Every summer, Punahou’s chaplains select a theme for the upcoming school year, something they believe resonates with the time, spirit and sentiment. This year, they chose “perspective” and its partner concept in ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i – “kuana‘ike.”
Kuana‘ike reflects how we see the world, which serves as the basis of how we live and respond to events. “When we seek to put things in perspective, pulling back from details and looking at the bigger picture, we can become open to new ways of thinking,” the chaplains wrote in a message, announcing the theme. After consulting with Hawaiian language kumu, the chaplains wondered if kuana‘ike could inspire our community to view the world with a broader lens, as the globe continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, racial strife and political divisions.
This year is anything but ordinary, thus more than ever, it’s important to reflect and gain perspective. Schools across the country, including Punahou, started the new school year in distance learning. Hawai‘i went through a second lockdown this fall to curb the spread of the virus. Longtime School traditions are moving to virtual platforms. Alumni all over the globe are tackling job losses, emotional unrest, separation from family and friends and countless other disruptions. The challenge to embrace perspective is indeed fitting.
To show how this theme may be interpreted, we asked several notable alumni photographers, along with our School photographer and two faculty members, to submit photos that reveal kuana‘ike through the lens of their own lives. We were mesmerized by what we received, and how these visual artists articulated the theme so profoundly.
We hope this exhibit offers comfort and reprieve, inspiring and encouraging you to consider perspective as we make our way through the school year, confronting whatever challenges lie ahead, with open eyes, an open mind and an open heart.
– Diane Seo ’85
A surfer’s view out of a shorebreak wave breaking in the crystal clear water of O‘ahu’s North Shore. Time is frozen, creating an opportunity to inspect up close a unique phenomenon.
It has been my blessing – and curse – in life to have insatiable wanderlust. The need to travel to the farthest places my imagination can go, to smell all the smells and taste all the flavors and to live a hundred lives in countless places.
While on assignment through the years at Punahou, I’ve been fortunate to witness countless connections, from the excited kindergartners who spent weeks rehearsing together to perform for their families on May Day, to those joyful moments when alumni spot familiar faces and reunite during Alumni Week.