Canteen Connections: Building Community One Event at a Time

By Stephanie Buelow, P ’29, ’26, PFA Grade 7 Representative

Tom Ford once said, “The most important things in life are the connections you make with others.” This philosophy resonates deeply with me as a parent and with the hope that my children cultivate meaningful friendships during their school years, just as I seek connections with fellow parents. The recent Grade 7 Canteen (for students) and Canteen Connections (for parents/guardians), were two events that surely nurtured these connections and brought the community together.

While our seventh graders spent their Saturday afternoon at their first Canteen of the year, engaged in various activities, including swimming, volleyball, basketball, socializing, and savoring some delicious caramel cuts, parents/guardians of the Class of 2029 gathered at the President’s Pavilion for the Canteen Connection. I would dare to say that we (the adults) had as much fun as our children, mingling while playing “Canteen Connections Bingo” and engaging in some friendly, competitive minute-to-win-it games (shout out to Team 7Y parents who won “bragging rights!”). As the Grade 7 parent representative, I took a moment to step back and notice how parents really embraced this opportunity to connect. The room was filled with laughter, conversations, and a sense of belonging. This day was also a reminder how many hands make light work. I want to give a shout out to our Grade 7 Dean, teachers, PFA Canteen Coordinator, Emily McCollum P ’29, the many parent chaperones who ensured the students had a safe and memorable afternoon. Thank you, too, to the “dream team” of parent volunteers and PFA liaisons who helped plan the Canteen Connections event. 

As a parent of children in the classes of ’26 and ’29, I have a deep appreciation for the connections I develop with fellow parents while my children are here at Punahou. Balancing the responsibilities of being a full-time working professional and a parent volunteer can often leave me feeling stretched thin. However, I’ve come to realize that volunteering and attending school events like Canteen Connection allows me to form meaningful bonds with other parents, faculty and staff. Through these shared experiences, laughs, and conversations, I feel more interconnected within this vibrant community here at Punahou. So, Class of ’28 families, I encourage you to volunteer to chaperone a canteen or attend the upcoming Grade 8 Canteen Connections! I promise … you and your kids will have a fantastic time!

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