Coastal Carnival Brings Community Together 

By Heidi Okikawa P’13 ’23, Carnival Coordinator 

While the title of “Carnival Coordinator” may rest on my shoulders, the heart and soul of this annual event extend far beyond my individual efforts. I quickly discovered that this gig is way more than just me juggling responsibilities – it’s a team effort that spans generations and unites the Punahou ’ohana.

Embarking on the journey as the Carnival Coordinator, I found myself initially apprehensive about the responsibility bestowed upon me. The realization that families and communities depended on the success of the Carnival was both humbling and intimidating. However, drawing strength from my experiences as a dedicated parent volunteer and a proud parent of two alumni, I recognized the unique opportunity to gain a fresh perspective on this pivotal role.

Amidst the Carnival chaos, I’ve come to realize it’s a collective effort, not a solo act. Shout-out to our unsung heroes – Physical Plant, Cafeteria, Communications, IT, VPC, Business Office, Health Center and Security – and more than 550 Junior and Sophomore parent booth chairs, 300 Junior Student Booth Chairs, and 1,000 shift workers who dive into the madness with us. Together, we transform challenges into stories that’ll have you laughing and nodding in solidarity. Success isn’t just about overcoming obstacles; it’s about friendships, shared laughter, and those “heck yeah, we did it” moments. The real trophy? The high-fives and cheers from the crowd.

In the midst of slurping Portuguese Bean Soup and swaying to Hawaiian music, we’re reminded why we’re all here. It’s not just about surviving the long lines or staying awake through the night – it’s about embracing the Punahou spirit. It’s about the shared experiences, the traditions passed down like treasures, and the deep sense of pride that turns exhaustion into a badge of honor.

Families keep coming back, year after year, to soak in the Punahou Carnival vibe. It’s not just an event. It’s a legacy crafted by the sweat, laughter, and love of volunteers; the hard work of different departments; and the unwavering support of the community.  As we celebrate the success of another Punahou Carnival, let it remind us that when we unite with a common purpose, we can build something truly enduring. Here’s to many more years of laughter, friendship, and the shared traditions we continue to cherish together.

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