From Sports Illustrated
Before it gave rise to the nation’s No. 1 high school athletic program, this fertile patch on the island of Oahu endured a prolonged dry spell. A lack of rain, legend has it, made life a struggle for an old couple living at the base of Rocky Hill in Manoa Valley. But on successive nights, one and then the other had the same dream: If they pulled up the hala tree near their home, they would find water to fill their gourds.
The tree was uprooted, revealing ka punahou — the new spring — whose waters pour forth to this day at the center of the Punahou School campus, a palm-lined, 76-acre citadel of academic and athletic excellence where Aristotle meets Duke Kahanamoku. Founded in 1841 by Congregationalist missionaries who could no longer bear the thought of shipping their children to New England to be educated, the school’s first class consisted of 15 students.
Today, with a K-12 enrollment of 3,760, Punahou is the largest single independent school in the U.S. It is also the oldest in the country west of the Mississippi, and seemingly the most overachieving. Since 1958 the Buff ‘n Blue have racked up 368 Hawaii championships — a state-record 16 this school year alone, including eight in the past two weeks.