The seal of Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawaii features the hala tree, in part because lauhala, the art of weaving with the leaves of that tree, is pivotal to the history of the island, with everything from houses to pillows being made in this fashion. Local legend tells of an aged Hawaiian couple who lived long ago above the present Punahou campus, and had to travel far for water. They prayed each night for a spring, but to no avail. Finally one night, in a dream answering their prayers, they were told to uproot the stump of an old hala tree. They did as they were told and found a spring of clear, sweet water, which they named Ka Punahou, the New Spring. According to legend, Punahou School's lily pond is fed by this same spring.
President Obama attended Punahou School, one of the finest in the nation.