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Home About PBA FAQ


Answers to an array of common questions appears below. If you have suggestions for other questions to include, or seek an answer to a question not appearing here, email the Main Office.

What kind of qualifications do I need to be admitted to PBA?

PBA does not have any predetermined admission criteria. While we consider a student’s entire application package, including test scores, grades, letters of recommendations, and face-to-face interviews, we recognize that these items do not define any one person. Rather, we deeply consider how each candidate will embrace PBA’s educational philosophy and affect its close-knit community. We encourage all individuals with a sincere interest in the school to apply or contact us to schedule a visit.

Does PBA provide financial aid?

Yes, PBA budgets annually for tuition assistance to support its goal of socioeconomic diversity in the student community. Funding for tuition assistance comes from school scholarship funds, community foundations, tuition assistance grants, and donations from school supporters. 

To determine financial aid awards, PBA participates in the service provided by the School and Student Services by the National Association for Independent Schools (or SSS by NAIS), which compiles the financial data that each family provides and calculates the amount of tuition each family can afford. This data is then used by the Head of School, Director of Admissions and Business Manager to determine a financial aid award. Many students at PBA receive financial aid packages of all sizes. For students of Native Hawaiian descent, PBA also participates in the Kipona Scholarship Program, Those who are interested in more information should contact the Business Manager.

Do I have to be a practicing Buddhist to attend PBA?

No, you do not have to be a Buddhist to attend PBA. Currently, approximately 20% of the student body identifies as Buddhist, but that percentage varies from year to year. More significantly, it is PBA's goal to achieve the most diverse community possible in order to fulfill its mission of developing its students' courage to nurture peace. PBA welcomes students from all faith systems. Our students come from all religious, social, and ethnic backgrounds. While temple services and the practice of virtues such as compassion and creativity are part of the PBA experience, we primarily emphasize the universal values of peace, mindfulness, and interconnectedness, and work to develop the students' awareness of the tenets of the major faith systems.

When does the new building open? What will it look like and how will it change PBA?

The new building is currently under construction and will be completed by the fall of 2017. It will feature eight classrooms, including a state-of-the-art science lab, visual storytelling and performing arts studio, a "mud room" for the fine arts, a student commons, a humanities hall that opens into the courtyard and a tea room! These features represent a significant upgrade in facilities, will enable instructors to integrate modern technology into their curricula, and will enable instructors to increase student engagement in the community. Equally important, the new building will allow PBA to increase enrollment to between 120-140 students, thereby opening the door for more diverse course offerings, increased athletic opportunities, and enhanced programs for the student body. The future is bright at PBA!

What kind of educational options will I have as a PBA graduate?

To date, 155 of 156 PBA graduates have gone on to college. The single exception enlisted in the Marines, the fulfillment of three generations of family service in the United States Armed Forces. PBA graduates attend colleges and universities in Hawai‘i, across the U.S. mainland, and in Japan. In addition to receiving an excellent education, PBA students participate in a College and Career Counseling program tailored to fit their respective interests. PBA's excellent College and Career Counselor pushes them to pursue opportunities, occasionally prods them out of their comfort zones, and guides them in a direction to discover their passions.

What role does peace play at PBA?

While PBA is committed to offering the best college preparatory education possible to our students, we also believe that fostering peace is one of the most important pursuits any individual can undertake. We don't feel we have succeeded unless our students join our commitment to improving our communities. We maintain that with the proper guidance and support, our students will have the courage necessary to promote peace, whether it be in their personal relationships or in the world at large. We believe that the pursuit of inner peace is fundamental to the practice of peace with others. This philosophy rests at the cornerstone of academics at PBA and guides all of our programs.

What kind of athletic opportunities are there at PBA?

PBA participates in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu (the ILH). We currently field stand-alone teams in boys and girls bowling, golf, and cross country. PBA is also a member of Pac-Five, which enables students to participate in a range of options outside of our stand-alone teams. Lastly, PBA partners with other small schools in combination arrangements for sports in which Pac-Five is not permitted to field teams, such as boys and girls volleyball and basketball.

PBA student athletes have won state championshpis in wrestling, and placed in state championships in cross country, bowling, judo, golf and tennis. PBA alumni have gone on to compete at the college level in volleyball, soccer and tennis.

What offerings are available for students interested in the Arts?

Creativity is an important element of PBA's curriculum, and as such, PBA has an array of required classes and electives options in the visual arts, performing arts and expressive and cultural arts. 

  • Visual arts
    • required coursework in drawing and visual storytelling
    • electives options in watercolor, acrylics, mimetic art, mural painting, calligraphy, photography and yearbook
  • Performing arts
    • required coursework in taiko
    • electives options in drama, performance taiko, rock band, choral group, and Celtic music
  • Expressive and cultural arts
    • required coursework in kendo and chadō
    • electives options in visual storytelling, urban gardening, calligraphy, student journalism and yearbook

Each of these courses offer a unique aesthetic experience that focuses on the process rather the end result. Indeed, the function of the arts curriculum at the school is to hone the students' aesthetic apprehension, and therefore spiritual depth and character, through the model of practice. 

In addition, students involved in the arts frequently take field trips to see art in the community, whether it is a visit to the newest exhibit at the Honolulu Academy of Arts or a hike through blossoming guava trees and wild fauna in Tantalus.