Part 2 of review: Another criticism of the Senior Parents' Night program is that the first of two college admissions guest speakers spent too much time talking about his history of coming to Hawaii and his transition from mainland to aloha attire while visiting Hawaii schools. A minor observation (perhaps major to those of Hawaiian descent) was the second speaker s repeated reference to the whole audience and those living in the state as Hawaiians. I could just imagine the thought bubbles Eh, haoli, we not all Hawaiian in heah. ) I personally don t care, but hope Punahou s college counselors will provide him this little nuanced bit of cultural insight. Well, in the spirit of aloha, I should conclude on a positive note, so I will say that Punahou staff and faculty are wonderful as a whole and work very hard to provide a caring and supportive home to their very privileged students. My child loves the Punahou community, and I guess that s the most important ~$21k/year bottom line.
My daughter attends Punahou and we couldn't be more pleased. We are not super wealthy and did not use "connections" to get in. She receives a well rounded education and has been exposed to so many new friends. She is very academic and athletic and this school manages to give her the best of both worlds. She is only in 5th grade and we haven't had any exposure to drugs yet, but let's face it... Drugs are everywhere. Teach your child to stand up for themselves and have strong values. If they are exposed to drugs then be confident that you taught them to make good decisions. Don't blame the school. My daughter's teachers have been super supportive and encouraged her to stretch her thinking and go beyond. She is excited to go to school and loves the campus.
Both of our daughters have been Punahou students from kindergarten onward. Both are thriving, one a junior and one in 5th grade. The school - the teachers, the administrators, the parents, the students - all embrace a philosophy of the student as an individual with unique interest and talents, and the curriculum, while rigorous and demanding, is designed to allow a student to learn the material and satisfy the requirements within a broad and open structure that gives each student freedom to learn how they learn best. This is in stark contrast to the other school that is often compared to Punahou, 'Iolani, which adheres to a tightly defined and uniform structure of standards and methodologies. My nephew and niece attend 'Iolani and my daughters had that option, but we chose Punahou and we are very glad we did. My daughters' personalities are noticeably more confident and socially adjusted than those of the 'Iolani products, and academically, as judged by the standard tests, they are equal. Punahou, hands down.
Teachers are caring and responsive, the facilities and resources are amazing, the grounds are beautiful, and the parents are very committed. The parents of my son's classmates are down to earth and come from backgrounds similar to us, both parents work, drive modest cars or can only afford one car, and live modestly. As a parent, I know what matters is that our child gets a good education, hopefully makes life-long friends, enjoys learning, and learns how to be a good person and give back to the community. Punahou (and we) have been teaching him this.
I currently attend Punahou School and it exceeded my expectations from when I first came in 6th grade. It is preparing me for college as I want to head towards the medical field. All my cousins graduated here and have such pride in doing so. Punahou is a family -- how does it manage to maintain such close ties despite the size of the campus and variation in students? Perhaps this is due to the motivation that each student possesses. I know I work harder as a result of my peers, and I cannot thank them enough for that. There are so many opportunities available ranging from athletics (rated #1 in the nation two consecutive years by Sports Illustrated, and continues to remain high), music, art, community service clubs, social clubs, etc. It is environmentally friendly, rated #1 school by Hawaiian Electric Co. I try to take advantage of all the resources because you can't get them anywhere else. Although the tuition is high, it is well worth it. My parents work hard and I appreciate everything my family sacrifices for me. In the long run, I hope to graduate with numerous accomplishments and I am now in the process of building them up. I cannot fit everything I want to say!
The application process is very stressful and arduous. While the school itself is a superb facility, it is very hard to get into. If you wish to read a more detailed account of my experiences in applying to Punahou, please read my blog at punahoupuns.blogspot.com. It contains helpful information and tips for parents applying to Punahou School. Good Luck.
We are very happy with the facilities, resources, and staff at this wonderful school. We like the fact that the younger children can learn through play. I am originally from the Mainland and heard wonderful things about Punahou when I was attending a college in New York City, as several of my classmates at my college had graduated from Punahou. Also, in 2012, out of the 10 National Merit Scholars in Hawaii, 5 were from Punahou, 2 Iolani, 1 Kamehameha Schools, and 2 from Waiakea High School.
If your child has a mild learning disability or is of average intelligence, I suggest you apply elsewhere. My son is very bright but suffers from mild Autism. For Kindergarten, your child has to score 90-95 percentile in the individual assessment. Teacher recommendations have to be stellar. Your child has to show maturity, independence, perfect behavior, & interaction with other kids. Your child can't have a bad day for both assessment days. Admissions should be more upfront in what they want for Kindergarteners. I later learned that Punahou looks for a 90-95 percentile in: Verbal, Nonverbal (reasoning using nonverbal means), Spatial (visual perception), Memory (visual/auditory) and Quantitative (number concepts). The only reason I applied is my child's teachers kept telling me how very bright he was. Went to a post-rejection conference at Punahou & it was hearbreaking. Everything negative about my child were noted, even things that most people characterize as typical behavior for a 4-year-old. Punahou doesn't accommodate children with mild learning/socialization problems. When I asked the assessor if there were kids with mild Autism at Punahou, she said she never heard of any.
I attended Punahou from K-12 except for one year (freshman) that I attended HPA on the Big Island. Punahou is an outstanding and very forward thinking school. It prepared me well for college and law school (at top ranked schools). It gave me independent thinking skills as well as a drive to succeed that has served me well (making partner at a large successful firm). I did not come from a wealthy family and that didn't matter at Punahou any more than any other school--if anything, it mattered less. I was encouraged to play competitive sports which is something I continued through college and my adult life. Punahou alumni support each other and the school. It is one of the best schools in this country.