Commencement 2019

Family, friends and faculty celebrated with the Class of 2019 at this year’s Commencement at Stan Sheriff Center. “Remember these moments together, and remember the community you have created,” President Jim Scott ’70 told graduates. “Store it, hold it, carry it with you. Pay the gift of education forward.” To commemorate Scott’s retirement, a representative from the Class gave Scott his own special diploma. Students also sang a song from his 1970 graduation ceremony.

Student Speech: Lee Horinouchi ’19

Leaving our home – one that has given us so much – may be frightening, yet I stand here today to ask you, the Class of 2019, to hope – to hope in the face of uncertainty; to hope in the face of difficulty. Instilled within us by Punahou is this fundamental belief that what we can dream is what we can achieve. That will guide us to a future of meaning and success.

Seniors, I am certain that each one of you graduating today will discover a life worth being written about in ballads and history books. I witness the beginnings of triumphant stories at this School every single day.

I see the quiet boy in class who never failed to open his mouth to say, “thank you,” to his teacher on his way out of the door; the girl who struggled with differential equations, but improved daily through hard work and perseverance; the kid with wide eyes and a funny name, whose aspirations stretch far beyond what others think is possible. These individual stories constitute a collective spirit of aspiration and exceptionalism that we share as students of Punahou, pushing us to hope when others have lost faith, and to dream when others would rather sleep.

We must preserve this feeling of hope that will drive us beyond the bounds of what’s expected. For graduation marks the end of a chapter in our lives and the beginning of a new one – one where we can pursue the path that Punahou started us on; one where we can impact the lives of people all around the world; one that allows us to live the life that we worked so hard to achieve. This is the true genius of Punahou – the unspoken promise of success and better days to come. And today, I call upon you, my fellow students of the Class of 2019, to follow your dreams, to inspire hope within others, and to make the world more like the place that empowers us to hope and to dream – our home, Punahou.

Excerpted from Horinouchi’s speech at the 2019 Commencement

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