Innovation, Transformation and Flexibility

Flexibility was a key design criteria of the Sidney and Minnie Kosasa Community for Grades 2 – 5, and this adaptability has proven to be crucial during this era of COVID-19. To accommodate changing needs during the pandemic, Punahou has reconfigured facilities across campus, including the fabrication and design labs at the Kosasa Community’s Learning Commons – part of a network of labs run by the Design Technology and Engineering Department.

Creative thinking and the thoughtfully designed spaces has made learning possible, regardless of the scenario, says Taryn Loveman, director of design technology and engineering. “We’re still meeting the same learning outcomes and approaching the same skill sets,” he says. “How we execute is different, but we didn’t have to change the curriculum.”

For instance, to facilitate distance learning, faculty created kits filled with supplies and equipment that allow students to have hands-on experiences at home. “We can, essentially instantly, produce what we need,” Loveman says. “We can dream it up, make it and go forward.”

Kindergartners have been assembling mini canoes made from wood cut by the lab’s laser cutters. The canoes are a scaled replica of the voyaging canoe that Academy students have been building for an ongoing project that also intersects with the design technology and engineering curriculum.

When students return to campus, Kosasa’s labs will serve a dual purpose as classrooms to reduce density – in fact, they may be ideal spaces to provide added safety. The lab’s floor-to-ceiling doorway, originally designed to create an indoor-outdoor learning space, allows students to spread out, while touchless sinks and enhanced air circulation systems also bolster safety.

Along with educational benefits, the labs also have been utilized to help the community. Earlier this spring, when COVID-19 hit, Design Technology and Engineering Department faculty and others, produced more than 2,600 pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE). Using the lab’s 3D printers, they created reusable N95 masks, face shields and other gear, then distributed them to hospitals, EMS workers, homeless advocate groups, small medical offices, doctors, nurses and senior care centers.

They also produced 300 face shields for faculty. Other creative solutions are also being dreamed up by faculty, such as a UV light box, which sterilizes tools and equipment in 20 minutes. “The incredible generosity of donors, funding spaces like Kosasa, has allowed for our dreams to be realized,” says Loveman.

A Planned Gift with Deep Ties

Marjorie L. Greiner Cox – a beloved Academy math teacher at Punahou for 32 years – faithfully contributed unrestricted support to the Punahou Fund for more than four decades. Marjorie’s longstanding commitment to the School led her to name Punahou as the beneficiary of her charitable remainder trust, leaving instructions for her gift to be used without restriction for the School’s “best use.”

Last year, Punahou received more than $3.24 million in restricted and unrestricted support from 44 estate gifts, perpetual trust distributions and beneficiary designations. These funds go toward many important initiatives, including the Sidney and Minnie Kosasa Community for Grades 2 – 5, as Marjorie’s bequest did.

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