My family and I spend a fortune at Carnival every year. How is the money spent?
I spoke to VP of Finance, John Field, for the answer to this question. The school nets approximately $400,000 to $500,000 every year from our Carnival effort. All money raised goes towards financial aid. With an average financial aid grant of approximately $7,000, Carnival provides support for roughly 60-70 students. The school's total financial aid budget is $3.5 million so Carnival provides about 15% of the funding necessary for financial aid.
Beyond the financial support, Field stressed that it is the total Carnival experience that is most valuable to the Punahou community. "It is a wonderful opportunity for students to learn leadership skills, build wonderful memories, and interact with family and friends. For the 4,000 volunteers, it is a chance to give to the school and enjoy all of the Carnival festivities. Finally, it is Punahou's opportunity to open our campus to the entire community for all to enjoy."
A big event like the Carnival seems like it could potentially generate a lot of waste. What happens to all the leftovers from Carnival (food, prizes, etc.)?
PFA Carnival Coordinator, LeeAnn Ichimura, assures me that extra Carnival food does not go to waste! All usable, leftover Carnival food finds a second life as student and faculty lunches in Dole Cafeteria. If you ask your kids, you'll find that during the week after Carnival, they are usually able to purchase Carnival favorites such as taco salad, Portuguese bean soup, corn-on-the-cob, fried noodles and even chocolate-dipped ice cream bars. Any leftover prizes are sold at the PFA Office during the week after Carnival. All monies generated during this sale go back to Carnival.
February seems like a dismal month for the Carnival. The rain can make for a very muddy experience. Is there a reason why Carnival isn't held during a sunnier time of the year?
John Field was again the man to answer this question. As you might imagine, there are very logical reasons for keeping the Carnival in February (most of which probably don't come to mind when you're cursing the skies and playing tug of war with your slippers in the mud). He tells me that the school has given serious thought in the past to moving Carnival to another time of year. Considerations involve trying to balance athletic seasons and needs (users of Middle and Lower Field), academic seasons and timing, other campus activities and the tradition of holding the event in February.
For Academy students especially, moving the Carnival to the fall would create many challenges. For instance, Seniors would be forced to prepare for Variety Show while simultaneously preparing their College applications and dealing with a busy and stressful first semester. Moving the Carnival to spring would conflict with several end-of-the-year activities, including baseball, Holoku and May Day. Said Field, "When we looked at alternative dates, the end of January and beginning of February always comes back as the ideal time from a calendar and school schedule standpoint."