Along with serving as chair for her 50th Punahou Reunion in June 2019, June Mist ’69 Sullivan and her husband also made a pledge to the Sidney and Minnie Kosasa Community for Grades 2 – 5. Sullivan shared why they decided to make the gift, in honor of her Class milestone.
When my 50th Reunion appeared on the horizon, there was no question that I would be involved. Though I have lived in California for most of my adult life, Hawai‘i and Punahou School have always loomed large for me.
Upon graduating from high school, I took my first job as a teacher’s aid at Punahou summer school. I was assigned to work with the magnificent team of Mrs. Ane, Mrs. Izumi, Mrs. Hopper and Mrs James in kindergarten. For the next three summers, I enjoyed working with the children and being mentored by some of the greatest teachers. I also worked as a middle school aid for marine biology. That summer, Ethan Abbott ‘72 (current Punahou Trustee) and I assisted, and we certainly enjoyed summer school as much as the students did. At that time, I was majoring in education in college, and my practical experience in the classroom at Punahou was not only enjoyable, but beneficial, to my future career as a teacher.
Punahou gave me the opportunity to experience excellence in education. The foundation that I received at Punahou prepared me for my future in the classroom. The great teachers, innovative programs and curriculum, and the progressive academic model, influenced my own personal expectations. Throughout my career, Punahou remained a guiding light.
Though I settled in California after college and began my teaching career and family there, Hawai‘i was never far from my heart. With family still in Hawai‘i, we returned every summer. It was important to me that my children know and experience their Hawaii heritage, and so we spent summer holidays here with my children attending Punahou summer school and getting to know Punahou and some of my own favorite teachers and friends. I have always said that Hawai‘i is the home where I am from, and California is the home where I live.
I had just retired before our 45th Reunion, and I made the flippant statement that I would be willing to take a lead role in our 50th. Apparently, someone overheard me, and because Scott Power agreed to co-chair, I did too. I was delighted to have the opportunity to give back to the School that had been so important in my life. Co-chairing our Reunion gave me the opportunity to not only reconnect with classmates and memories from the past, but also to reconnect with Punahou and get to know it in a way that I had not before, and to see how it had evolved over the 50 years since we had graduated.
In honor of my Reunion, my husband and I chose to make a gift in support of the new Kosasa Community for Grades 2 – 5. As a primary school educator, it spoke to me in every way. Because of my love for science, environmental education, sustainability and gardening, I was particularly intrigued by the outdoor learning spaces. Supporting this wonderful facility is the perfect way for me to show my gratitude for the wonderful opportunities that Punahou has given me and to support those opportunities for future generations.
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