PUEO’s Summer Offerings Expand to Fifth Grade

Related: PUEO

The Clarence T.C. Ching PUEO (Partnerships in Unlimited Educational Opportunities) Program recently concluded a successful summer. Established in 2005 through a partnership with HIDOE, PUEO offers diverse courses, mentoring and social support for students, with this summer’s theme being “He Wai Nō – There is Water.”

Scholars’ deep engagement, meaningful relationships and perseverance throughout the summer were evident. Enrollment, attendance and engagement surpassed program benchmarks, achieving a record-breaking 97% weekly attendance and the largest enrollment of 217 students post-pandemic.

Previously available for sixth graders and above, the program expanded this year to include fifth grade, and plans are in place to include fourth graders next year, aiming to provide educational access to more communities, schools and scholar families.

This year also introduced new criteria for scholars, with all fifth, sixth and seventh grade students having the potential to be the first in their families to attend a four-year college program. This aligns with Punahou’s goal of supporting greater first-generation college student enrollment and completion.

This summer’s program offered classes that sparked creativity, enhanced understanding of Hawaiian culture and fostered environmental stewardship, offering a well-rounded learning experience for PUEO’s scholars. Notably, the fifth-grade Hawaiian Studies and Outdoor Education journey provided exciting opportunities for the students.

Fifth grade “Oli Monday” sessions featured traditional Hawaiian chanting at the Lilly Pond. Students experienced “Paniolo & Pāʻū Day,” exploring cowboy traditions and pāʻū riding. They also connected with nature through leaf stamping and planting aʻaliʻi seeds at Puʻu O Mānoa. Meanwhile, seventh graders enjoyed a Creative Writing and Ukulele class and Marine Biology, featuring guest artists, hands-on activities and off-campus excursions.

PUEO Director Kehau Kealoha-Scullion ’80 offered uplifting words to scholars during their closing celebration of the summer: “We celebrate the many ways you have adapted, learned from each challenge and persevered together – united as PUEO. Continue to teach the world how to move through zip codes and neighborhood boundaries, reframing one’s geographic and cultural identity as a source of strength to achievement. I am so proud of you.”

Photos by Kathleen Connelly

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