Each year, the Punahou Alumni Association recognizes individuals who are dedicated to improving the lives of others through service and contribution to the communities of Punahou, Hawai‘i and beyond. Their achievements are an inspiration to the Punahou community.
Other awardees for this year include Ethan Abbott ’72, Emeritus Imu Gang, Pamela Hamamoto ’78, Lynn Kimura ’81 Kunishige, Larry Langley ’68, Barb Young ’67 Morgan, Kazumi Ogawa ’86 and David W. Pratt ’53.
Old School Award
This award is given to individuals who exemplify the spirit of Punahou through outstanding service to the school.
“Captain Bruce” and “Aunty Lita” are husband-wife team Bruce and Lita Thompson ’68 Blankenfeld, the dynamic duo who for more than 40 years has been teaching, mentoring and learning on behalf of the Polynesian Voyaging Society.
Bruce is one of five pwo, or master, navigators from Hawai‘i. He has sailed numerous legs on Hōkūle‘a and served as crew training coordinator for the recent Worldwide Voyage. Bruce has helped Punahou teachers connect and integrate Hōkūle‘a’s lessons of sustainability and exploration into classroom activities.
Lita is a paddler and coach, and held the very important role of logistics chair for the Worldwide Voyage, coordinating provisioning, land logistics and safety of the canoe and crew. Not a sailor herself, Lita was at the ready on land and prepared to help Hōkūle‘a handle any emergency.
Together, Bruce and Lita have opened their home to sailors and paddlers from across the Pacific for many years. Classmates have always been welcome in their home too, as the Blankenfelds hosted reunions and gatherings for the Class of 1968.