Creating Community Starts with our PFA K – 12 Room Parents 

By Rachel Murkofsky P ’32

The annual K – 12 Room Parent Welcome Orientation, hosted by the PFA, is such a great way for Homeroom, Team Space and Advisory Parents to start the year. The Room Parent Welcome held at the end of August is an informative and celebratory annual event which kicks off the school year for our volunteers. Our PFA Leadership team helps orient our volunteers to their roles in helping support our teachers for the new school year. Invariably at these PFA events, just like our children do at the beginning of each school year, both seasoned and new parents and guardians come together and have a chance to meet each other and to make new friends. 

The well-attended breakfast event was hosted by Punahou PFA President Mike Lee and President-Elect Emmie Kia, along with our Grade Chairs, Lori Tam (Academy), Melody Fukushima (Case Middle School), Rachel Murkofsky (Grades 2 – 5), Erin Horner (K – 1), and our wonderful PFA Grade Representatives. Volunteers were greeted by our school principals, Gustavo Carrera and Todd Chow-Hoy, and welcomed by PFA Leadership and the grade level deans, who fielded questions. During the event, volunteers learned that after several years of pandemic pivoting, families have returned to campus to experience all that Punahou has to offer. Punahou’s engaging community is back to normal! 

When our daughter entered Punahou for kindergarten in the fall of 2019, our family was completely new to the school. My husband and I had not grown up here, and our older son attended another school in town. I decided to volunteer as a room parent to meet other families and to learn about Punahou and all its traditions. I wondered (like many new families), “What the heck is a Flaming ‘P’?” I quickly learned, and so will you.

I was very lucky to be selected to be the lead room parent for our kindergarten class and to be paired with three other wonderful and dedicated moms. Together, we worked to support our teachers and our kids, and we did our best to keep it together when the pandemic came. After COVID hit, I wanted to help the school however I could, so I asked what I could do. My main criterion for a volunteer position was that I needed something that I could do at night or on weekends, after work. In the years since, I have been fortunate to serve as the Grade 1 Rep, the PFA Secretary, the VP for New Families and Admissions, and now the Grade 2 – 5 Chair.

Volunteering for the PFA is important to me because it allows me to give back to the school that gives so much to our daughter and to our family. And it turns out that it has given me much more in return. During the past four-plus years, especially during the pandemic, the PFA enabled me to stay connected to people at school and to make many new friends. Because of the PFA, I have met countless fellow parents, staff, administrators and teachers, and I’ve had a lot of fun along the way. When I stepped onto the Punahou campus in 2019, I didn’t know anybody. Now, there is not a place I can go on campus without bumping into several people that I know. For this, I sincerely thank Punahou and the PFA. 

I would encourage every parent to volunteer for the PFA – any volunteer job, big or small. You will be amazed at the joy and friendships you will get in return.

Huge thanks to our PFA leaders and all our amazing Homeroom, Team Space, and Advisory Parents for everything you do! It’s going to be an awesome year!

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