Barry Obama at Punahou School in Hawai‘i

Today’s Honolulu Star-Bulletin features a fluffy front-page profile of Barack Obama’s time at Punahou School in Hawai‘i.

Long before he became Barack Obama — junior senator from Illinois and presidential candidate — he was just Barry, the good-natured, unassuming kid.

He loved basketball. He loved books. He always wore a smile. He got along with everyone.

He did not come from privilege, but was able to attend the exclusive Punahou School based on his achievement and with the help of financial aid….

“In retrospect, everybody enjoyed having him as a classmate,” said Mitchell Kam, another member of the Punahou Class of 1979.

That is also why many say they were surprised to read about his internal personal struggle, which he detailed in his 1995 memoir, “Dreams from My Father.”

“In this lyrical, unsentimental, and compelling memoir, the son of a black African father and a white American mother searches for a workable meaning to his life as a black American,” the book’s jacket reads.

In it, Obama recalls the experience of his childhood and how he dealt with some discrimination, even in a racially diverse location such as Hawaii….

In an essay for the Punahou Bulletin, published in 1999, two decades after his high school graduation, Obama wrote, “The opportunity that Hawaii offered — to experience a variety of cultures in a climate of mutual respect — became an integral part of my world view, and a basis for the values that I hold most dear.”

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Filed under Hawai'i, U.S.

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