Punahou bids a warm mahalo to its dedicated faculty and staff who are celebrating milestone anniversaries or retiring from Punahou this year. We are deeply grateful for their dedication and commitment to enrich our School and community. Punahou has greatly benefited from their longstanding contributions.
Below, we honor our 2021 honorees, who described their highlights of working at Punahou, and our cherished retirees who have left an indelible legacy at Punahou.
Francis Aiu Jr. Senior SIS (Student Information Systems) Administrator
Last year, Francis celebrated a quarter century working as Punahou’s “senior systems guy.” His tenure extends even further back to 1986, when he worked with a Punahou vendor on customizing the Wang mini-computer, the first on-campus computer.
Once officially hired, Francis helped Punahou transition to the Senior Systems school management software and has helped it shift again to the current Blackbaud. He also helped implement the cafeteria system and the ID badging software now in place.
In non-work hours, Francis likes to referee basketball and volleyball games, and enjoys music and hunting for collectibles. He looks forward to spending more time with family in the years ahead.
AmelitaAquino Custodian II
Originally from the Philippines, Amelita was first introduced to the School through her father, Bernardo Alcontara, who worked as a custodian at Punahou and retired in 1986. A custodian in the Asa Thurston Physical Education Center, Amelita has kept the upper gym, racquetball courts, JROTC facilities and Junior School Band Building clean and inviting for students who she has considered an extension of her family.
While she will miss watching students grow and return to campus with children of their own, Amelita has three grown children and three grandchildren of her own, who she looks forward to spending more time with in retirement. “I have enjoyed meeting and spending time with all the Punahou students and employees,” she says.
Pauline Lo ’71 Bailey Senior Director of Human Resources and Chief People Officer
Pauline joined Punahou as its HR director, determined to make the department accessible and people-centric. “There aren’t many institutions where employees hug the HR director, and Punahou has been one of those places,” she says. “I have played a role in the trials, tribulations and triumphs of every employee at the School since 1998.”
She’s proud of transforming HR from the ground up, championing people and helping them grow, and she is especially gratified with her involvement in the Co-curricular Programs. Thousands of students were able to take advantage of the breadth and depth of these offerings and find their passions, while being “cared for by some of the most talented faculty and staff on the planet,” she says.
Peter Balding Jr. ’77 K-1 Physical Education Faculty
It’s rare to find a kindergarten teacher who also coaches high schoolers. But Peter has done both. After 14 years teaching fourth and fifth grade, he switched to PE, where he spent 23 years with the youngest students. When the afternoon bell rang, he jumped into coaching varsity girls and boys volleyball.
More than anything, Peter will miss the people on campus. Like the wide-ranging ages he has taught, Peter has found friendship and collaborators across the Punahou community, from the maintenance crew, custodians and cafeteria workers to administrators, teachers and students.
He is grateful to his office mates who supported each other “in teaching, friendship and leadership together.” As he looks ahead, Peter anticipates lots of surfing, paddling, woodworking and gardening.
Sheryl Dare ’66 Academy English Faculty
When Sheryl reflects on her years teaching, the greatest highlight was “the privilege of learning every day from the legions of incredible people – students and adults – that make up the Punahou community.”
As a reader, she plans to keep learning and to revisit literary classics. For instance, Virginia Woolf once called George Eliot’s great 19th-century novel, “Middlemarch,” one of the few English novels written for grownup people.” “I hope I’m finally sufficiently grown up enough to read that novel,” she says.
She’ll also spend time doing what she loves, which is hanging out with the family (including the dog) and noodling around on the piano.
Camilo Emnace Custodian I
While Camilo is retiring after 16 years at Punahou, he also retired in 1997 after 24 years in government positions in the Philippines.
He started as a laborer, then passed the civil service exam and got an office clerk job, and was later promoted to officer. In 1998, 23 years after his sister-in-law petitioned for him to come to the U.S, the approval finally came through. He cashed out his retirement fund and moved to Hawai‘i.
Now that he’s retiring for good at 69, Camilo looks forward to post-COVID-19 travel to Cebu, where he built a house and still has family. In Hawai‘i, he enjoys cooking Filipino food and visiting his nearby children and grandchildren.
Susie Cooling ’72 Field Academy Math Faculty
Throughout Susie’s 45-year career at Punahou, she has taught almost every course the Academy mathematics department offers. Notably, Susie began teaching AP Calculus BC in 1998, and developed the Team BC approach that her students love. Susie has also served on professional development and curriculum committees, as a Mathematics Department chair, as a co-director of Variety Show, a faculty advisor for the National Honor Society and more.
Susie says teaching is something that “suits her heart,” and she hopes her legacy at Punahou is that she’s had a positive impact on the lives of her students and colleagues. In retirement, Susie looks forward to spending time with her husband, John, retired Punahou vice president and treasurer, their children Sarah ’01, Robby ’03, Charlie ’06 and Jimmy ’09, and engaging in creative endeavors such as playing piano, painting and reading.
Marsha Harbin-Teske Grade 7 Math Faculty
When Marsha started in 1982, Castle Hall used a ditto machine. In 1992, the building was wired for email. Now, after nearly four decades teaching middle school math, science and social studies, she’s using Webex for her lessons and happily anticipating a less tech-heavy life.
But she’ll miss collaborating with colleagues. Marsha was part of a grant-funded team that studied middle school education in 1996, and was on the Case Middle School Steering Committee. In 2003, she received a fellowship to work on the K – 8 Curriculum Map for Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
Marsha is also a dancer who performed in seven musicals at Diamond Head Theatre and choreographed two middle school musicals, “Annie” and “Anything Goes.” She looks forward to spending time with family, traveling and having fun.
Betsy Hata Director of Admission and Financial Aid
Despite having one of Punahou’s most pressure-cooker jobs, Betsy will miss her “efficient and productive staff who make it a pleasure to come to work, even in stressful times.” She’ll also miss attending conferences and building relationships with newly admitted families and students.
Betsy started at Punahou as an elementary school teacher in 1979, and soon added part-time duties in admissions counseling. In 1998, she became the department’s full-time associate director and then its head. In 2014, she was recognized with a national Everett E. Gourley Award from the Secondary School Admission Test Board.
To unwind, Betsy enjoys karaoke singing, bon dancing, reading and lunching with old friends. She looks forward to traveling, exercising, volunteering and hanging out with her two grandchildren.
Hiromi Hayashi Circulation Technician, Bishop Learning Center and K – 8 Learning Commons
With her library colleagues, Hiromi has enjoyed creating a place that inspires students’ intellects and provides “comfort and joy.” She is grateful for the support of dedicated administrators, faculty and staff, and, in turn, for being able to help others grow and thrive.
Although she’ll be leaving the workplace, Hiromi will continue her life’s work, which is providing “energy healing sessions for physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.” Under the guidance of her mentor in India, she has started the Sattva Himalayan Healing Initiative, which will be a center for teaching and offering healing modalities.
Hiromi also looks forward to traveling again with her family, including her two grown children.
Rocky Higgins Jr. ’68 Middle School Physical Education Faculty
As the son of a Punahou teacher and coach, Rocky grew up roaming the campus and “living in the Lily Pond.” He cherishes his unique, 70-plus-year Punahou journey and the many strong connections with colleagues and students he made along the way.
Rocky coached varsity football in 1973, then returned later to a 30-year coaching career that included girls’ kayaking, intermediate and JV football, and boys JV and varsity canoe paddling. In 1998, he was hired as a full-time PE teacher, doubly delighted and grateful to see his sons, Kainoa ’04 and Sam ’06, have their own Punahou experiences.
Rocky’s passions are body surfing, shell diving and revitalizing the Lily Pond. He looks forward to fishing, family time and avoiding morning traffic.
Darcy Iams Academy Science Faculty
Darcy began her career teaching chemistry and started the AP Chemistry program at Punahou in 1980. She taught on the mainland for 23 years before returning to Punahou in 2005.
Darcy has steered countless students into medicine. One innovation was to focus her anatomy class on real-world applications, such as diagnosing mystery illnesses and caring for patients. She then launched a medical problem-solving class, a medical career event and a G-Term experience shadowing medical professionals.
“If students can find a passion in high school, then they will have goals and a direction going forward,” she explains. While she’ll miss her students, she looks forward to golfing, water sports and spending time with her grandchildren in Denver and Charlotte.
Demetra Kaulukukui Middle School Dean
Demetra has worked with Punahou middle schoolers for 32 years, first as an English teacher and later as dean. She enjoys this age group and likes helping kids and families navigate the challenges of adolescence.
She approaches each school year with enthusiasm, as “nothing is more fun than planning and executing learning experiences with smart, caring, creative people.” As the year closes, she always looks back with a sense of accomplishment.
Demetra looks forward to gardening, exercising and spending time with her children and their families. But as she says in her original poem, “I’ll miss walking the campus / Watching children at play / Popping into a classroom / And hearing ‘Hi Mrs. K!’”
James Nakamura Locker Room Attendant
Since coming on board in 2005, James has enjoyed watching young athletes develop into caring and responsible men. When they return to visit, “it’s amazing to see how mentally matured they have become,” he says. Another highlight has been “meeting and working with administrators, teachers, coaches and staff who strive toward making Punahou School a better place for all.”
While he’ll miss the people he’s gotten to know, James has much to look forward to. He plans to start fishing again and go kayaking and paddleboarding in his favorite North Shore spots.
When travel reopens, he wants to visit Japan and take a European river cruise. But like many doting dads, he suspects he might “end up at my daughter’s house in California doing yard work.”
Max Nuʻuhiwa Grades 4 – 5 Hawaiian Studies Specialist Teacher
Max was instrumental in getting ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi offered for graduation credit, a turning point in Punahou’s commitment to teaching the language.
She appreciates getting to play to her strengths, such as incorporating ʻIke Hawaiʻi and Hawaiian music into her lessons and teaching hula to faculty and staff. Beyond her current role, she has taught kindergarten and third grade, and worked with the Pan Pacific Program at the Wo International Center.
After 32 years with Punahou, and 15 with Kamehameha, Max feels like she could keep on teaching. She’ll miss the “everyday hustle and bustle” of the classroom, but looks forward to spending time with her three grown children and three grandchildren – and “not waking up to the alarm clock!”
Janet Chang ’78 Oshiro Academy Math Faculty
Janet has taught at Punahou since 1990, and has served as Mathematics Department chair, Math Team coach, faculty partner and member of the President’s Advisory Committee. “What’s really made working at Punahou special is the people,” she says.
She traveled to China with the Wo International Center’s Hope Staab on a memorable educational trip in 2012, and in 2019, attended the Presidential Award Ceremony in Washington, D.C. of student recipient Ryan Park ’19, who named her as his most inspirational teacher. “She really helped me move ahead,” he said.
With two grown children, David ’07 and Bethany ’10 – both Punahou graduates – and parents in their 90s, Janet and her husband anticipate different opportunities to grow and serve in the years to come.
Jesus Paguirigan Cafeteria Utility Worker
Jesus has cleaned the campus and washed dishes at Dole Hall since 1986, the same year he arrived in Hawai‘i from the Philippines. At the time, he had to leave his wife and four children behind, though they reunited on O‘ahu in 2000. A year later, Jesus’ family of six grew to eight with the birth of his “surprise” twin girls.
Fast forward, and Jesus has grown children in Texas and ‘Ewa Beach, but a still bustling household. He enjoys growing plants, going on walks and riding bikes with his family, and is looking forward to having free time to renovate his home and sleep in.
Paris Priore–Kim ’76 Junior School Principal
Paris has had teaching and leadership positions across the entire School, an experience that led to wide-ranging connections and treasured memories. “It was an uncommon trajectory that has given me a global view of the incredible humans that make up our community,” she says.
As Junior School principal, she has promoted valuable advances in the literacy and mathematics curriculum, an enhanced approach to emotional intelligence and guided the completion of the Kosasa Community. She has also championed a deeply student-centered approach to pedagogy while supporting an outstanding faculty and leadership team.
Before becoming principal in 2016, she served as Academy dean, associate director of the Luke Center for Public Service, eighth grade social studies teacher and substitute teacher. “At every turn, her tremendous vision, energy and creativity have made Punahou a much stronger and better school,” President Mike Latham ’86 said.
Through the years, Paris said her colleagues have been “monumental sources of joy and strength to me” and will continue to inspire her. She is excited about the next chapter of her career, which she says will be connected to previous roles, yet also brand new. When not working, she enjoys gardening, yoga and tap dancing.
Posa Ripley Security Guard
Posa is a cheerful, ubiquitous presence in the Omidyar K-1 Neighborhood. “Everyone knows me and I know them,” he says. “I will miss all my friends here, the parents, teachers and students.”
After 48 years at Punahou, Posa faces big transitions, including moving from campus housing to ‘Ewa Beach. He also plans to build a house near the village of Leone in American Samoa.
Posa moved there at 17 from Western Samoa and worked in a grocery store. Everything changed in 1973, when his wife visited Hawai‘i and decided to stay for their kids’ education. He quickly joined her and landed a job driving Punahou’s buses and trucks, then moving into security. After ceaseless work, he says he might go to Vegas for a little fun.
Richard Root Maintenance Shop Supervisor
Richard worked with some of Hawai‘i’s major construction companies before taking a carpenter position at Punahou in August 2001. Weeks later, he remembers rising in the wee hours to get ready for work, when news reports showed the World Trade Center collapsing. That major event, along with the election of a Punahou grad to the presidency, are seared in his mind.
As the person in charge of event setups, Richard’s work has been critical. He meets with department heads to realize their projects, including Trustee and donor events, Alumni Lū‘au, Carnival and Commencement.
Richard loved being on campus when his daughter, Nalani ’06, was a student, and he now loves visiting her and his grandchildren.
Mari-Jo Johnson ’81 Schull Junior School Faculty Grade 4
After 30 years at Punahou, Mari-Jo says what she cherishes most are the many meaningful relationships she’s had with colleagues, students and families. “These wonderful memories have taken me through Winne, Castle and now Kosasa,” she says.
She’s particularly fond of teaching fourth grade. “The students are responsible, resourceful, respectful and so full of joy.”
Over her time at Punahou, Mari-Jo has always focused on meeting the needs of the School’s diverse group of learners. One way she accomplished that is by incorporating art in her history lessons. With this educational technique in mind, she spent a month in Paris on sabbatical to study art. She also used the opportunity to experience life in a foreign country, something she had never done before that trip.
Mari-Jo and her husband, Gunner Schull ’80, met as students at Punahou. They have two children, Matthew ’09 and Natalie ’13.
Lisa Stewart Academy Dean
Lisa’s roles extended far beyond teaching Academy English and serving as department chair. She has also been director of mentoring at Punahou, Curriculum Committee chair, technology resource teacher, college counselor and liaison for the Community Care Response Team.
The variety over 31 years has allowed her “to be constantly challenged and develop as a human being.” When she’s not serving the campus community, Lisa likes home DIY projects, sewing, writing, gardening and rescuing wild birds — as she puts it, making and nurturing things.
In the years ahead, she hopes to take it up a notch by writing a book and patenting an invention. She also looks forward to spending time with her husband and two daughters.
Bob Tam ’67 Grade 6 Social Studies Faculty
Since 1972, Bob’s lessons have left an indelible impression, including a Hajj reenactment, a living Civil War wax museum and an Underground Railroad activity. The simulations and other innovations earned him the Gilder-Lehrman Hawai‘i State History Teacher of the Year Award in 2018.
Bob is also known for introducing historical songs and helping kids bond over music during Camp Timberline/Pālehua. He plays music with alumni buddies, and his faculty band, Punarock, has entertained at Carnival. He is an avid hiker, surfer, swimmer and traveler who loves to visit his three grown children and five grandchildren every chance he gets.
Punahou has been in Bob’s life since he arrived as a eighth grader in 1962. He’s seen constant change, but one enduring mission: “Teach the children and help them find who they are.”
In April 2020, while teaching through distance learning, he drafted a note to his sixth graders, which reflects the trademark wisdom and encouragement he long shared with students. “We can distract our minds from the pestilence lurking outside by carrying on in our own world of academia. We are like characters in some dream book; we can give ourselves courage, but the plot is being provided by forces beyond our control. I’m glad to be able to write the next chapter with you,” he wrote.
Linda Sutton ’74 Torres Associate Director of Reunion Activities
Linda has enjoyed her years meeting wonderful alumni from around the world and working with her colleagues to create memorable experiences, such as Lū‘au and community service events.
Nearly 20 years after graduating from Punahou, Linda returned to campus in 1994 as a teacher’s assistant and back-up office worker. She moved into the position of advancement gift processor and then alumni relations officer before taking her current job.
During those years, she was glad to be on campus while her children (Nick ’99, Nohea ’01 and Tressa ’09) were in school. She now has seven grandchildren, who she loves spending time with, along with going to the beach, reading and cooking.
Lei Rummel ’81 Wilmoth Academy Math Faculty
Lei reached two major milestones this year. She’ll be attending her 40th Punahou Reunion and has spent 40 years as a student and faculty member at the School.
She’ll miss it all – teaching her favorite class, AP Calculus AB; her fantastic colleagues; the staff that keeps things running smoothly; and the curious, humorous students. “Deciding to retire was a tough decision,” she explains. “But once I made that decision, I knew it was right.”
Lei and her husband are wrapping up their lives in Hawai‘i and moving to Spokane, Washington, where he has friends and family. Once there, she plans to get a dog (or two) to “fill the huge void left in my heart” when her old beloved pet passed away in August.
“It’s a privilege to be part of this special school, Punahou. It continues to be a place to learn, flourish, teach, gather and foster relationships that last a lifetime.”
“(The highlight for me is) Camp Timberline!”
“I am very fortunate to be able to work alongside such a talented and diverse group of people. I also love that I get to meet and build a relationship with all of the incoming kindergarten students and their parents.”
“The best part about working at Punahou would have to be the colleagues. I have made some amazing friendships, and it truly makes the workday even better.”
“Aside from working with amazing cello students and watching them grow, several years ago a few colleagues and I had the great opportunity to collaborate with our wonderful Punahou Symphony in a performance of Beethoven’s Triple Concerto for Violin, Cello and Piano.”
“The highlight of my time here has been working alongside the talented and dedicated team of individuals that make up the Punahou Athletics Department.”
“I have enjoyed working in an environment that promotes a growth mindset and lifelong learning, and working together with colleagues who support and inspire me.”
“The children’s smiles each morning and witnessing their promise in the classroom are my greatest blessings teaching at Punahou. I am also deeply grateful for the excellent education and care my children received here, and the colleagues who have become lifelong friends.”
“Each year, it’s exciting to see orchestra students achieve frequent, new skill acquisitions. I enjoy helping students learn to read music, sharing how the clefs and staff work. Once I was delighted to receive a collection of bloopers with a video playing assignment turned in.”
“(I enjoy) being able to engage with students with humor, creativity and curiosity. It is an energizing work environment with a strong sense of community. Learning daily from my bright and resilient students and, of course, my passionate and talented colleagues, has been immensely inspiring.”
“Some highlights for me are seeing the happy faces of my students each week for their lessons, and being surrounded and supported by wonderful colleagues and staff at the Music School who believe that music and arts are at the core of being kind humans.”
“The children at Punahou are my highlights. Every morning, I look forward to coming to school because of the children. I love helping them believe in themselves, I love seeing their excitement when they learn new things, and I love growing and learning with them.”
“The highlight for me has been the opportunity to work around so many extraordinary people who truly care about what they do. I have learned more than I thought I would ever know from the people I get to work with each day. “
“The highlights of my career has been working with the Physical Plant team, making connections and learning about the important role we play in keeping our campus beautiful. I also enjoyed attending all the amazing and joyful events throughout the year. Thank you!”
“In the years I’ve been at Punahou, I have built so many meaningful relationships. I really enjoy having several siblings from the same family in our class. It’s also been so lovely to follow children as they grow, and support them in sports or whatever their interests are.”
“(My highlight) has been) meeting my best friend, Maverick the Duck. I’m also grateful to have been a part of so many camps, trips, and memorable experiences with students and teachers. I’m looking forward to seeing the continued hard work and genuine care from students for our sacred Pu’u O Mānoa (Rocky Hill). “
“So many highlights … resilient students; colleagues who give more than they knew they had in them; challenges faced and understood; a gorgeous campus. I’m incredibly grateful.”
“The highlight of my time at Punahou has been the privilege of being immersed in a community of constant inspiration, opportunity and growth – from students, to colleagues, to members of the global community. Making a difference one person at a time!”
“I would like to thank Punahou School for giving me the opportunity to work here. I met awesome teachers, students and co-workers. It feels good when they greet me in the morning and thank me for my work. I am hoping to enjoy many more years here at Punahou School. Thank you. ”
“The highlight of my time at Punahou has been the supportive Punahou community in all my various positions. The enriching experiences in my work with the PUEO Program, the Learning Commons and now in Media Design at the VPC will always be with me.”
“We are all lucky to work with fantastic students, but the best part of my time at Punahou has been being a member of such a supportive faculty. I feel very lucky to be surrounded by such caring individuals who are always willing to take time out of what they are doing to help.”
“It’s been a pleasure working for Punahou School. The students, teachers, fellow colleagues and the entire Punahou community have made my moments at the School unforgettable. Seeing my two sons Dylan ’17 and Bryce ’20, graduating from Punahou has been the highlight of my life! Stay safe!”
“(My highlight) is just trying to help students further their education here and hoping that they become positive contributors to society.”
“The most meaningful highlight is continuing my familyʻs legacy of directing the Holokū Pageant and May Day Programs. Iʻm also lucky that my various positions provide me an opportunity to work with the entire community from students, to the faculty and administrators. Iʻm blessed!”
“I am consistently inspired by the curiosity and creativity of my students and colleagues. Each day brings something new and challenging and that surprise makes this work exciting year after year.”
“I appreciate the kids. They cooperate and help clean up their team space. Every time they see me, they wave and say, ‘Hi, uncle.’ Another highlight of working at Punahou is celebrating these milestone anniversaries.”
“The highlight of being at Punahou has been the friendships that I’ve made throughout the different departments on campus. The laughter with and support for each other has been a blessing over the years.”
“Our amazing people, this wondrous place and inspiring lives of purpose! Being part of a community that cares deeply about sustaining and fulfilling the promise of Kapunahou now, and for future generations.”
“Everyone is so friendly. It is a lot of fun and very satisfying to work with them.”
“The opportunity to interact with every department on campus in my position and as a parent, as well as all the friendships I’ve gained and the priceless bonus of being a member of the family that helped raise my daughter, have been the highlights of my years at Punahou.”
“The first time I learned to drive was on campus in a golf cart! I’m enjoying my work at Punahou. I am happy.”
“(My highlights have been) experiencing school with my own kids, and getting to see them grow, learn and enjoy their time here. Additionally, I’m really grateful for the work that I get to do in designing and building programs that impact students in really authentic and meaningful ways.”
“I have had the pleasure of being on the same campus as my daughters during their years at Punahou, and I’ve had the honor (and joy!) of getting to know the wonderful people who have cared for them from deans and chaplains to teachers and co-workers.
“I am so blessed and grateful to have contributed to our Punahou ‘ohana.”
“I take care of Dillingham Hall, including the Costume Shop and Drama Workshop, and love being close to the Theatre Department and watching the students perform.”
“My favorite thing about my job has been the people I work with, and a highlight is exchanging gifts with them during the holidays. The School also provides good benefits. “
“The 15 years have been filled with highlights. I feel so blessed to have played a small role in the lives of my students.”
“A highlight has been taking my students to Hawai’i Island and going on a night hike. The sky was filled with stars and Halemaʻumaʻu Crater glowed as we danced for Pele. As a mom, nothing could be more heartwarming than watching my son, Jarret ’20, receive his Punahou diploma last May.”
“Punahou provides many opportunities to learn and grow professionally, all of which have influenced my teaching practices in the classroom. Serving on the grades 2 – 5 steering committee and seeing it come to fruition, as well as seeing the children learn, and play in this space is inspiring!”
“It’s hard to pick one highlight over the years, however, one memory that I will always cherish is the creativity, flexibility and resilience the Class of 2022 displayed in putting on a Carnival out of this world.”
“(The highlight for me is) being a spark plug for curiosity and exploration in students. To nurture that sense of wonder and awe and to see it light a fire in students is a great privilege. I love being immersed with the students in this culture of learning and growth. ”
“Working with the youngest learners on campus, the highlight each day is seeing their eyes light up when they smile and hearing them sing together. It makes me smile when parents report that their children come home and teach them the songs and games they learned in music class.”
“Punahou is about people. I am honored to work and learn alongside many amazing colleagues and students – to be part of a musical journey for so many singers who are now amazingly accomplished alumni who continue to keep music in their hearts and practice all these years later.”
“It has been a great honor to serve the students and families of Punahou and to have had the opportunity to work along side some amazing educators. Additionally, being a part of the faculty and team that designed the Kosasa Community was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
“A definite highlight has been the Punahou community. I am a long way from my family and hometown (Boston), but the people at Punahou, from the moment I arrived in Hawai‘i to this very difficult pandemic year, have always made me feel like this is the place I am meant to be.”
“The end of summer BBQ was always one of my favorite times of the year. Sadly, they are no more, but I will always remember the excellent food and fun times.”
“(I’ve enjoyed) staying a part of the community that I grew up in, getting to know so many amazing students and working with so many inspiring colleagues”
“I deeply treasure the people (colleagues, alumni friends and students) and deep sense of place that I have encountered while working at Punahou. It has been a privilege to be able to contribute to a long tradition and to know that my children share this experience with me.”
“I have most loved seeing our students’ smiles when they complete project presentations which they worked very hard on; have conversations in Japanese with classmates and native Japanese speakers; do community service projects; and win the Japan Wizards Competitions.”
“(The highlights for me are) the sense of community and the many close friendships I’ve made over the years.”
“The connections as parent, worker and friend with the children and adults in the Punahou community. It’s a blessing to be here. Mahalo.”
“The feeling of ‘ohana makes Punahou a special place. The highlight of my time here is the sharing of the Punahou experience with my two daughters. I am grateful for the support and encouragement given to me and my children throughout our time here.”
“I enjoy being a part of the changes and providing a clean and safe environment for all of the faculty, students and staff. I love all of the new buildings that we’ve added to make our campus beautiful. I am very grateful that I am a part of this friendly ‘ohana.”
“I like to help kids, and I enjoy the events on campus, such as Speech and Debate events and Carnival. I try to do my job to the best of my ability.”
“Every opening and closing night we have for shows onstage at Dillingham are absolute magic and easily a repeating highlight of my time here at Punahou.”
“There are many people I’ve met at Punahou who are unforgettable, but my most memorable moments are those that showcased students’ accomplishments and talents – music concerts, plays, award ceremonies and Carnival! Watching students grow and change is so much fun.”
“The highlight of working at Punahou is meeting so many amazing people. They are kind, helpful, fun and love working here. I have always felt supported and encouraged to do my best.”
“It has been rewarding to support Wo Center‘s expanding global initiatives and programs. I am grateful for the many friendships and connections with colleagues and program participants. My work aligns perfectly with my early interest in languages and cultures and love of travel!”
“I love interacting with students, the teamwork and the open communication shared with co-workers.”
“The joy of teaching music to our passionate, kind and bright student body keeps me fueled and gives my life purpose. I also feel incredibly grateful to work at a school with such inspiring and supportive colleagues and administration. I am truly blessed.”
“The highlight of my first 20 years at Punahou has to be the friendships and the learning, the life shared with so many sincere, hard-working and generous people, and the continual surprise in discovering new things about my discipline and my craft. I am deeply grateful.”
“I enjoy my interactions with student-athletes. We get to see the girls grow up, and we see a lot of them come back to coach.”
“I can’t imagine working with better people. I am grateful for the relationships I have developed with others – faculty, staff, students – and the way these relationships have inspired me, challenged me and encouraged me to keep stretching myself as an educator and as a person.”
“While the primary focus on every student is academics, co-curricular activities such as tennis play a vital role in a child’s life, and I am proud to have played a significant part of a tennis program that has introduced as many students as possible to the ‘sport for a lifetime.'”
“I am truly blessed to be a part of such a vibrant community, and I’m especially grateful to those I’ve worked with during these extraordinary times. Punahou is a magical place because of the people here. Take good care, everyone!”
“My highlight while here at Punahou was observing my daughter grow into a fine young lady. I feel very blessed.”
“Without question, the highlights of my time at Punahou have been the wonderful friendships I have made here, the talented colleagues I have worked with and who have inspired me, and the students who have brought me joy and laughter every day!”
“(My highlights are) watching Chloé ’11 and Sebastien ’14 grow from kindergarten to senior graduation; living on campus with faculty families; leading the annual photo trip to the Neighbor Islands; and empowering and enabling students with the responsibility and creativity of the Oahuan yearbook.”
“(My highlight has been) watching my children experience Punahou and seeing everything we do through a new lens.”
“Punahou is a great place to work and grow, which is the reason I have been here all these years. The good benefits; having my son Gian ’03 attend; working with a great team of faculty and staff, including the building and grounds team; workshops to better your career; and the great opportunities provided to students and staff.”
“The highlight has been meeting and working with so many wonderful people. I’m appreciative of having been given the opportunity to be a part of so many students’ lives and their journeys through Punahou School. I’m fortunate to have learned so much from colleagues and students.”
“The highlight of my time at Punahou has been sharing 30 years with those who have a deep commitment to Punahou and its mission and purpose, and I am grateful to Punahou for giving me the opportunity to do so!”
“Carnival is my high. Some people drink wine, but the rush I get from Carnival is all I need.”
“I enjoy working at Punahou, especially with all my co-workers. It’s been a great experience. Thanks to the Punahou families.”
“Given the opportunity to teach, to coach sports and win a state title as a head coach, to be involved with work on a variety of committees, and to be creative in my sustainability efforts has been powerful. I have raised chickens here, and my students and I used to collect cans in order to provide donations to those in need. We have collected toiletries every year for the homeless, and at one point, I began raising worms as part of a school composting program. I have worked with amazing people, and my wife and I were fortunate to see our two children attend our alma mater, from grades K – 12 like us. Seeing their success in life now fills us with great joy.”
“A highlight of my career has been serving as the musical/vocal director for almost 50 Middle School Musical Theatre productions and Academy Variety Shows. This, partnered with the ever-invigorating energy and enthusiasm of our students, brings me joy and fulfillment.”