The School welcomes incoming leaders of the Parent Faculty Association and Punahou Alumni Association. Volunteers are vital to a thriving community, and Punahou is grateful for these leaders and the many individuals who provide their time, expertise and resources to these key organizations.
Parent Faculty Association
PFA is a volunteer organization of parents, faculty and staff, dedicated to supporting the School’s vision, programs and activities.
Michael Lee ’00
Lee, who’s the proud father of Angel ’28 and Phoenix ’30, has been volunteering for the PFA for five years. In addition, he serves as director of education and stewardship programs for Moanalua Gardens Foundation. He holds a master’s degree in conflict resolution, coaches Punahou intermediate wrestling and is a board member for the Hawaii Federation of USA Wrestling.
When did you begin your volunteer work with the PFA?
My journey with the PFA began about five years ago when I was invited to participate in the Parent Enrichment Committee.
What inspired you to become a PFA volunteer?
My “chiji” moment – or turning point of opportunity – occurred when my first child Angel ’28 was on a fieldtrip to Chinatown for Kung Hei Fat Choy. At one of the sites there was a presenter that asked for a parent volunteer and being a natural introvert, I stood in the back silently waiting for someone else to help. As awkward moments of silence passed, I saw my son looking at me wondering why I wasn’t helping. In that moment I realized that my life was no longer about me, my ego – or my social insecurities. My hand shot up, I took a step forward, and it’s been that way ever since.
I began volunteering for more class events and grade level programming; and eventually when someone invited me to participate in the larger PFA community, I said yes. I want my children to know that my participation and support of different communities includes theirs as well.
What has fueled your volunteer work through the years?
Empathy and compassion. At some point in our lives, we can all use a helping hand and I have been blessed to have had the help of countless family members, friends, teachers, coaches and strangers. They gave selflessly without expectation of anything in return because they saw reflections of themselves in me or my situation. These reflections of the human experience are what binds us together and so I value empathy and compassion above all else.
For me compassion is love in action. Compassion requires a true consideration and empathy for one another, a sincere desire to help, and a willingness to turn that desire into action. I have a sincere desire to help others in life and volunteering is one way to do so.
What would you like to accomplish during your tenure as PFA President?
Any accomplishments made will be the result of the collective efforts of a large body of volunteers that include parents, faculty, staff and administrators. I cannot accomplish anything on my own.
Together we have set a vision to accomplish three things this year, which are: to build a diverse and inclusive community; to make an impact outside the walls of Punahou School; and to provide engaging opportunities for our community’s learning and growth.
Punahou Alumni Association
PAA organizes and participates in educational, social and cultural programs that reach, connect and engage alumni.
Malcolm Leong ’88
Leong has been a PAA board member and an active volunteer at Punahou for many years. In addition to being the new PAA President, he is vp of new business development and client services at UHA Health Insurance. He serves on several boards and has been actively involved with the Scouting program. Leong is also co-founder of The Sake Shop, Hawai‘i’s first retail sake store located in Kaka‘ako. He has two adult children, Justin ’14 and Malia ’19.
What has fueled your volunteer work through the years?
I had become a bit out of touch with Punahou since graduation in 1988. It was really during my 24th and 25th reunions that I reconnected with many of my classmates and the School. I found myself volunteering for events and soon joining the alumni board. Celebrating Punahou’s 175th anniversary in 2016 while serving on the PAA board was one of the highlights of my involvement. And now, seven years later, I am honored to continue my service as president of the Punahou Alumni Association.
What do you hope to achieve as president of PAA this year?
Reach, connect and engage. These three simple words really capture my purpose and focus for the next year as president. I will strive to reach out to all alumni, including our regional chapters on the Continental U.S. and in Asia. I will continue to offer opportunities for connecting through popular alumni events and embracing technology, such as the newly launched Ka ‘Ohana Punahou online platform, for networking. And I will look for ways to engage with alumni, especially our young alums, whose early involvement and participation is uniquely important to the continued success of our association.
What PAA event are you most looking forward to?
Over the years I’ve come to look forward to all the different activities that the PAA hosts. The annual golf tournament, bingo night and the awards ceremonies are all fun and exciting. However, a relatively new event called Dinner in the Buff (’n Blue) has quickly become my favorite. Alumni chefs and others in the food and beverage industry prepare fantastic dishes for an evening of fun and camaraderie. The area outside the Chapel plays host to this wonderful gathering, beautifully lit up with lights and filled with the sounds of music and the creation of memories.
Favorite Carnival food?
There are so many amazing things to eat at Carnival that it’s difficult to choose just one. But I’d have to say fried noodles are my favorite Carnival food. I’m a little biased since I did serve as parent booth chair for fried noodles many years ago. I can still hear the chant of “hot noodles” in my head every time I think about Carnival.
The presidents of Pa‘ani and O-Men will be profiled in the Winter 2024 Punahou Bulletin, which will feature extensive coverage about athletics at the School.
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