Members of this year’s graduating class received their diplomas Saturday at UH’s Stan Sheriff Center in a lively Commencement celebration. The evening was filled with uplifting speeches, a beautiful hula and joyous music performed by students.
The ceremony was last held at Stan Sheriff in 2019. For the past two years, seniors were celebrated on campus to accommodate pandemic restrictions.
Senior Class President Tate Goodman ’22 delivered a warm parting speech to classmates, telling them, “the connections we have made and the memories we will carry with us and cherish forever mean it’s not truly goodbye. You see, the time we’ve shared is what binds us, no matter where we venture in the world.”
Academy Principal Emily McCarren highlighted the incredible strength of the class in her address, sharing how the seniors managed to express gratitude even in the face of challenges. “These students, over and over again, showed us how much there is to learn – and how to find joy – in challenge and hardship,” she said. “The last few years have presented enough challenges for a lifetime, and this was just high school for them. They have known no other reality and they have come out of these years hardened, and strong.” It was a wonderful farewell to the class before McCarren departs Punahou to head Keystone Academy in Beijing.
President Mike Latham ’86 offered valuable advice for the class as they head off to college, encouraging them to deepen their sense of empathy and accountability. “Take advantage of the college setting to get to know people with backgrounds and experiences very different than your own,” he said. “You will be surprised what you might discover you have in common. Expose yourself to challenging ideas and arguments, including those that you disagree with or find hard to understand. You may not change what you believe, but you may gain a better sense of why others think as they do, and ultimately find a shared language or common vocabulary for understanding.”
After the speeches, Deans Christine David and Jonah Ka‘akua ’97 presented the Class of 2022, with each member walking up on stage to receive their diploma.
The ceremony ended with the class singing “O‘ahu a” followed up by a spirited “Strawberry Shortcake.” In a heartwarming moment, seniors gave lei and hugs to their family members who were seated in the audience, before exiting to greet guests outside.
Excerpts from this year’s student speakers
In a few minutes, each one of us will receive the ultimate recognition of our time here at Punahou. And then, we, the Class of 2022, will embark on the most unpredictable and thrilling journey of our lives. While our paths ahead may vary, one thing is certain: Punahou has provided us with the tools, mindset and passion to voyage confidently in the pursuit of our dreams.
Take pride in how far you have come. Have faith in how far you will go. Strive to do your best in life, and may your wake never cease to produce waves of positive change. There’s no doubt in my mind that this collection of wayfinders will change the world.
Tate Goodman ’22, Senior Class President
These past years have been nothing short of challenging. We have been tried in more ways than we thought ever possible. We watched each other grow through the lens of computer cameras and behind protected layers of fabric, all while trying our best to stay six feet apart; nevertheless, we’ve grown. In these last few months, we have been filled with melancholy, anticipation and aspiration for life.
Starting new chapters, creating new relationships, making new memories … growing up. We were once children chasing independence, now the mere thought of freedom has the power to form tears in our eyes. It’s hard to imagine a life where at the end of the day we won’t be returning home to the very people who are seated before us. We’ll be surrounded by strangers. Sure, these strangers will blossom into friends, but nothing will ever quite compare to home.
Emma Luna ’22
Zeen is a next generation WordPress theme. It’s powerful, beautifully designed and comes with everything you need to engage your visitors and increase conversions.