BY HEIDI (FUJII) BOW ’91
AFTER TWO LONG years, the Mid-Pacific Institute Alumni Pā‘ina returned to its full glory on Saturday, July 16, 2022. As the largest alumni gathering of the year, the Alumni Pā’ina brings together alumni, faculty, family and friends to reconnect, meet new friends and celebrate class reunions. With over 350 in attendance this summer, attendees had a blast celebrating with honored guests and enjoyed delicious food from many local food vendors. Mahalo to the hard-working volunteers, awesome vendors, generous donors and Mid-Pacific staff who made this event a huge success.
Fifty guests took part in the campus tours, guided by Kathy Wheeler ’81, Vice President of Institutional Advancement Shannon Cleary, Joan Tanji and Trustee Scott Yoshihara ’96. Tour guides proudly shared how the campus has changed over the years. For those alums returning for the first time since graduation, walking through places such as the Quad, Wilcox Hall, Atherton Hall and Wailele Spring sparked fond memories of meaningful experiences during their time on campus. Many were amazed by the new state-of-the-art buildings such as the Weinberg Technology Plaza, Hartley Math and Science Complex, and the beautiful preschool and elementary campus.
Following the tours, guests gathered in Bakken Auditorium for the formal program. Mid-Pacific Institute Alumni Association’s (MPIAA) president Shane Toguchi ’00, introduced two new board members, Tyler Isono ’98 and Wesley Sato ’00, and presented the 2022-2023 slate of association officers as part of the official general meeting agenda. President Paul Turnbull followed with warm greetings and recent school highlights and thanked guests for their unwavering support of the school.
MPIAA Treasurer Keric Chang ’01 started off the award ceremony by recognizing MW Restaurant’s co-owner and chef Wade Ueoka ’93 as the honored recipient of the 2022 Wa‘ahila Award. This award recognized Wade for his many accomplishments and accolades received in the culinary field, as well as his outstanding service to the Mid-Pacific community.
Keric then presented the MPIAA 2022 Alumnus of the Year award to Kenneth Kobatake ’65 for his exceptional service, a strong sense of support and loyalty, and dedicated efforts toward the improvement of Mid-Pacific Institute. Ken, a former Trustee, continues to champion Mid-Pacific’s learning differences program which has strongly impacted the lives of many students. During his acceptance speech, Ken eloquently voiced his enduring passion for and dedication to his alma mater.
Once the formal program concluded, the festivities moved outdoors, as the sun slid westward and the warm tropical breezes wafted around large tents in the gym parking lot between food stations, the entertainment stage, and seating areas. In celebration of the honored 50th reunion class, David Ueunten ’72 presented a gift check to Dr. Paul Turnbull on behalf of his class, in the impressive amount of $153,249, the largest 50th reunion gift total since the beginning of this tradition! A majority of this gift will go toward the Class of 1972 Endowment Fund to perpetually support scholarships and programs for faculty and students of Mid-Pacific. Congratulations to the Class of 1972 for leading a highly successful fundraising effort and for truly making a difference in the lives of Mid-Pacific students.
Delicious pupu and drinks from a variety of local vendors were enjoyed by all via popular tasting stations. Throughout dinner, guests enjoyed live entertainment under the stars by the talented group Puhi comprised of AJ Kumukoa ’94, Jon Chong ’93, Lopaka, Nate and Carlin.
The Mid-Pacific community is grateful for the generous vendors and donors, including many alumni, who return to the Pā‘ina each year. Thank you to the incredible volunteers of the 2022 Pā‘ina Planning Committee led by the Class of 1998, Mid-Pacific’s staff, and facilities and maintenance crew who contributed to the success of this event.
In the spirit of tradition, each class celebrating their 24th reunion is charged with coordinating the next Alumni Pā‘ina. Next year, the baton will pass to the Class of 1999 who will lead the planning committee for the 2023 Alumni Pā‘ina, to be held on Saturday, July 22, 2023. If you are interested in joining the 2023 committee, please contact us at [email protected]!
Brick Fire Tavern – Matthew Resich ’98
Concept Catering – Keenan Lam ’93
Da Hawaii Cupcake Factory – Tara (Aoyagi) Lumford ’96
Feast by Jon Matsubara
Kapa Hale Restaurant
Katsu Sando 808 – Nani (Hirosane) Hanus ’96
MW Restaurant – Wade Ueoka ’93
Ola Cafe & Diamond Bakery – Christopher Manabe ’87
Zach’s Event Catering – Zach Inouye ’99
Black Book Hawai‘i – Keani (Morita) Alcoran ’07
Puhi – AJ Kumukoa ’94 & Jon Chong ’93
Tent, Tables, and Chairs:
Kado Tents – Donny Kadokawa ’91
UH Sodexo – Marc Nakamoto ’91
Pupu donated by:
Tropic Fish Hawaii LLC – introduced by Tyler Isono ’98
Beer & Wine donated by:
Paradise Beverages – Kevin Shojinaga
(parent of Kodey ’22 & Kyler ’25)
The Class of 1998