Punahou Sessions: ‘Casey at the Bat’

April is National Poetry Month!

One of the most incredible aspects of Punahou is the longevity of its faculty and staff. You could share the same teachers as your parents, and so on. The continuity of community help create bonds and shared experiences that few other institutions can match.

We are fortunate to have such long-tenured school presidents as John Fox (24 years), Roderick McPhee (26 years), and Jim Scott ’70 (25 years) – and we’re equally fortunate to have some faculty who have served for well over 30 years.

Ed Moore served as English faculty for 47 years, before retiring in 2017, inspiring legions of poets, thespians and literati, while also coaching varsity girls softball, boys JV baseball and intermediate softball and baseball.

His love of baseball and the selection of Ernest Thayer’s “Casey at the Bat” (1888) is no fluke. He says that his love of baseball extends back generations to his grandfather and father, and he has shared his passion with his daughter, Maile. But not only is he a “rabid baseball fan” with vivid recollections of some of the greatest games in history, he also played collegiate and semi-pro baseball.

“After going to Exeter and Bowdoin, I became a Red Sox fan,” he said, “And lived through all their down days when Buckner let the ball go through his legs. And cheered when Ortiz got us out of that fourth game against the Yankees and they swept the World Series.”

Ed Moore proudly displays a commerative brick purchased by his daughter, Maile, that is also displayed at Fenway Park.

I was completely unsurprised to learn that English teacher Lara Mui ’88 Cowell had “Mr. Moore” as a teacher before becoming colleagues at Punahou. Her passion for poetry has inspired a younger generation of talent, and she has had a stunning string of success coaching students to impressive finishes at both the state and national level through the NEA’s “Poetry Out Loud” competition – including Nick Amador’s ’18 second- and third-place finishes at the national competition in Washington, D.C.

When I approached Cowell with the idea of performing poetry for Punahou Sessions, we decided on a multi-generational performance that has been a hallmark of many videos. Moore’s prominence and influence made him a dream choice, but we still needed a student…

While she’s not running track or playing the violin, Ellie Ochiai ’22 finds solace in poetry. “It’s become a passion, and a means of escaping,” she said. She has continued the tradition of oratorical excellence, and was a state finalist for Poetry Out Loud 2019.

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