Punahou Presented with Unique Gift

Punahou received a special gift given by a student and her family out of gratitude for her time at the School. On July 3, in an emotional private ceremony at Ka’aumoana hale in the Kosasa Community, recent graduate Kila Aisea ’21 and her family presented the School with an exquisite weaving.

“There are not enough thank yous I can say,” said Aisea to the small gathering of faculty, staff and administrators. “I feel honored and blessed to be part of this great community. I love you all tremendously.”

Aisea, a Weinberg Scholar, went on to describe the weaving. The materials are all from the atoll of Kapingamarangi, her family’s island of origin, a Polynesian island located in Micronesia. The central disk is the Punahou seal carved in wood by her uncle in Hawai‘i. It was then hand-carried by Kila’s mother to and from relatives in Kapingamarangi who did the magnificent weaving. The outer rim represents Punahou students and the turtles depicted in the inner rim are faculty and staff. 

On behalf of faculty, Academy Voyaging teacher Kaniela Lyman-Mersereau ’05 thanked Aisea for her grace, joy and kindness, while her dean, Lisa Stewart, thanked her for bringing “light and grace into our lives for these four years.” Aisea worked closely with Lyman-Mersereau on the canoe, Kamaola, in her time in the Academy. As a thank you to her for being one of the most dedicated students, Lyman-Mersereau presented her with some lashing rope and a “huki stick” to remind her always of her own genealogy of voyaging and of her connection to the canoe. Ke‘alohi Reppun ’99, director of Kuaihelani Learning Center, noted that “Kila is the embodiment of everything that we work for.” 

“It’s just so beautiful to me to know that where you came from and where you’ve been here at Punahou are woven so beautifully together,” said Academy Principal Emily McCarren. “Kila, you made this place better and you’re going to keep making this place better, and we’re so grateful for you and your family.”

The special piece will be displayed on campus to honor the Aisea family and used as a teaching tool for students.

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