Stone & Flow (Ka Punahou 2023)

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You are currently reading a special print issue of Ka Punahou titled STONE & FLOW. It was published in Spring 2023. The focus of this issue is Punahou’s campus and its history.

STONE refers to the buildings and grounds of Punahou. This issue includes articles about learning extremely local history in Castle Hall (28, Marissa Halagao ‘23), a campus boxing ring lost to history (2, Swan Kim ‘26), and the culture of the iconic “Boat” (14, Atropa Choi ‘24). Also included: a retrospective on our viral investigation of the missionary names on Punahou buildings, in print for the first time (22, Ezra Levinson ‘23).

FLOW refers to the water that moves through Punahou, as well as other things that percolate in similar ways: ideas, words, even students. This issue includes articles about the decline of the Lily Pond (32, Sophie Chan ‘26), the importance of place-based learning (5, Marissa Halagao ‘23), the perspective of a new student at Punahou (37, Hannah Jung ‘26), and the history of the pool (10, Alison Funai ‘25). Also included are an infographic showing water flow on campus (25, Atropa Choi ‘24) as well as a comic (35, Serene Kim ‘24) and crossword (21, Ezra Levinson ‘23).

Ka Punahou has been Punahou’s official student news publication since 1919. The publication has moved through many formats in its more than 100 years of circulation, most recently taking the form of a seasonal newspaper until the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. Since the pandemic Ka Punahou has pivoted to a largely online format, publishing articles online at and sharing them on Instagram @kapunahou. This special print issue of Ka Punahou is set in Garamond Premier Pro. It was laid out in our office on the Pauahi Hall Bridge using Adobe InDesign software on new 2021 M1 iMacs provided by the IT Department. A circulation of 500 copies was printed by House of Photography.

From the Print Editor: A Story Told in Seventy-Six Acres

A place is a work of art. No other medium comes close to its scale. Compare your height to that of Rocky Hill (289 ft), or your footprint to the size of Hemmeter gym (20,000 sqft), or your birth year to the construction date of Old School Hall (1851). They’re daunting, even unfathomable notions. To consider what was before you were conceieved and will still be after you are gone, that, I think, is the “awe” in “awful” and “awesome.” But novelty wears off after hundreds of walks through these courtyards and hallways – it isn’t often we appreciate our historic monuments, or our award-winning landscapes. Yet still we are in the midst of great architectural changes, both physically and in the ways we think about our environments.

A place is as alive as its inhabitants. It grows, tells stories, hides secrets, is sometimes reborn, and will one day become rubble. It actively influences the people in it. As the school website article for Kosasa Community puts it, “Facilities and educational programs at Punahou have become so intertwined that one cannot be explained or experienced without the other.” Some of Punahou campus’ inhabitants, from all four high school classes, came together to create this issue of Ka Punahou. We brainstormed, interviewed, dug through the Archives; here is the product of our work.


the Editor-in-Chief: Between A Rock(y Hill) & A Hard Place

Nobody understands the amount of work that goes into a project like this print issue. Not even me. The person who comes closest is probably our faculty advisor Mr. Comstock, but even he can’t truly grasp the hours or brainpower it takes to write, edit, design, and print something like this. That’s because no one person can do all the work. It took a whole bunch of us staying up late, getting to school early, and stressing out in math class to make this issue happen.

But why? What makes it worth the stress? Chicana feminist


queer theorist

Gloria Anzaldúa wrote that “by writing I put order in the world, give it a handle so I can grasp it.” We write to understand the world around us and our place in it. Sometimes we chronicle history, sometimes we criticize omissions, sometimes (though we try hard to avoid it) we omit important details ourselves. But we write because through writing we can understand Punahou and the rest of our lives just a bit better.

I write, as Anzaldúa did, “to discover myself, to preserve myself, to make myself, to achieve self-autonomy.” We don’t write alone, but then we don’t make ourselves alone either. My experiences while working on Ka Punahou have been proof of that, and I’m grateful to all the people who helped me discover myself.

Ezra Levinson ‘23 (Favorite place on campus: Second floor of Castle Hall)

Editor’s Notes
Atropa Choi ‘24 (Favorite place on campus: Mamiya Science Center)

The Case of the Missing Punahou Boxing Ring

Swan Kim ‘26


The Case of the Missing Punahou Boxing Ring

Join the Punahou boxing club! It’s a great opportunity to meet new people and learn self-defense. The Punahou boxing club is now being taught by Willie Whittle; yes, Whittle, as in the UH professional boxer. The club meets two times a week for classes, but they train every day at the new open-air boxing ring right behind Armstrong Hall.

Thinking about joining? Well, sorry to disappoint, but it might be a little too late for that. Not because the season is over, but because the Punahou boxing club was created in 1930 and disbanded in 1931.

When I found a mysterious label of a boxing ring on an old Punahou School map, I rushed to Kumu Kylee at the archives. We did some digging together to knock out my burning questions.

I first wondered where the boxing ring was. The 1930 Oahuan shared that the open-air boxing ring was built behind Armstrong Hall. Armstrong Hall was located near what is now the boys’ locker room and the health center ramp.

Boxing Club photo from the 1930 edition of the Oahuan. Previous page: Map of Punahou School circa 1940s. Both images via the Punahou Digital Archives.

The Case of the Missing Punahou Boxing Ring

Secondly, who built the ring and why? A small section of the December 1929 Star- Bulletin and the 1930 Oahuan held the answer for my research. The ring was built by 75 Punahou student volunteers upon recommendations from the athletic directors. The project received great support from former academy principal Victor Aitken. Aitken was a former inter-collegiate boxing champion of the Pacific Coast. According to the Honolulu Advertiser in February 1930, he was a total “nut” for boxing!

So, did Principal Aitken coach the boxing club boys? Although many expected him to, according to the June 8, 1930 Honolulu Advertiser, the club was coached by two Schofield army boxers: Pepper Martin and Tiger Connell. Towards the middle of the school year, Martin and Connell were replaced by local boxing champion Willie Whittle. The 1930 Oahuan says that Whittle’s ideas were different from Martin and Connell’s, but the boys progressed their boxing skills nevertheless. Charles Finkboner was the student manager and organized many exhibition matches for the club.

Lastly, and perhaps the most important question of all: why did the boxing club disband? Here’s the big blow: according to the March 9, 1931 edition of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, only eight boys were turning out regularly to the club. The Punahou Boxing Club started the 1929-1930 school year with about thirty boys. The numbers began to dwindle the year after until the club had to disband. It is unknown when the boxing ring was deconstructed, but it did not take more than a few years for the boxing ring to disappear from the Punahou School maps.

Punahou is over one hundred years old. Every single part of campus has its own unique history. 92 years ago, the health center steps and boy’s locker room were occupied by thirty enthusiastic boys of the Punahou boxing club. The boxing club was shortlived, lasting only a year; the boxing ring followed suit and disappeared shortly afterward. Still, the boxing ring and boxing club both live on as we celebrate the campus history of Punahou School.


The Importance of Place-Based Learning

Mia Nishina ‘23
Marissa Halagao ‘23

The Importance of Place-Based Learning

Social studies, specifically history, is a discipline that tells stories and reveals truths about our world. Social studies allows us to explore multiple perspectives, make connections, critique the biases and events of the past, learn how the past connects to the present, and uplift and celebrate stories and people. Social studies, as an academic subject, holds power. But the classes we require, specifically in the area of history, send a message about which histories we prioritize.

Hawaiʻi is filled with a rich but often painful history that must be grappled with. The image of the marketable and romanticized paradise masks the crucial history of American imperialism, genocide and cultural erasure, brutalities not far removed from our school history. Sanford B. Dole, an alumnus and the son of Punahou’s first principal, was one of the architects of the illegal annexation of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi. He became the leader of the Republic of Hawaiʻi soon after the overthrow of the monarchy. A student could walk the steps of Pauahi Hall hundreds of times without knowing that those very steps are linked to the legacy of Dole the annexationist, who delivered the main address during the building’s dedication in 1896. In an ironic twist of history, the building was named by Charles Reed Bishop in honor of his beloved wife, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop. Charles Bishop was a trusted advisor to generations of Hawaiian monarchs and ensured that the wishes of his wife to preserve Hawaiian culture were fulfilled through his important roles in the establishment of Kamehameha Schools and Bishop Museum. The contrast between Bishop and Dole illustrates how Punahou School’s history is directly intertwined with the history of Hawaii, including the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom and a colonial era that is still very much ongoing.

However, students may be unaware of our school’s connection to American imperialism in Hawaii. Punahou in its Academy has required American History, Asian History and European History in its social studies graduation requirements, but not Hawaiian History. After being taught in 7th grade, Hawaiian history never resurfaces as a required course. Across the state, Hawaiian history is required in the Hawaiʻi Department of Education in high school. Punahou has been an outlier for decades.

The Punahou Social Studies Department is undergoing groundbreaking departmental changes and intends to require Hawaiian History as a social studies graduation requirement. The requirement for a Hawaiian history course is still currently under discussion, but according to Punahou president Mike Latham,


it is very likely to pass. Once passed, it would be a milestone accomplishment, a culmination of faculty and student support. As a student who sees and values the importance of social studies and history, this is both refreshing and exciting. According to Dr. Pamela Sakamoto, the head of the Punahou Academy Social Studies Department, the first class to take Hawaiian History as a required course would be the class of 2028.

Learning about Hawaiʻi is learning about the history of our place. Through place-based learning, students can become more aware of their environment as well as the present-day impacts of its history. They can gain an appreciation of native culture and become more motivated to be responsible and thoughtful stewards of the land. Native Hawaiian students will also receive representation in the curriculum, and it is important that they learn the history of their roots in their homeland. Many of us, myself included, are not Native Hawaiian ethnically, meaning that we are settlers. As settlers, we have the responsibility to become aware of the history of our place and learn the perspectives of native people. This is the least we can do.

The support for a Hawaiian History requirement is and has been overwhelming. Last year for a school project, I interviewed various members of the Punahou Social Studies department, many of them Punahou alumni, about the then-disparity in place-based learning. “A student could go their entire career at Punahou without learning about Hawaiian history, and that is a problem,” says Kumu Kealohi

Mia Nishina ‘23

The Importance of Place-Based Learning

Reppun ‘99. Dr. Ka’eo Vasconcellos ‘95 said, “We can’t just take the adornments of a culture, without actually implementing it.” Dr. Kealoha-Scullion ‘80 said, “This will facilitate a sense of belonging in students.” Punahou is taking big steps towards ensuring this sense of belonging once Hawaiian History is officially approved as a graduation requirement.

I additionally sent a survey to high school students at Punahou inviting them to share their student perspectives. 28 out of 30 of these students believed that Hawaiian History should be a requirement at Punahou and many of them felt passionately about learning about the history of our home. A student who identifies as non-native stated, “Growing up in Hawaiʻi, I feel that we have a responsibility to know more about our history and our roots than the rest of the world… At the Academy age, students are ready to learn about the darker side of Hawaiian history, and are able to examine the events with a critical lens.”

Another asked, “How can we expect students on the continent to avoid ignorance about Hawaiian culture and people if we, as residents in Hawaiʻi, are not taught the full, in-depth history of Hawaiʻi?” A student who identifies as part Native Hawaiian, stated, “Whether you are ethnically Hawaiian or not, anyone living in Hawaiʻi should be educated and aware of the land they are living on.”

Mia Nishina ‘23

The Importance of Place-Based Learning

Last year I reflected on how the future of Punahou in terms of valuing place-based learning was positive. I had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Pamela Sakamoto, the head of the Social Studies Department, about Hawaiian History, who heard our concerns and is in support of prioritizing Hawaiian History. There was departmental support towards reexamining the graduation requirements, but this was stalled mostly due to the pandemic within the past years.

This year, Dr. Sakamoto is one of my teachers in my Bias in America class, a curriculum filled with nuanced discussions where we critically examine history from complex racial, socioeconomic, and privileged lenses. We dive especially deep into American imperialism and how the racist and superiority complex mindsets of the past lead to the colonization and oppression of the Philippines, Hawaiʻi and other nations, and how we can draw “historical parallels” from these events and today.

We additionally take the care to critique the material we learn and come across, including archives from Punahou’s official history. Which parts of history get left out? Which perspectives and stories are not included, or many times, approached in a glossed-over way? How is history approached, retold – evolving? During one class, we discussed the overthrow and illegal annexation of the Kingdom of Hawaii. It is in this class that Dr. Sakamoto shared with us that the Social Studies Department will support the official listing of Hawaiian History as a graduation requirement.

This is a monumental step in Punahou’s history. I was especially enthusiastic upon hearing this, remembering nearly a year ago embarking on a mission to provide a student voice in support for the change.

This change marks a significant turning point in Punahou’s education. As students, whether ethnically Native Hawaiian or not, we have power in our voices and we have a right to advocate for what we feel is important to learn and be prioritized in our education. We must continue to show our support for place-based learning.

To audiences reading this, we also have a job to self-reflect. How much do you remember learning about the history of your place? What do you remember? And you do think it was enough? What more can you do to fill these gaps?


The History of Punahou’s Aquatic Facilities

Allison Funai ‘25

A view of the Elizabeth P. Waterhouse Pool with Bingham Hall in the background (1927). All photos in this article courtesy of the Punahou School Archives.

The History of Punahou’s Aquatic Facilities


Between the late 1800s to the early 1920s, Punahou students swam in a cement “tank” before the original Elizabeth P. Waterhouse Pool was built. The facility was enclosed by a wooden fence and had pieces of rope and other equipment for swimmers to use. Punahou’s first pool was opened in 1922, named in honor of Elizabeth P. Waterhouse, a Punahou student and daughter of trustee John Waterhouse. The Elizabeth P. Waterhouse Pool measured 75 feet long and 25 feet wide, holding 193,000 gallons of water. Water for the pool was initially sourced from the nearby Punahou Spring, however, environmental constraints required that the water be supplied from the City after a few decades.

In addition to the pool itself, the aquatics facilities also provided ample seating for spectators of aquatics events, with bleachers flanking the length of the pool. One of the most features of the original Elizabeth P. Waterhouse Pool was the diving tower. Used for diving and synchronized swimming events, the tower measured approximately 26 feet at its highest deck.

Construction of the new Elizabeth P. Waterhouse pool within the Pratt Aquatic Center begins (1980)

With a growing student population requiring larger facilities, the Elizabeth P. Waterhouse Pool underwent renovations after almost 60 years of use. Named in honor of Punahou trustee and attorney Charles Dudley Pratt, construction of the Pratt Aquatic Center containing the Elizabeth P. Waterhouse Pool and adjacent facilities was completed in 1981. The complex boasts an Olympic sized pool, holding 1 million gallons of water, over 5 times the capacity of the original Elizabeth P. Waterhouse Pool. An adjustable bulkhead also divides the pool into two separate parts, allowing for different activities to happen at the same time.


The storied history of Punahou’s aquatics programs dates back over a century, even before a pool was built on campus. In 1911, the school’s first all-boys swim team was established. Since many schools lacked a pool of their own, little competition between Punahou and other schools would take place until 1916 when the Yale Meet was established. Punahou often hosted and participated in the annual meet during the early 20th century.

The completed Elizabeth P. Waterhouse Pool and Pratt Aquatics Center

The History of Punahou’s Aquatic Facilities

A girls’ team was not formed until 1946, winning the ILH title the same year. Since then, Punahou’s swimming program has set the national record for the most consecutive high school state championships (22) between 1974 and 1995.

Punahou’s water polo program was officially established several decades after. Even though the sport was enjoyed by many before then, it only became officially recognized by the Interscholastic League of Hawaiʻi in 1966. By the 1970s, both boys’ and girls’ programs had taken off, winning numerous ILH championships and receiving national attention. Punahou’s water polo teams continue to be successful with the Girls’ Varsity program winning their 13th straight state championship this past May, and Boys’ Varsity team winning the ILH championship game last October.

Synchronized swimming was also offered for female students during the mid 1900s. At the time, synchronized swimming was one of the most popular clubs on campus. Club members would meet on a regular basis, with titles awarded annually to outstanding swimmers or contributors to the club’s activities. Although no longer offered as a club, synchronized swimming is currently incorporated into the curriculum of girls’ middle school P.E. courses.

The legacy of Punahou’s pool facilities continues through the students, coaches, and teachers that use them each day. Looking forward, there is no doubt that Punahou’s pool will continue to cultivate the growth of Punahou’s athletes for decades to come.


Sailing Through Time: An Investigation of “Boat” Culture Through History

Atropa Choi ‘24

On the side of Mamiya facing Alexander Hall, nestled between two of the busiest walkways on campus, lies one of the most iconic yet mysterious features of the Academy grounds. Colloquially known as the “Boat,” the curved area consists of three stone steps which double as seats, a dark green turf, and picnic tables under an overhang of offices. Its purpose is nebulous – it is shaped like an amphitheater, yet it finds itself in Mamiya, a science building from its first conceptions. Regardless of intention, over the years, the Boat has cemented herself as the senior hangout and a hallmark of Punahou student microculture.

The Birth of the Boat

The Boat was built along with the adjacent Mamiya Science Center, which began construction in 1997 and opened to students in the January of 1999. It replaced MacNeil Hall, which was in need of all-around repairs. The new center is double the size of its predecessor. If you were here during the first years of the science center, you may recall that the building was simply referred to as “New Science Center” – an exception among others named after wealthy donors. The center was initially left nameless after the benefactor who had agreed to donate the necessary costs abandoned their promise after construction began.


Sailing Through Time: An Investigation of “Boat” Culture through History

Early Days

Many alumni from the first decade of the 21st Century describe territorial clique culture among students, who were often divided by interest, ethnicity, and grade level.

“There was a clear delineation where the grades sat,” shared Kumu Kaniela ‘05.

At one point, the Boat was popular among Asian students, accounting for the popular rumor about the origin of the name of the boat – that it is short for “Fresh off the Boat.” As Chris Chock ‘06 recounts, “There wasn’t a single white kid down there, ever.”

However, the Boat, at least for several years after its construction, was not a popular student hangout.

“The Beach [located between Cooke Learning Commons and Waterhouse Pool] was the more popular senior hangout,” said Taylor Pang ‘05.

The Boat only seemed to rise in popularity in the late 2000s.

“Academy Student Hangout Spots,” a video produced by Punavision in 2008, credits the Boat’s popularity to its shelter from the rain and minimal disturbances to Punahou teachers.

One student who used to hang out in the “Crack,” or the space between Pauhai and Bingham, explained his move to the Boat in the video: “When it rains, we had no cover, so we would often go inside. That didn’t really sit well with a whole bunch of the faculty.”

English teacher Ed Moore states in the video that the students would make a lot of noise once inside Pauahi – an academic building which should be treated as such.

“Personally, everyone I’ve talked to... we like the Boat better. It has cover, it has outlets, it’s secluded ... So it was really just a win-win situation,” remarked the student.


Sailing Through Time: An Investigation of “Boat” Culture through History The Turf

2010 marked a watershed moment in Boat history – the introduction of artificial turf. Before that year, the “deck” of the boat was floored with real grass and dirt. Rain often turned the ground muddy and wet, and by the end of a school year much of the grass was uprooted. The addition of turf prevented this, creating a more sanitary hang-out spot.

“They put in the fake turf and it got a lot nicer, and I think that’s when people really started hanging out there,” said Andrew Ryan ‘03.

This likely coincides with the development of Boatball, a throw-andcatch ball game now synonymous with the Boat. In a Punavision video from 2011 about Boatball, science teacher Darcy Iams, who had a Boat-facing office, states that “last year, students started to spontaneously play this game. I guess it’s because the AstroTurf went in.”

The Boat with live grass, from “Academy Student Hangouts” by Punavision (2008). Article cover photo by Mia Nishina ‘23.

Sailing Through Time: An Investigation of “Boat” Culture through History New Trends

Over the years, the “only seniors allowed” tradition solidified, and is now informally recognized by administration. The Boat has been decorated by the PFA for senior-related events, like with blue-and-yellow balloons and congratulatory banners for graduation. The deans have set loose rules on when the rising seniors can lay claim to the Boat – on Senior Skip day, seniors must clear out the area, and juniors may enter after 8 AM, when the seniors have left.

This ordered takeover is in stark contrast with past classes. From the beginnings of the Boat up to 2013, Senior Skip Day would mean a mad dash for new hang-out spots among Juniors, Sophomores, and Freshmen. The clique that first claims an area would keep it for the rest of the year.

Taylor Hamilton ‘09 remembers his junior year, when his friend group slept over the night before Senior Skip Day at the home of a friend who lived close to campus.

“[There was a] rumor that [rising] juniors were gonna take the boat,” he explained.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Boat briefly served as a party venue. The class of 2020 organized a dance in the Boat, correctly predicting that prom would be cancelled. The event was spontaneous and planned overnight. On the day of the event, students could be seen in Prom-appropriate outfits under a hand-painted banner with the word “ImPROMtu.”

The famous – or infamous – hang-out spot is not without its controversies. Several rows of Mamiya lockers line the wall located in the inner areas of the boat, some of which are assigned to underclassmen. Dean Marguerite Ashford-Hirano reported that students have complained in the past about difficulty accessing their own lockers because of pressure to leave from seniors in the Boat. However, “seniors only” rule remains a popular and respected tradition among students. Underclassmen look forward to entering the boat freely when they become seniors.

“I’m excited to experience a place with no other grade,” shared Julia Beavers ‘24.


Sailing Through Time: An Investigation of “Boat” Culture through History

The trend between rain and student-faculty conflicts continues, however. Recently, the Math and Science Resource Room in Mamiya, where many students head to hang out with friends, study, and eat during breaks, was suddenly made off-limits during lunch. Some have cited the ban to one particularly rainy lunch, when the MSRR was packed with more students than most days. A few of these students caused a lot of noise, and did not clean up the space after use, resulting in a ban decided by the faculty. Several students commented on the lack of appropriate indoor or covered hang-out spaces.

Why is it Called the Boat, Anyway?

Short answer: We don’t know.

Long answer: Interestingly, no document in the Punahou Archives related to Mamiya mentions the boat. Although some maps dated to after construction include the boat, the area remains unmarked.

Among the six alumni interviewed for this article, all but one stated that they did not call the area the Boat, or that they did not remember what it was called at all.

There are many speculations to the origin of the Boat’s name, however. As mentioned before, one of the most popular is that the term is short for “Fresh off the Boat.” Many others believe the name is derived from the space’s boat-like shape, with an arched side and some elevation. Some have pointed to a theme shared by other colloquial hang-out spot names, such as the Islands (the meandering stone seats between Alexander and Mamiya) and the Beach (so named because it was previously filled with sand). Without definitive proof, though, the mystery of the Boat’s name may never be solved.

PUN PRIX 2 0 2 3 Artwork 19
Mira Kubo ‘24



2. Fish species found in Lily Pond

4. Ominous name of a 6th grade teamspace

5. ______ Drive is named for its trees

6. You’re probably more likely to smell than see one of these near Cooke Hall

11. ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi name for Rocky Hill

13. Punahou has six indoor courts for this fast-paced game

18. Apropos name of campus pool

20. Design Technology & _______

21. Case “Middle School,” Kosasa “Community,” Omidyar

23. Site of Ka Punahou offices in Pauahi Hall

25. Few students still remember when the snack bar sold Strawberry ____

26. Home of the Hawaiian Studies program on campus

29. Cactus genus found around Punahou


1. Permanently closed campus exit satirized in last issue’s comic

3. Surprising they don’t sell pineapples in the cafeteria since it’s named ____ Hall

5. It’s the name of the school

7. The font family in which this issue is set

8. “Quad” for short

9. Another name for a science classroom

10. Type of restroom Punahou is working to provide on campus

12. Ferret-like animal found on campus

14. Don’t forget safety goggles in this Academy facility! Rhymes with 17 Down

15. Imaginatively named cylindrical building near the chapel

16. Vladimir ________ designed Thurston Chapel

17. Seasoning for pickles, or the Punahou theater building

19. ____ School Hall

22. Name of two buildings in the Academy

24. Watch out – the Health Center’s may have seatbelts, but Security’s don’t

27. Line of Herman Miller chairs used in many Punahou classrooms

28. Common unit of measurement for school campuses in USA

Ka Punahou is seeking student writers, illustrators, photographers, and more! Message @kapunahou on IG for info.



“From Bingham to Wilcox,” Two Years Later

It’s been more than two years since Ka Punahou published “From Bingham to Wilcox, Telling the Whole Story.” It‘s still our most-viewed online article. I had a feeling the piece would make an impact when I wrote it in the summer of 2020, but I certainly didn’t expect it to go viral.

Multiple people told me while I was writing this article that digging up Punahou’s historical ties to colonialism and American imperialism in Hawaiʻi was a third rail, and that I should be careful. I was careful. “From Bingham to Wilcox” was published as an opinion piece, but the only opinion I chose to base it on was that it’s good to pursue a more holistic narrative of history. I didn’t argue then, nor will I suggest now, that the best course of action is to change the names of the buildings or tear them down or add informational plaques or leave everything the way it is. I think there’s more than one justifiable answer, and honestly I believe that what we end up doing is far less important than the conversations we have about it and the things we learn from the process.


“From Bingham to Wilcox,” Two Years Later

And we’ve certainly had conversations! “From Bingham to Wilcox” is currently used in the curriculum of at least one course at Punahou, and I can’t count how many times I’ve heard about discussions –in classrooms, board meetings, and houses across the state – that happened because of the article or were enriched by it. I certainly don’t take credit for starting anything in particular. The idea for my article came from conversations with classmates and teachers, and I only hope that it’s been a similar source of information for others as we continue to critique and learn from our history.

With that goal in mind, we’re reprinting selected sections from the article on the opposite page, with some edits for conciseness. To read the full piece in its original form with links to sources and comments from readers, please visit As I shared in my introduction to the original:

In her TED Talk The Danger of a Single Story, author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie suggests that “Power is the ability not just to tell the story of another person, but to make it the definitive story of that person.” Punahou School exercises significant control over the stories of people who have played roles in the school’s history and, more broadly, the history of colonialism in Hawaii. The narratives shared on the Punahou website and in environments like Chapel directly influence the perceptions and understandings of students, faculty, and other community members. As illustrated in the following passages, while the perspective shared by Punahou may be one story, it isn’t the only story of these people and their actions.

Mia Nishina ‘23

Bingham Hall – Academy Math – Named for Reverend Hiram and Sybil Bingham

From the Punahou website: “Reverend Hiram and Sybil Bingham arrived aboard the Brig Thaddeus in 1820… [Mr. Bingham] contributed to the development of the written Hawaiian language and is credited with translating several chapters of the Bible. Mr. Bingham’s position as trusted advisor to the King and the chiefs resulted in the gift of the land of Ka Punahou from Boki and Liliha. Kaahumanu is considered responsible for this gift… The Binghams left Hawaiʻi in 1840 before Punahou School became a reality, but their commitment to the ideals of education and their selflessness in support of their mission is still remembered on today’s campus.”

Not included: In addition to bringing Christianity to the islands, Reverend Bingham advocated for capitalist economics and property law, successfully laying the groundwork for the colonization and exploitation of Hawaiian land and its indigenous people. The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions recalled Bingham to New England in 1840 for interfering in Hawaiian politics, and subsequently stripped him of his missionary status.

Dole Hall – Cafeteria – Named for Reverend Daniel and Emily Dole

From the Punahou website: “Reverend Daniel and Emily Dole arrived in Honolulu in 1841 as members of the Ninth Company of Missionaries. Their arrival and Mr. Dole’s acceptance of the position as principal of Punahou School signaled the founding of the long-awaited school… Once school began at Punahou, [Mr. Dole] oversaw the teaching and fieldwork, as well as running the small school… Reverend Dole resigned his position at Punahou in 1855 and moved to Kauai where he ran a church and school.”

Not included: In 1844, Reverend Dole wrote to the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions to say that “Evidently, the population must soon change its character….I know that most of my brethren do not like to... think of the Hawaiian nation becoming extinct.” He also spoke about the potential for the missionaries’ children to form “the character of [a new] nation.” Writers in Punahou’s student newspapers at the time echoed and built upon Dole’s philosophy. Daniel Dole’s son Sanford Ballard Dole led the Committee of Safety to overthrow the Kingdom of Hawaii, becoming President of the Republic of Hawaiʻi and then the first Governor of the U.S. Territory of Hawaii.

Thurston P.E. Center – Athletics – Named for Asa Thurston

From the Punahou website: “[Asa Thurston] was ordained with Hiram Bingham I, one of the founders of Punahou, and sailed with him as part of the First Company of missionaries. In addition to building churches and schools and a considerable following, he was one of the first translators of the Bible into the Hawaiian language… Subsequent generations were prominent in the development of Punahou and in the history of Hawaii.”

Not included: Asa Thurston and Rev. Hiram Bingham worked closely together to spread Christianity in Hawaii. Unlike Bingham, Thurston did not go against the wishes of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions by meddling in politics. Still, the arrival of the missionaries in Hawaiʻi is difficult to decouple from the colonialism and imperialism that rapidly followed – many modern historians draw direct connections between Christian missionary practices and settler-colonial outcomes. Thurston’s wife Lucy wrote happily about the first time he preached to the Hawaiian royalty through an interpreter: “they all knelt before the white man’s God.”

Wilcox Hall – K-1 Admin & Learning Spaces – Named for George Norton Wilcox

From the Punahou website: “[George Norton Wilcox] came to Punahou at the age of 10, graduating in 1860… He was made a Trustee of Punahou by royal decree in 1882 and held that position until 1901. He was an active public servant, involved in every legislature under the Kingdom and the Republic. Beyond his significant gifts to Punahou to help build the original Bishop and Dillingham Halls, Wilcox contributed to The Salvation Army, the Boys’ and Girls’ Homes of the Salvation Army, Honolulu Military Academy, Mid-Pacific Institute, the YMCA and YWCA, and the Hawaiian Board of Missions.”

Not included: George Norton Wilcox was a well-known businessman and politician both before and after the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii. He was also a member of the Hawaiian League, a secret society with close ties to the group that plotted and successfully executed the takeover of Hawaii. This eventual overthrow of the Hawaiian government was facilitated by a document called the Bayonet Constitution, which drastically weakened the monarchy and linked the right to vote with property ownership, shifting power from indigenous Hawaiians towards white colonists. George Norton Wilcox was among the group that wrote the Bayonet Constitution, along with Sanford B. Dole (son of Daniel Dole) and Lorrin Thurston (grandson of Asa Thurston).

A Look into our Hidden Water System

Atropa Choi ‘24

An artesian well in the Maintenance Shop draws water from a confined aquifer. This aquifer is also the source of the spring Ka Punahou. The water is then treated to be made safe to drink. Water from this well is only used on campus, though not all water on campus is from this well.

An 8-inch-thick underground pipeline pumps the water to the water tank, supplying facilities on its way, namely, the Kosasa Community and the Dance Pavilion.

At an elevation of 207.5 ft, the water tank is the highest point in the water system. It acts as a sort of buffer, helping ensure a steady flow of water to the rest of campus. It can hold up to 105,000 gallons, though it is never kept at maximum capacity. The tank maintains its contents at 60% to 85% full, automatically drawing more water from the Maintenance Shop once it reaches the low limit.

Main 8-inch pipelines from the tank branch off into facilities through smaller pipelines, then to ½-inch pipelines once inside buildings. Once water enters a facility, it cannot re-enter the main pipeline system. Older pipes are made of copper, while newer pipes are made of PVC. Both are designed to withstand pressure and corrosion.

8-inch domestic pipes

BWS pipes


30-inch and 20-inch Board of Water Supply pipelines run across campus, providing additional water. In the case of an emergency, the school can completely switch to BWS water.

Unlike most parts of the campus, the Omidyar Neighborhood is not supplied by the well due to its higher altitude. Instead, a BWS pipeline provides its water.

Drainage and sewage systems rely on gravity more than pressure. The water flows from top to bottom.

Since man-made structures obstruct the natural flow of rainwater, drainage must be installed to redirect precipitation and prevent floods. Some newer parts of campus have permeable paving, which allows water to pass through its porous structure as if it were natural ground. Stormwater eventually enters the ocean untreaed and unfiltered.

Used water, like in the bathroom or a kitchen sink, is sent to a wastewater treatment facility offcampus through a different system of pipelines.

Though not depicted on this map, water for fire hydrants also runs underground in as big as 8-inch pipes.

Punahou’s water system is resilient and redundant – with its circular layout, if a section must be shut down, the rest of the campus can still receive water.

Water Tank


GSD: Asian Studies’s Glimpse into the Truth of Castle

“These are the names of the five major companies that controlled Hawaiʻi’s sugar industry in the early 1900s. Does anyone recognize any of the names?” I said to the class.

As a sophomore, my activism for more Filipino representation had contributed to the establishment of the new GSD: Asian Studies class in response to the original required Asian History course only including two countries and containing minimal opportunities to critically discuss history. Now, as a senior, I was teaching a lesson in the very class I used my student voice to advocate for.

In GSD: Asian Studies, students culminate their semester with an educational project in which they will teach a lesson plan to an audience of their choosing.


GSD: Asian Studies’s Glimpse into the Truth of Castle

As a contributor to the creation of the course and the founder of a curriculum-creating initiative called the Filipino Curriculum Project outside of school, my role was to provide an example of a lesson by teaching it to the three sections of Dr. Roy’s and Mr. Gushiken’s GSD Asian Studies class, and then with Ms. Proctor’s and Mr. Demura-Devore’s class sections the following month.

The lesson I was teaching was about Asian American history, specifically about the Sakadas, Filipino plantation laborers who immigrated to Hawaiʻi during the early 1900s to work in the plantation fields. Titled “Sakadas and the Plantation Times,” it concentrates on Filipinos but also includes the other ethnic groups – mainly Asian – that worked in the sugar and pineapple plantations under exploitative conditions. The lesson ends with students creating strike posters of their own, simulating resilience and revolution against the harsh and unjust treatment of the plantation industry.

Students nodded their heads in response to my question of them recognizing any of the names. On the screen I had listed Castle & Cooke and Alexander & Baldwin, to name a few.

I took a step further. “What is the name of the building that we’re sitting in right now?” I asked.

Mia Nishina ‘23

GSD: Asian Studies’s Glimpse into the Truth of Castle

“Castle,” all the students echoed back at me. Castle Hall, although a far walk from the Academy, is where many of my favorite classes took place, including my junior year US History class – GSD American Studies: Race and the American Experience – which helped me fall in love with history all over again through projects and discussions on systemic racism, inequity, diverse perspectives and current issues. It is also where GSD: Asian Studies, the class I helped create, is being taught. But the building’s name commemorates and honors a person who was involved in the exploitation of Hawaiʻi’s diverse groups and the erasure of Native Hawaiian culture. People like Samuel Northrup Castle and Amos Starr Cooke, first missionaries, then the founders of Castle & Cooke, held the plantation industry and the fates of many minority immigrant workers in their fists.

Hawaiʻi’s racial “harmony” wasn’t initially born from progressive acceptance like many believe, but because those in power wanted to prevent unions from forming across the Hawaiʻi plantation workforce. Workers were recruited from all parts of Asia including China, Japan, Korea, and then finally the Philippines, and worked in the same plantations as Hawaiians as well as Portuguese and other Europeans. But despite this diversity that Hawaiʻi is known for, according to the Library of Congress, “Plantation life was rigidly stratified by national origin, with Japanese, Chinese, and Filipino laborers paid at different rates for the same work, while all positions of authority were reserved for European Americans. Plantation owners often pitted one nationality against the other.” This shows not only the hierarchy of the industry, but the ethnic division used to keep groups separate and oppressed.

The official Castle & Cooke website states, “In 1837, Samuel Northrup Castle and Amos Starr Cooke landed in Hawaiʻi to begin their new lives. First missionaries, then teachers, then merchants, then pineapple and sugar plantation owners, first in Hawaiʻi and then worldwide.” This shows their immense power over Hawaiʻi’s islands during this time period, one of the largest contributors to their wealth being the sugar industries that they owned and controlled, which were operated on the basis of racism and inequality.

According to Punahou School, Castle Hall, built in 1913, was named in honor of Samuel Northrup Castle. It was funded by Mary Tenney Castle, known as ‘Mother Castle,’ – the wife of Castle.


GSD: Asian Studies’s Glimpse into the Truth of Castle

“The building we are sitting in is built off of sugar money,” I said to the class. “It is built off of the exploitation of not only Filipinos, but countless Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Hawaiian, Portuguese workers that came through Hawaiʻi’s plantations.”

But where did a lot of that money from Mary Tenney Castle specifically come from? A majority no doubt was from the sugar and pineapple plantations that her husband owned, as this funded a large portion of their wealth. And how was sugar and pineapple money generated? By paying the workers very little. If you ask any of the sophomores in that class about my Sakadas lesson, they will tell you that Filipino Sakadas were paid 62 cents a day in the plantations. That is less than one dollar; that is less than 75 cents. That was the lowest amount paid to an ethnic group.

62 cents in 1906 is equivalent to about 20 dollars today. Since workers were working up to 12 hours a day, this meant that they were being paid the equivalent of around $1.71 per hour in 2022 prices, a wage that would not only be against the labor laws of today, but highly immoral.

The individuals we name buildings after are those we choose to commemorate. And it’s about time that we learn about the truths – the hard truths – behind many of our buildings, the history that is threaded within them, and the people that were forced to struggle. How many Sakadas broke their backs and endured festering wounds on their cane-hoisting shoulders so that we could be afforded Castle Hall? How many Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Filipino, Hawaiian and Portuguese laborers rioted against each other as the result of plantation owners pitting their workers against one another, so these walls could be built?

This is why classes such as GSD: Asian Studies are beneficial. They create the space to learn about the stories of minority figures like Asian immigrants – stories that are largely untold, but may be very relevant to our education. It’s important to note that many of these workers didn’t stay placid for long: against the hopes of their oppressors, they did succeed in forming unions and protesting alongside each other, resulting in better conditions and pay.

Buildings physically guide our learning, as curious students walk through the halls every day on their way to class. As students and educators, we have a responsibility to recognize and grapple with the history behind them.


The Lilypond’s Declining State

Sophie Chan ‘26

Ka Punahou, known to many as simply the lily pond, sits at the center of campus and is considered by many to be the heart of the school. Punahou’s rich history has centered around the ever-changing lily pond since the school was founded in 1841. The lily pond as it exists today is a man-made ecosystem, with its structure, plants, and animals having been designed and installed over time. The pond is home to greenery and an abundance of aquatic creatures. From the koi and red tilapias to the recently added native a’ia’i plants (planted by Outdoor Education), the ecosystem has consistently been supported by the students and faculty of Punahou School.

Mr. Reid Hayes ‘09 was a member of the informal Lily Pond Committee that met to discuss the state of the pond, and remains involved in discussions with Punahou’s administrators along with other teachers passionate about the lily pond. Hayes is also an AP Environmental Science and Biology Honors teacher. He states that the lily pond is going through a “relatively unhealthy state,” though not at the point of eutrophication. Eutrophication would cause the entire pond to be overgrown with algae, turning it into a “dead zone.” Much is yet to be found out about the lily pond, such as the factors causing fish and plants to die. Lack of nutrients and bacteria might possibly be the provoking factors. An ecosystem is an intricate web of species who all contribute to its success. According to Hayes, the pond is not able to provide and sustain itself as a successful ecosystem should. For example, population growth is not regulated, so much of the aquatic life is imbalanced. Many of the species are just barely surviving, while others, such as turtles, have been rapidly growing in population over the past few years.

Mia Nishina ‘23

The Lilypond’s Declining State


In the past, the lily pond has gone through drastic restoration efforts. In the early 1990s, the school began noticing issues with the pond ecosystem. By 1996 a project was launched, using donations from alumni classes to fund the draining and refilling of the pond. Many animals were removed, and all plants had to be relocated to different nurseries. The damage being observed in the lily pond today is possibly the result of actions in previous years, according to Hayes. The lily pond has had a very irregular maintenance routine, and the damage caused might not be something we can fix quickly; restoration work now may take several years to successfully mitigate the issues in the lily pond.

“The lily pond might not be self-sufficient because it is man-made,” Hayes said. Faculty have discussed one possible solution, which is a regular maintenance schedule with a dedicated branch of staff working on the pond. Maintaining a balanced ecosystem is an arduous task that requires decades of work.

Current Projects

Biology Honors teachers Mr. Hayes and Ms. Hirasuna are currently conducting a data collection project with their students, in hopes of informing further research and eventual changes to the lily pond. Their classes are documenting different variables in the pond water including pH, nitrite and nitrate levels, carbonate hardness (KH), and general hardness (GH). This is only the second year of collecting data, though Hayes and Hirasuna hope the project can be continued annually. Many of the experiments are going through trial and error processes as those researching the pond are trying to find the most useful data.

All of this data will be analyzed by both Punahou administrators and a professional consulting company. The company, AECOS, focuses on water quality and environmental services. This assortment of student-collected data will aid both groups in their search for the root of the problem.

All around campus, there is chatter among students about the disappearing koi and lilies. Hayes confirmed that many of the koi fish have died over the past years, though he said many people are still working to identify the reason for the decline in what once was an abundant species in the lily pond. The lily pads and flowers, meanwhile, have not been removed. They have decomposed and died, causing a dramatic drop in the amount of foliage in the lily pond.


Future Opportunities

Many students hope that their own contributions can help to save the lily pond too. A club centered around the lily pond was proposed this year, but was assimilated into the sustainability club. Students have called for volunteer opportunities to assist with lily pond maintenance. Despite the lily pond’s importance as a Punahou landmark, regular maintenance has yet to be achieved. There have been many ideas proposed to the many faculty members concerning the lily pond. Perhaps the real issue at stake is the end goal for the lily pond: should it be turned into a more natural ecosystem, or maintained as a “real” lily pond?

Mia Nishina ‘23

A New World

Hannah Jung ‘26

Anyone trying to get into a new school always has a reason to leave, including me. That reason could be anything, good or bad, on their own, encouraged by their parents, or just wanting to leave their old life and start a new one. Regardless of the reason, tons of kids from various schools come together here at Punahou. Punahou, being one of the biggest schools on the island, has lots of new kids who aspire to attend each year.

I came to Punahou from a tiny school where everyone knew each other and everything about them. Name, last name, date of birth, mother’s maiden name, et cetera. Everyone knew everyone. It felt like a realistic family. Not like one of those perfect parents with perfect twins with perfect smiles that are just a bit too bright. Like siblings fighting each other, but if someone else gets involved, they’ll both immediately start defending one another. It felt like we had each other, even when it didn’t seem like it. The faculty have been there forever and a day. The majority of the teachers there have been teaching at that campus, in that specific room, for decades. Many students have the same teachers as those who graduated years ago did. It was a small and tight community, but one not for me. Some people may find such closeness appealing, but for me, being at the school for 9 years became suffocating. It became weird that everyone knew everything about me, even what my mother’s car looked like. I felt stuck in the past of my childhood feeling suppressed from the ability to grow and it became increasingly unbearable. Not that it was a bad school. I am incredibly blessed to


have received high quality education in my younger years. It just felt as if everyone knew every trivial thing about me yet nothing about me at all. As if I was a picture, and they’re just stating what’s right in front of them. I didn’t plan on leaving, it just was an impulsive decision, and I thought, “why not?” And now, here I am, writing for Ka Punahou in the CLC. Life is crazy, really. I always compare my old school to Punahou because the feeling is so surreal that I’m blessed to be at this new, big, kinda scary, but beautiful place. I’m so thankful to be here and for everything that has happened. I’m not saying it’s perfect –nothing is – but it’s still pretty amazing.

Punahou differs from other schools with its environment, school system, and just everything about it. As one of my friends said, the campus, the schedule, the entirety of the school is what makes it so individual. They expressed their appreciation for the respect and trust in the relationships between students and faculty. Ever since Punahou opened, from 1841 to 2023, it has continued to bless and teach those attending. The school is so diverse with people who have come from tons of different places, backgrounds, environments, and at various times. It honestly is insane, and I’m not the only one to think so. Coming as a new student, it can be tough to adjust to such a huge school with so many people. Even though it’s the second semester, a random person in my grade I’ve never met before will just pop out of nowhere. It can be a challenge to start over as a new person in a new life, but with all the different communities coming together to help each other, with time, it’ll work.

This is basically – or hopefully – an encouraging message to all the new students who might be having a hard time coming to school, or even to those who’ve been at Punahou their whole lives who felt like me. This school is so colossal and diverse with people who are so caring and welcoming as well. Transferring to another school is always tough in the beginning. It feels like an entirely different universe with new people on the other side. It just feels like going on a trip, where you pack your bags and visit different sites for a couple of days. It doesn’t feel like your own space at first, but with time, it’ll slowly start to become your world.

38 A New World

Architects (contributors)


Ezra Levinson ‘23


Atropa Choi ‘24

Print Editor

Harley Wolters ‘23

Ethan Kim ‘23

News Editors

Calista Yap ‘24

Social Media Editor

Joy Leung ‘23

Mira Kubo ‘24

Multimedia Editors

Colby Kurasaki ‘24

Eunice Son ‘23

Sports Editors

Shane Komeiji ‘24

Mitchell Atebara ‘24

Arts & Entertainment Editors

Reina Gammarino ‘24

Noah Raquino ‘23

Opinion Editors


Alison Funai ‘25

Atropa Choi ‘24

Ezra Levinson ‘23

Hannah Jung ‘26

Marissa Halagao ‘23

Sophie Chan ‘26

Swan Kim ‘26


Atropa Choi ‘24

Mia Nishina ‘23

Mira Kubo ‘24

Serene Kim ‘24


Atropa Choi ‘24

Calista Yap ‘24

Ezra Levinson ‘23

Mari Dela Cruz ‘26

Mira Kubo ‘24

Faculty Advisor

Marshall Comstock


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