Punahou School offers a yearly Alumni Celebration to which all alumni, regardless of reunion status, are invited to attend. Of course, reunion classes are the stars of the evening and, of course, Punahou74 was well represented.
The Alumni Celebration on June 12 included what one might expect of any Punahou social gathering: great entertainment (featuring the Oahu College Band), plenty of ono food, and ample time to mingle with interesting people. But, beyond the basic social requirements, the evening offered an opportunity to showcase Punahou and Alumni achievements in various fields. And Punahou74 was part of that recognition.
- Babs Miyano Young exhibited her artistic jewelry. One piece was a “fancy eyeglass necklace” that was more jewelry than eyeglass holder and is a fashion accessory that most women would be proud to wear. If you liked her flowers at the Friday night event, you know how good her sense of style is.
- There was also Shannon Brownlee’s book, Overtreated: Why Medicine is Making Us Sicker and Poorer. The book was named the #1 economics book of 2007 by the New York Times (Shannon beat out Alan Greenspan’s memoir so you can see how good her effort was). Overtreated was reviewed as the best description of of “a huge economic problem that we know how to solve–but is so often misunderstood.” The book looks at why one-fifth to a third of our health care dollars are spent on care that does nothing to improve our health. Certainly a tome that has remained timely despite the passage of time. Sounds like a good read.
- Lynne Gartley Meyer, along with retired Cooke Library Research Librarian Joyce Salmon, prepared the Punahou Archives display on The History of Punahou Graduations (1878-2012). In addition to a graduation timeline, there was an array showing the reunion classes on their graduation stages. Accompanying each picture were fun facts about the class and its graduation experience. I spent some time asking attendees if they could find themselves in their pictures. That brought out a lot of good memories. The Class of 1964 was particularly proud to learn that their boys were the first to wear the blue graduation blazers. The Class of 1979 was reminded of something that they may have wanted to forget: when the setting off of firecrackers caused Punahou to be put on probation at the Blaisdell Center and nearly caused the permanent ban of post-graduation school parties. If you missed it, take a look at our “vital statics” below to learn what was singularly unique about Punahou74’s time in the graduation spotlight. Do you remember what made our graduation special?
But the big moment of the evening was the presentation of the reunion gift checks. Now, I just spent last night signing thank you letters that will be mailed out in the next day or two. These were addressed to the 145 of you who generously contributed to our reunion gift. I have to thank you all for the writer’s cramp!
There were many in that stack who give year in and year out and are “True Buff ‘n Blue Donors.” I saw these names once again as I signed away and can only marvel at the devotion of these classmates through thick and thin. You are the ones than be counted on and are there for the class, and for Punahou. Thank you.
Of special note was the fact that ten classmates will be receiving their thank you letters for the first time since we graduated. I don’t know whether it was the 3-to-1 match offered by a generous anonymous classmate that caused you to take the plunge but it doesn’t really matter. Thank you so much for becoming a Punahou donor. That you did it in a year when your gift will elevate your class as a whole is even more heartening. Thanks for being a part of the class effort. Thank you for being there for Punahou.
But back to the Thursday event. …
If you haven’t attended one of these celebrations the evening’s highlight is a parade of classes–from the youngest to the oldest–when the check numbers are announced and the classes congratulated.
Since our 35th reunion, when only Fred Hu and Mary Madinger Balding were on the stage, Punahou has seen the wisdom of opening up the “15 seconds of fame” to all attending class members. They’ve also increased the physical size of the “check” giving the presentation a little more of a Publisher’s Clearing House kind of “whoo whoo” feel.
While waiting for our big moment, classmates added their signatures to the check. I laughed when I heard someone comment that she’d “never signed such a big check in her life.” True for me too!
Then it was time to form a line to go on stage. Once again Punahou74 formed a campus crowd. There was plenty of “Hi!” and “Good to see you!” going around while we slowly inched forward and younger classes moved on through.
The big moment had finally arrived. A bright “Punahou Class of 1974” came over the speaker. The band struck up a rousing beat and our gift total was announced. After the 50th reunion class, we had one of the largest contingents that stepped forward and arranged itself around Trustee Ethan Abbott ’72 for the obligatory picture:
Of note: When our 35th check photo was taken at the Celebration it showed $70,000+ in the “Pay to the Order of” field. This year’s figure? $186,253. An improvement? In the order of 266%! You bet.
But that’s not the end of the story. By June 30 the reunion gift increased to $215,008. Amazing! Of this amount, $108,000 was pledged towards the Class of 1974 Endowed Scholarship Fund.
What’s notable about this scholarship figure is that, when this all stated back in the fall, our goal was to bring its endowment to $150,000. Well, guess what? With the $52,448 that was already in the fund, we now have $160,448 in the kitty. We made it! That’s 32% of a full tuition scholarship for one needy child. We are well on our way to having that elusive $500,000 full scholarship amount sitting in the Punahou74 fund by the time we celebrate our fiftieth reunion.
Are you tired of me saying “thank you”? Well, get used to it. Thank you for your generosity and thank you for your support of our class scholarship. When you receive your thank you letter from Punahou next week know that what you did represents something special. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Click here to view more pictures of the Alumni Celebration.