Monday, June 11, 2012


Just a few of us attended the chapel service on Sunday morning. Though its the official end of Alumni week, its not easy to sit through the reading of hundreds of names of alumni that have passed on. We heard the names of our grandparents, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, wives, husbands, even our children. As Laureen Kim and Sam Tong read the names of our 34 classmates that have passed on, we stood bravely together and quietly shed our tears.

Thomas Ahsing
Moana Albrechtson
Lee Barrett
Leonard Batungbacal
Padeken Bento
David Carvalho
Gerard Donlin
Lynn Flores
Michaeal Gartrell
Eugenie Guy
Lori Hee
Richard Holloway
Haunani Holt
Wayne Kamahele
Darlene Kanei
Lin Oi Laeha
Edmund Mau
Dana McKeague
Bill McWayne
Frank Montayre
Steven Newhouse
Holly Nishimura
Ted Oliveira
Cookie Parker
Estelle Pele
Arthur Perkins
Donette Plunket
Anthony Shanahan
Kelsey Sindiong
Scott St. Clair
Hualani Wilhelm
Duke Wise
George Young

Aileen Cox Araujo did a an awesome job of creating a poster of pictures of these classmates for our Class Night celebration. (You can see the poster in the picture posted above). The stark reality is that poster will have another 10-12 pictures on it by the time we gather again for our 45th reunion in 2017. Since 2000, we're losing classmates at a rate of about two every year. That's one of the reasons why these reunions are so important. It gives us the opportunity to interact with people who mean something to us and keeps us connected between reunions. Another reminder that life is fragile and brief.

As we start moving through the coming reunions, we're going to start seeing people that have never been to a reunion before. Whatever the reasons they didn't attend in the past are not important now, what's important is they showed up now. One person who showed up this time that's never attended before is Barry Yamada. Several of us had a chance to talk to him and we all got the same response.

"It was one of the most awesome experiences of my life. I didn't think people cared much about whether or not I came, but I couldn't believe how people responded to me. I'll never miss another one," he said.

Our class is unique in that way. As a group we're engaging, inclusive and welcoming and we get better as we get older because start to understand that very few things about our lives are as important as our relationships. As Pastor Elwin Ahu said at Class Night, "it's all about gratitude" and we're all grateful to be part of a loving and close-knit group of people.

Several of our classmates who didn't make the luau have been emailing their thoughts so I'm going to be posting those on this site in the coming days. I'll do the best I can to keep us updated if you'll send me updates. I've decided to go back to posting on the blog because not everyone is on Facebook, so these blogs will appear as a link on Facebook, but anyone can access it regardless of your Facebook status.

It's my pleasure and honor to serve my classmates in this way. And I'll keep doing it until my name is finally read on Sunday.

Mahalo and Aloha to you all


Isaac Akuna said...

Thanks Bennie for doing this. It has helped to keep us engaged and provides that needed element of communication with those who have become as close as family. I do find myself missing the ones we have lost over the years. I wish they could be with us now.

Pat Richardson said...

Mahalo to everyone for all the photos - at least this lolo could experience Alumni Week vicariously. Maybe that's why I was eating so much this weekend, but didn't feel satisfied...needed some good luau!

tommyt said...

I've really enjoyed the photos and videos on Facebook and this blog site. Almost could hear the music on the lanai at the dorm. Thanks to all of you for the posts.

Unknown said...

Just a reminder that Isaac Akuna, with the Hall of Fame Serenaders, will be on Na Lani Eha,tonight 7:30pm on PBS.

Marcie Saquing said...

We have an incredible class. Mahalo to Debbie Lau for being the "glue" that keeps our class together. To Benny for being our "voice" through emails, pictures and social networks. To Ulu and her crew for the BEST class nite ever! (you just raised the bar).
It was heartwarming to see and spend time with everyone, particularly the classmates who we haven't seen in a very long time. What a blessing!
Staying in the dorm was again, a blast from the past - except when I was in Kina Ľu Hale, I did not see Alika Atay coming out of the girl's bathroom as I was walking in! Now that...would have been a treat!
Love you all. Please take good care of yourselves, your `ohana and looking forward to our 60th birthday celebrations!
Me ke aloha,

Marie Q said...

It was a wonderful time and my son Greg thoroughly enjoyed himself! Mahalo to all of my classmates that made him feel welcome! When you're more than half of everyone else's age at an event, it can be a bit overwhelming and every one of you accepted him warmly and helped to make all the difference to him, which helped ME have such a great time!
Mahalo to Deb, Benny, Ulu and crew for all of your hard work. Hope we managed to generate some income for all of the various fund-raisers that were going on!

BTW, Barry Yamada showed up at the Alumni Lu'au in 1987, although we did not really have an 'event' planned. I have the photographic proof somewhere at home and will share it as soon as I can, once we return to Maui!

Aloha to all of you and if any of you should run into other classmates who couldn't join us, please take pictures and post!

*I ran into Manoa McFeeley today at the Wai'anae Post Office!*

Aloha ke Akua ~ a hui hou!

tommyt said...

It's June 2017 and although Benny hasn't been an active blogger, the past sentiments are heartfelt. I just completed a list of class members who have passed away. The total is 42. I've shared this list with Deborah Lau Okamura and Peter Gonsalves. I won't be coming to our 45th reunion, but I will be thinking of all of you this week. Aloha, Tommy Thompson, Binghamton, New York