By Rachel Breitweser ’03
As one of Wall Street’s top stock analysts, it might be hard to believe that Darin Arita’s ’93 academic career got off to a rocky start. Yet it was through his struggles that he came to recognize and appreciate just how influential the support of those around him could be. Now, he’s returning the favor by supporting students’ ambitions.
With a scholastic level well below that of his classmates, Arita was put into a remedial class in the first grade. He quickly overcame his deficiencies through the efforts of his teacher and his mother’s focus on alternative types of lessons and home learning. Arita entered Punahou in the fourth grade and, despite being younger than most of his classmates, he flourished with the support of his fourth-grade teachers.
After graduation, Arita followed his aspirations and went on to work at large financial institutions in Washington, D.C., and New York. He has since been recognized as a top stock analyst on Wall Street and a successful corporate executive in his field.
Though far from his first-grade remedial class, Arita still reflects on his early school years and looks back at that time with a deep sense of gratitude for the love, support and encouragement from his parents, and the patience, wisdom and guidance from his teachers. Inspired by this, Arita established the A.I.M. High Endowed Financial Aid Fund to provide young students with the opportunity to dream big and to achieve their fullest potential. He named the fund after his fourth-grade teachers, borrowing the first letter of their last names: Jane Affleck, Dana Izumi and Chris McLaren.
Arita dedicated the fund to his parents and all of his teachers for their educational, professional and spiritual support. “Their support was critical at many points of my journey,” he says. Arita hopes this endowed fund will help relieve some of the financial burden of parents in need and remind students to be grateful for their parents and teachers and to aim high.
After having a blast at last year’s 24th Reunion bonding with classmates over lū‘au prep, the member of the Class of 1993 returned to campus during his 25th Reunion this summer. “I thoroughly enjoyed the Reunion, laughing over old stories shared together and learning new ones forged since graduation.” The class raised over $430,000 in gifts that support Punahou’s students, faculty and facilities.
Arita is humbled to play a role in supporting the School. “Establishing the A.I.M. High Fund was an opportunity to provide aid to other students starting at Punahou around the same grade level that I entered. The 25th Reunion, as a milestone event, offered a nice moment to commemorate the fund.”