2016 Private School Guide


(page 18 of 34)

Pacific Buddhist Academy

Growth and Gratitude

Photos: Pacific Buddhist Academy


Every student at this small college prep school, the first Shin Buddhist high school in America, is seen as an intelligent individual capable of developing skills and values, while gaining self-awareness, compassion and courage, to improve communities and create a peaceful world. Optimizing its small school environment and taught by dedicated teachers, PBA’s challenging core academic program has enabled 100 percent of its graduates to go on to colleges and universities. Familiar and innovative programs, such as athletics and PBA’s signature Taiko program, offer a one-of-a-kind learning experience.


“Our students come from all faiths. Diversity is vital to our mission of peace. We strive to combine academic excellence, critical thinking and creative action in an atmosphere of Buddhist values such as gratitude, compassion and the importance of nurturing peace in daily life,” says Head of School Josh Hernandez Morse. 


Concluding its major capital campaign this winter, PBA sees growth ahead as it plans to break ground in 2016 for a new energy-efficient classroom building. The building will enable the grade 9 to 12 school to double its enrollment and to include new facilities for science labs and cultural education programs, including a room for chado (tea ceremony) and other meditative practices. 


PBA’s vibrant international programs are among its most anticipated and popular offerings to students eager to expand their world view. As a participating school in the East-West Center’s Global Youth Leadership Program, PBA will host students from Hiroshima, Japan. PBA will partner with the East-West Center on future exchanges in the coming year. And as the only American school in a network of 26 Buddhist schools, PBA offers a robust exchange program with its sister schools in Japan.


“The focus is on peace education for our students, but through a pragmatic approach of humanitarian effort.”– Josh Hernandez Morse, Head of School 


Two PBA students are the only Hawaii students participating in a special “Partnership for Youth” program in Cambodia with the East-West Center. They are part of a documentary team filming U.S. youth efforts to examine the dynamics of a changing society in that Southeast Asian country. “The focus is on peace education for our students, but through a pragmatic approach of humanitarian effort,” says Hernandez Morse. 


Recognizing the importance of young adults developing social and emotional skills together with academic knowledge, PBA integrates a “Virtues Education” program across the four-year high school span for students to explore such human qualities as empathy, compassion and interdependence when faced with such human dilemmas as conflict, discrimination and war. 


Preparing students for engaged citizenship in their communities can involve a life skills class on learning to cook, financial management and even self-defense skills. It also means challenging science classes to contribute to PBA’s efforts to decrease its carbon footprint, and supporting seniors to organize Teach-Ins on sexism, gender identity and other current issues.


Casting high school in a whole new light, PBA is committed to an exceptional education, infused with moral and spiritual values, for its students to become compassionate and globally-minded adults.



1710 Pali Highway, Honolulu, HI 96813, (808) 532-2649, PacificBuddhistAcademy.org


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