President Mike Latham ’86 welcomed students back to school during Wednesday’s virtual Convocation, Punahou Board Chair Mark Fukunaga ’74, Academy Principal Emily McCarren, Junior School Principal Paris Priore-Kim ’76 and Senior Class President Tom Nitao ’21 also shared their thoughts about the new school year ahead.
“There are three things I’m going to ask you to do for me as this new year begins,” Latham said. “The first is I want you to dive in. You have the incredible opportunity to attend one of the very best schools in the world. And I want you to think about how to make the very most of that opportunity. I want you to give it your all. I want you to ask questions in class. I want you to get to know your classmates. I want you to get to know your teachers. I want you to take ownership of this experience and bring your best self every day.”
Latham also encouraged students to reach out to new students, recalling his own nerves on his first day of school, 40 years ago. “I didn’t know anybody,” he said. “I’d never been to Punahou before, and I was nervous… I want you to reach out to them. I want you to welcome them. I want you to invite them in and make them feel that they truly belong here. That kind of kindness is priceless, but it will cost you absolutely nothing.”
His third message to students was to break out of their groups and spend time with different people. “You might find some perspective,” he said. “You might learn something about the world. You might learn something about other people. And along the way, you’ll discover some talents, some interests, some curiosity that you didn’t even know that you had.”
Academy and middle school students began the school year today, while students in kindergarten through grade five start on Monday, Aug. 24.