Ever since Koko Leong ’24 can remember, his parents have instilled a strong sense of commitment and dedication to the community. “Throughout my life I’ve tried my best to accept that responsibility,” he says. To meet the challenge, Leong is a fervent volunteer and innovative leader within Punahou and the greater community of O‘ahu.
On campus, Leong is the co-president of the Entrepreneurship Club and an active participant in over 10 clubs including the Speech and Debate team as well as the Jewish Culture Club. He strives to be immersed in the diverse languages, cultures and groups that Punahou has to offer. “It helps me develop a more worldly perspective on life,” he says.
Last year, Leong served as one of the Carnival co-chairs for Pun Prix ‘23: Pedal to the Metal. This elected position was a full year of hard work, which enabled him to strengthen his leadership skills. Leong reflected that “Working with the whole Punahou community including classmates and parents, to ensure the success of an event that goes to financial aid was a once in a lifetime opportunity and a memorable learning experience.”
Leong currently spends most of his time working on Ho‘omau, a tennis ball recycling initiative focused on making the sport more sustainable. For the past three years, as a member of the Luke Leaders cohort and with the support of Director Dani Goddard of the Luke Center for Public Service, he has assembled a group of volunteer tennis players across various private schools in Hawai‘i – together, they have collected and recycled more than 6,500 tennis balls.
Beyond Punahou campus, Leong volunteers at Winners’ Camp, a youth leadership program that helps teenagers develop a greater sense of self-identity and civic purpose. “I was a camper myself and got a lot out of the experience – now I’m paying forward what others have done for me by coming back as a leader,” Leong explains, “It has been so rewarding to see the growth that the campers have developed in such a short amount of time.”
Leong is also a Fellow of Center for Tomorrow’s Leaders, a year-long advanced leadership program which empowers future state-level leaders for Hawai‘i. Through this initiative, he hopes to strengthen his foundational leadership skills.
Currently, Leong is looking forward to college, but says he also wants to be sure to live in the moment during his Senior year. He says “My long term hopes and dreams are to be able to make a positive impact on the world no matter where I go or what I decide to do. Hawai‘i will always be my home, it’s the place I was born, the place I was raised, and the place that I will always come back to – and try to make a difference.”
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