Introducing Punahou’s New K – 5 Chaplain

Answering the Call

Punahou has welcomed Rev. Dr. Luana Uluave, who joined its Chaplain team in July. Her primary focus will be working with students in Kindergarten through grade 5, according to Junior School Principal Todd Chow-Hoy. “Chaplains play a vital role in helping our community to develop spiritual and ethical values that affirm the worth and dignity of everyone, inspired by our Hawaiian and Christian heritage,” he notes. “In addition, Chaplains are called to support our unique kuanaʻike and kuleana in creating a just, compassionate and sustainable world.”

Uluave, who relocated from Utah to assume her role, admires the mission of the School, not only for its academic excellence but also for its values around our mutual responsibilities toward each other and the planet. “I think people are happiest when they have a clear sense of purpose, meaning and connection in their lives,” she says. “I see Punahou aspiring toward building that foundation in students and I want to be a part of that.”

Uluave’s vision for her inaugural year is pretty straightforward. “My first goal is simply to watch and listen, to see how our K – 5 students move through their days, who they interact with and what is important to them,” she says. “There are rich traditions at Punahou, and I want to make sure I spend time learning about them and seeing them in action.”

Above all, she looks forward to delving into the community’s rich tapestry of storytelling – which has been a lifelong passion for Uluave; inspiring her to attain a doctorate degree in English and, ultimately, putting her on trajectory to chaplaincy. “I knew that chaplains help others hold their stories, and since stories – making, holding, telling stories – have been such an important part of my teaching, I was intrigued.”

Before becoming a chaplain, Uluave taught English at an independent school in Salt Lake City for 15 years, in grades 6-12. “I actually did my first unit of clinical pastoral education as a summer professional development program because I thought it would help with my teaching,” she notes. “I thought initially that chaplain training would make me a better listener and more compassionate with my students.”

About two weeks into her training, Uluave realized her life was about to change forever. “Chaplaincy just called to me on so many levels. I ended up leaving teaching the following year to go to seminary,” she says. “I completed 1,600 hours of clinical pastoral education and completed the process for ordination in the Presbyterian Church (USA) over the next five years.” Her commitment to chaplaincy grew out of seeing how vital spiritual wellness is to helping people flourish.

Uluave was attracted to Punahou because of the opportunity to integrate her passion for spirituality with working with kids. “I love how open-hearted and kind students can be. I love being around the enthusiasm and joy that they exhibit,” she notes. “They are vastly different at age 5 than at age 18 – but the chance to see them experience things for the first time, to be a part of that wonder and growth, continues to make me happy year after year.” 

Uluave joins Rev. Dr. George Scott and Rev. Joshua Hayashi as part of Punahou’s K-12 Chapel Program. To learn more about Chapel at Punahou, visit

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