Most of the girls were in the required uniform most of the time, but the boys preferred to pretend to be rebels. In many schools, students cannot afford to buy a uniform, but at Ponhofi this was mostly a false excuse. The students were generally friendly, polite and well-behaved. They tried incredibly hard, despite their limited exposure to English, so although the teachers did not enforce discipline well, they usually did not have to. Most students came from rural farms, yet they hoped to get a job in a town or city, where the competition for white-collar jobs is stiff.