A Diverse Learning Community

The Impact of a Diverse Community

A student body that is economically, ethnically, culturally and intellectually diverse enables students to question their own assumptions and gain new perspectives. Multiple perspectives promote the development of 21st-century skills like critical and creative thinking, problem-solving, social responsibility, collaboration, innovation and civic engagement.

“Financial aid is a key mechanism for cultivating the diverse learning community that will prepare all of our students for the changing realities of the global century.”President Jim Scott ’70

Mari Shiraishi ’98 and Nicholas Walle 

Though Mari Shiraishi ’98 came to Punahou from Kaua‘i as a junior, her two years in the Academy profoundly influenced her life afterward. “Leaving home to attend Punahou was a transformative journey that few neighbor-island students have the opportunity to experience. Punahou changed the trajectory of my life and taught me that no dream is too big to strive for,” she says, adding that some of the most important things she learned as a student – how to stay curious and delve deeper by asking questions – continue to inform her work as a rheumatologist today. Now, she and her husband, Nicholas Walle, see the same curiosity blossoming in their son, Luke ’30, and were inspired to create an endowed financial aid fund with a preference for students from neighbor islands.

“Punahou taught me that the right answer isn’t always most important; sometimes there’s more than one answer or the answer hasn’t even been found yet. It’s about keeping that lifelong learning and inquisitive nature, and we wanted to give another student the opportunity to have that experience.”Mari Shiraishi ’98

“I am beyond lucky to have come to Punahou with the help of financial aid, knowing someone believed that I belong at this School. That’s something that can only be paid forward.”    Wisdom Matsuzaki ’17
“Punahou is liberating. The path that you choose is your own. It’s not something that someone else makes for you. You set your own destination for your future.”      Chase Stone ’17
“Kids are more aware of the reality of people from different circumstances. They have a greater sense of respect for those in the class who may not have the same benefits they’ve had.”   Academy English Department Head Holly Greenwell ’86