Convocation 2022: A Year of Gratitude

By Rachel Breitweser ’03 and Gina Gelber

On Aug. 7, students and faculty from grades 2 – 12 were able to gather on Alexander Field for Convocation to celebrate the start of school. “It is so exciting to see you all here – to have this entire collection of Punahou students gathered,” said President Mike Latham ’86. “It is the first time in three years that we have been able to do that and it feels really great.” In the afternoon, Punahou’s youngest learners participated in their own Keiki Convocation in the Omidyar K – 1 Neighborhood. 

Chaplain George Scott introduced Punahou’s theme for the year: “He wai nō” which means “there is water” and comes from the legend of Kapunahou, inviting us to cherish our precious resources.

President Latham, Board Chair Constance Hee ’70 Lau, Junior School Principal Todd Chow-Hoy, Academy Principal Gustavo Carrera and Senior Class President Jett Takazawa ’23 delivered uplifting speeches to set the tone for the school year.

“I encourage each of you to take advantage of this (place) and be kind and reach out to people who need your support. Know at Punahou, you never walk alone,” said President Latham, inspiring students to make connections and take full advantage of every opportunity at the School.

Echoing the sentiment, Chow-Hoy encouraged students to “explore how your unique talents, gifts and point of view contribute to the betterment of our school, our Island home and our world, and as you do, remember that you are always much more than you think you are.”

Coming up with the School’s theme is a treasured tradition – the collaborative effort among chaplains, kumu ‘Ike Hawai‘i and other members of the Punahou community. “We gather in the spring semester prior to the beginning of the next school year to envision, share ideas and talk story about our hopes going forward for the School,” says Chaplain Scott. “He wai nō was a fitting theme as we emerged from the global pandemic. Water is so essential for life and our School is blessed to be situated on a natural spring, drawing our very name, and meaning from it. We pray that our students will be fresh water to the world.” 

To share and explain this year’s theme, the chaplains – along with K – 5 students, Hawaiian Studies kumu, drama directors and music faculty – featured “The Legend of Kapunahou” in chapels from grades K – 12. 

“In doing so, we hope to make this story and our theme a part of our common language throughout our campus,” Chaplain Scott says. “Our hope is that we embrace and live out this theme and the gifts we’ve been given in ways that come to life to benefit all of God’s creations.”

(For a recounting of the Kapunahou creation story, read President Mike Latham’s Letter.)

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