The iconic banyan tree in Barwick Playground is once again a place for play in the newly opened Sidney and Minnie Kosasa Community for Grades 2 – 5. Junior School students are overjoyed to have access to it, after it was barricaded for almost five years during construction.
Although climbing the tree is not yet permitted, students are finding plenty of ways to enjoy the tree. They have been seen hugging it, sitting under its shade and playing tag around its enormous trunk.
The near century-old ficus has been adored by generations of Punahou students and alumni. Longtime Junior School faculty member Alan Lum ’80 is among those who have fond memories of the tree. “When I was a student, there were two big ropes you could use to Tarzan off the tree. It was so much fun,” he said.
Lum said the ancient tree, adjacent to the K – 8 Learning Commons, fits in perfectly with the new landscaping. “The Kosasa Community’s designers did a really good job of keeping it in place and building around it to make it feel like it’s home. You couldn’t ask for anything more.”