This past year, I embarked on a 12-day trip to Estelí, Nicaragua, as part of an Operation Smile medical mission team. Surrounded by medical volunteers from over 15 countries, I experienced a unique community comprised of individuals from different backgrounds and cultures. As one of two students within the mainly adult medical team, I was initially intimidated.
Big sister Kapua looks Hi‘ilei straight in the eyes and tells her, “You eat too much meat.” With a here-we-go-again look Hi‘ilei responds, “But I love my imported prosciutto.” In unison, they burst into laughter, which makes it obvious that this kind of playful banter is constant between these sisters.
Wiry, cracking jokes and captivating his audience with a freewheeling conversational style that befits decades spent hunting stories in troubled spots across the globe, William Finnegan seems game for anything. Today he’s itching to ride the North Shore swells, unfazed by danger after 60-plus years. But a hectic schedule has forced him to make do with the waters off Diamond Head, the site of some of his earliest surfing exploits.
Sharon Twigg-Smith is one of Punahou’s valued advisors and most dedicated supporters, which is striking when considering that she was introduced to the School not as a student but through the experiences of her family. “I was not aware of Punahou before we moved here and when my son began attending, I was stunned by his experiences here.
When asked what drives her, Suzanne Case shares, “My great curiosity. I really enjoy digging into a topic and trying to understand what the challenge is and thinking through the path forward. It’s something I gained from my Punahou education. The great teachers didn’t just relay information, they embodied an appreciation for exploration.”These questioning and probing problem-solving skills will definitely play a critical role as Case takes on her biggest job yet in serving the public trust.
Just a few weeks into her newly appointed position as executive director of The Nature Conservancy of Hawai‘i, Ulalia Woodside is busy figuring out where the office supplies are stored and claiming victory when the security code for the front door of the Conservancy’s downtown Honolulu headquarters works.

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