History
  • AP European History
  • AP U.S. Government and Politics


  • AP Psychology
  • AP Studio Art

Selective Enrollment by Audition

  • Symphony Orchestra
  • Wind Ensemble
  • Chorale

Course Explanations

Integrated Courses
Recognizing the value of interdisciplinary courses (ID) which integrate materials and techniques from various disciplines, Punahou offers students the opporunity to select these courses beginning in eleventh grade. Some students select these classes over the honors and AP counterparts because they appreciate the chance to make connections across disciplines or to integrate the various facets of a subject.

Among the courses we offer are these:

  • American Studies. (11) United States History and American Literature
  • Arts & Letters. (11, 12) An interdisciplinary course combining the study of visual arts and creative writing. One credit course which satisfies both English and Performing Arts graduation requirements.
  • Creativity & Composition. (11, 12) An interdisciplinary course combining the study of English and music. One credit course which satisfies both English and Performing Arts graduation requirements.

Other courses that may require further explanation are:

  • Senior Capstone: The Senior Capstone course is designed as a culminating experience that synthesizes students’ collective learning opportunities, values and the Aims of a Punahou Education. With a focus on cultivating social and moral responsibility, students pursue personal interests while participating in deeds of service to better understand and provide sustainable solutions to communities in need. The overarching vision of this course is to graduate students with passion, heart and intellect, providing them with the confidence and skills needed to become independent, globally minded citizens. Semester course. One-half credit. Required for graduation.
  • G-Term: A short learning experience is offered to Academy students by Punahou School faculty and staff between the first and second semesters. This experience provides immersive learning opportunities not feasible within a normal class or not available to all students through normal classes (for the latter, examples include short courses on topics such as glass blowing, acting, etc.) Students can select from 60+ offerings; student growth is assessed but no grades are given and no graduation credit is assigned.
  • Global Online Academy: Punahou School is a founding member of the Global Online Academy (GOA). Established in 2011, GOA offers diverse and rigorous credit-bearing courses to students in member schools from around the world.

Graduation Requirements

English 4 credits
Social Studies 3 1/2 credits
Science 2 credits
Math 3 credits
Language 2 credits
Physical Education 2 credits
Visual and Performing Arts 2 credits
Total minimum credits required for graduation 22 credits

College Counseling Staff

There are five college counselors and eight class deans, four of whom also serve as college counselors (listed below). Pairs of deans stay with a class until graduation, so the senior deans change annually.

Myron S. Arakawa
Director of College Counseling

Ryan Scudder
Associate Director of College Counseling

Lynne N. Tsuda
Associate Director of College Counseling

Christopher J. Obenchain
Associate Director of College Counseling

Hikaru Yamaguchi
College Counselor

Terry Yamamoto-Edwards
College Counselor

Marguerite K. Ashford
Senior Class Dean

Lisa E. Stewart
Junior Class Dean

Christine David
Sophomore Class Dean

Deane Salter
Freshmen Class Dean

Presidential Scholars

  • 2019 - Ryan Park
  • 2018 - Isabelle Rhee
  • 2017 - Carter Nakamoto
  • 2016 - Michael Chen and Eileen Liu
  • 2011 - Kimberly Schaefer
  • 2008 - Christopher Burniske 
  • 2006 - Scott Seki 
  • 2005 - Julia Ogilvie (Scholar in the Arts) 
  • 2004 - Will Jacobson and Avery Cavanah, Chris Schmicker (Scholar in the Arts) 
  • 2002 - Kara S. Tabor-Furmark 
  • 2001 - Magali A. M. Fassiotto 
  • 1998 - Elizabeth K. Nguyen 
  • 1996 - Jeffery Chung 
  • 1995 - Matthew Passion  
  • 1993 - Stacy Uyekubo
  • 1992 - Miki Anzai and Brian Koh 
  • 1991 - Scott Keller 
  • 1986 - Kristine Tanno 
  • 1985 - Allegra Goodman 
  • 1984 - Janyce Mitchell and David Blume 
  • 1982 - Chau Tseng 
  • 1979 - Jonathan Selinger 
  • 1978 - John Lie and Margaret Garties 
  • 1975 - Eric Howell 
  • 1971 - Mike Sayama 
  • 1970 - Allan Chinen 
  • 1966 - Randall Ming Au 
  • 1964 - Wilbur Chun

For a complete list of colleges attended by two or more Punahou School graduates over the last four years, download the Academic Profile.



College and Career Resource Center
Alexander Hall

Punahou School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, age or disability in administration of its educational or admission policies, financial aid programs, athletic and other School administered programs or in its employment practices.