Honolulu’s Punahou School has announced a partnership with Hawaii government leaders and local organizations to provide students with a diverse range of opportunities to foster civic engagement.
The partnership was officially launched on Monday with a virtual event attended by education officials, business leaders, and politicians.
Punahou, which counts former President Barack Obama among its alumni, has been working to create a program that helps students to develop intellectual discipline and understand the importance of being civically engaged in their communities. The partnership will provide students with the resources and support needed to participate in political involvement and volunteer work, as well as inspire them to run for public office.
“This partnership marks an exciting new chapter for our school and our community,” said Punahou School President Mike Latham in a news release. “We believe that it’s essential to inspire our students to be civically engaged and develop the skills needed to make a positive impact in their communities and beyond.”
The partnership will involve collaborations with the Hawaii Department of Education and several community organizations, including the Omidyar Group, Hawaii Community Foundation, and the Hawaii Executive Collaborative. Punahou School will work closely with these organizations to develop programs and resources that will help students to develop their civic skills.
According to a press release, the program will focus on providing students with opportunities to learn and encourage them to develop leadership skills and pursue careers in public service.
The initiative will focus on three main elements: education, mentorship, and community engagement.
The education component of the initiative aims to provide K-12 students with a deep understanding of civics and government. This includes access to curriculum materials and educational resources that emphasize the importance of active civic participation, as well as opportunities to engage in debates, simulations, and other activities that promote critical thinking and effective communication.
The mentorship component of the initiative is designed to connect young people with experienced leaders and professionals in various fields. Mentors will provide guidance and support to students as they navigate their academic and career paths, helping them to identify and pursue opportunities for personal and professional growth. The initiative aims to connect students with mentors who share their interests and aspirations, providing them with role models who can inspire and guide them towards success.
The community engagement element of the initiative aims to create opportunities for students to engage with their local communities and take an active role in shaping their future. This includes opportunities to volunteer, participate in service projects, and work with community leaders and organizations to address pressing social and environmental issues.
STATE Superintendent of Education, Christina Kishimoto, welcomed the partnership, stating that it will provide public school students with access to the same resources and opportunities as those at Punahou.
“The Department of Education is excited to collaborate with Punahou School and our community partners to offer more resources for our students statewide,” Kishimoto said in the release. “This partnership is an excellent example of how public and private institutions can work together to make a positive impact in our communities.”
The launch event was attended by several prominent Hawaii leaders, including Gov. David Ige, Sen. Mazie Hirono, and Rep. Ed Case. They all expressed their support for the program and praised the efforts of Punahou School and its partners.
“This initiative has the potential to make a real difference in the lives of young people in Hawaii,” said Senator Hirono. “It will provide them with the tools and resources needed to become active and engaged members of their communities, and inspire them to pursue careers in public service.”
As part of the launch event, Punahou School also announced the creation of the Civic Scholars Program, which will provide students with financial support and mentorship opportunities to pursue careers in public service. The program will be available to students at Punahou School and other public schools throughout Hawaii.