Itsue Hino, retired school teacher and member of the Honokaa High and Intermediate School Class of 1938, clowns at the white board as seniors William Hardisty, Shawn Garcia, Serena Offenbacker, Rodel Lacanlale Jr. and Monica Carlos look on. PHOTO BY SARAH ANDERSON | SPECIAL TO NHN
Class of 1938 alumni Florence Botelho, Fujie Matsunami and Itsue Hino were welcomed back to one of their classrooms by members of the Class of 2013. For “Show and Tell” they brought their class photo. (PHOTO BY SARAH ANDERSON | SPECIAL TO NHN)
It had been 75 years since Itsue Hino was in high school, but last week she got scoldings from the principal. While visiting Honokaa High and Intermediate School with two sister members of the Class of 1938, HHIS’ first graduating class, Hino hopped up to sit on a desk top.
“Do you normally sit on tables?” said Principal Glenn Gray, “It’s not allowed.”
With the help of Class of 2013 senior and break dancer Shawn Garcia, who stepped in to offer his arm, Hino demurely slipped into a chair next to classmates Fujie Matsunami and Florence Botelho, to pose for photos, interact with the youth, and even write notes on the white board.
“It’s amazing,” said Gray. “They seem so happy to be back.” He and seven seniors welcomed the ladies in preparation for Honokaa Hongwanji Buddhist Temple’s community baccalaureate celebration May 4 at 5 p.m., with the theme “Repaying It Backwards.”
HHIS opened in 1889, when Honokaa was a bustling plantation town. Three years later, it was the largest school on the island, with 288 students from Honokaa, Kukuihaele, Papaaloa and Haina, up to the eighth grade. Notable alumni include Gov. John Waihee and Lt. Gov. Nelson Doi.
For a 1989 Honolulu Advertiser article about the school’s centennial, Rod Thompson interviewed Hino and other classmates. He wrote, “Hino also remembers the school’s performance of the operetta ‘Yanki San’ in 1936. Minoru Kurata, who was killed in World War II, played the lead. Hino had a minor role, but it was still very exciting because she got to wear a kimono. ‘It was a big thing to be in a play. The school was the whole world for us,’ she said.”
For HHIS’ current graduating class, performance is still a big thing. Gray described the Class of 2013 as “Diverse, talented—whether it’s music, academics, athletics—they are hard-working students. Coming from a small place like HHIS, it takes perseverance to do the things they do: performances at the state capitol, state champs in soccer … We have 127 graduates and we are extremely proud of all of them. Of course we’re very proud of the Class of ‘38 as well,” said Gray.
The 59th Baccalaureate will honor the 75th anniversary of the Class of ’38, and give Class of ’13 members from all schools a chance to publicly thank the teachers who have helped them in their school career, in keeping with the special theme, “Repaying It Backwards.”
“Baccalaureate is an old tradition,” said event organizer Miles Okumura, HHIS teacher and Hongwanji member, “and we were searching for a way to make it more relevant for them in the here and now. So rather than just making speeches ‘to’ them, we are encouraging graduates to speak for themselves—say what they want to say, or submit it in writing and we will read it for them.”
Okumura said that baccalaureate is not just for HHIS, but all public, private and home school students who are graduating this year. Teachers do not need to be present, however students who join the event and submit the best short statements thanking a teacher will receive incentive prizes from Domino’s Pizza or Café Il Mondo, event sponsors. Youth have the option of reading their own thank you statement, or having it presented by the emcee.
In addition to the “Repay It Backwards” presentation, Reverend David Fujimoto of the Puna Hongwanji Buddhist Temple will give a keynote talk and the New Dharma Band will perform. Resident minister Reverend Kosho Yagi will officiate at the Baccalaureate service. Aloha attire is suggested.
The event is free to all and the general public is invited. As dinner will be served after the ceremony, RSVP is requested by calling 775-0388. Inquiries regarding instructions for students, teacher nominations and statements can be sent to email@example.com, as a Facebook message to www.facebook.com/peacedayparade, or via a link at www.peacedayparade.org.