Finally, we are back on the internet with photos and a write-up of our highly successful Golden Reunion for our Roosevelt Class of ’64, held this past September for a one-week celebration. We apologize for the delay, but now cannot miss the opportunity to share a recap of the wonderful week with participants who came to the event and also to our classmates who could not attend.
Chaired by Yours Truly, the Reunion Committee planned an ambitious array of activities in large and small venues to give classmates numerous opportunities to socialize and reunite. Of course, our 50th Reunion started in Las Vegas with a wonderful 5 days of celebration, thanks to the thorough planning of Roy Michinaka and Dickie Lum and their hard-working committee. It was an auspicious start for our September celebration. And what a celebration it was! Thanks to Dale Ho and especially Leila Fong Naka’s research and organization, we gave classmates 13 different field trips and get-togethers. Eric Teragawachi organized the golf tournament and Wes Kitamura and Eloise Kekona Lurito the School Visit. Godfrey Maeshiro and Beverly Javier Tachibana did an outstanding job with our culminating conclusion with the luau at the Japanese Cultural Center. In addition, when the golf tournament tee times were changed last-minute and the golf banquet had to be canceled, our committee quickly organized a replacement get-together hosted by Wes Kitamura at his condo’s meeting room. Liana Lau Benn’s and Sandy Iwami Kasaoka’s efforts at seeking donations for our class gift resulted in $23,464.00 in donations! Ten thousand dollars of these monies were used for scholarships for 2014 Roosevelt seniors and a contribution to the Class of 2014’s non-alcoholic Project Graduation. (See another link for the list of our generous donors.) Mel Imai and Ellen Kawasaki Imai and Kerry Kohashi took charge of our logo shirts, available in three different designs. A special memorative yearbook, Olden Days, Golden Days was chaired by Marcia Ikeda Horiuchi. Behind-the-scenes work by Lynette Uyechi Inouye for the massive class list database, Les Tanaka for Finances, Registration and web site, and Phil Leong for our Roosevelt Facebook page rounded out the competent and committed committee. Other members of our Steering Committee were Leilani Adams Maguire, Maude Kato, and Glen Yoshiura. We started the planning process in 2011 and became a cohesive group
The reunion week numbers attending were outstanding and set a record for any of our previous reunions. Thirty three classmates came from the mainland and as far away as Australia (Geraldine Britten Gentle) and with their spouses and guests, increased our non-Hawaii contingent to 54. Most classmates, of course, came from the west coast—Sheryl Marcotte Souza vowed to organize a California reunion group when she met up with so many classmates living there: Mike Kusuno, Bob Jetland, Alison Furuta Treanor, Ralph Suda, Lynette Uyechi Inouye, Judi Fix Chun, Wayne Lake, Rodney Fujii, Ken Takemoto, Gary Aka, Paul Standal, Christine Wong Goias, Terry Odo, Barbara Benz Curlette and Mary Ellen Kaneko Chafey. (Mary Ellen, incidentally, left Roosevelt in her Sophomore year but because she was in the Lincoln/Stevenson/Roosevelt connection for so many years, still connects to Roosevelt than her California alma mater.) But classmates came as far as Arizona (Susan Shiraki Hoe), New Jersey (Phil Leong), Tennessee (Bill and Jennifer Dennis Crosland), and Georgia (David Huckabay) and Susan Payne Clarke from Virginia. Other mainland classmates included Susan Texeira Nicholson, Gina Simpson Li, Pam Seki Goff , Bonnie Miretti McGowan, and Peggy Yamasaki Cha all from Colorado; Reid Kimoto and Bobby Lum from Las Vegas; and finally, the Pacific Northwest was well-represented by Grant Lau, Warner Wong and Sylvia Sawai Schaefer. In addition, Mary Miho Finley, William Funn and Nalani Judd Funn, Lolita Johnston Spencer, and Steve Hirakami flew over from the neighbor islands. Attendance at the field trips and school visit ranged from 11 to 70 and our culminating luau broke records with 203 classmates and guests attending. In all, over 690 classmates and guests attended the different activities.
Our week started with Monday’s activities of a visit to Pacific Aviation Museum (led by Dale Ho), a special Pearl Harbor cruise, and our kick-off social at Kakaako Kitchen. Those who attended the cruise, which started and ran late, raced over to Kakaako Kitchen to be greeted with delicious hot pupus and BYOBeverages and familiar faces, some whom we hadn’t seen for 50 years. It was a combination of mainlanders (many listed above) and locals (Gregory Oi, Alan Ing, Winifred Kaya Iida, Al Tomonari, Inez Azama Kaneshiro, Maude Kato, Suzanne Lee Wong, Barbara Miller Elm with her husband Joe, Estelle Hoshino Oshiro, Howena Hiu Reinker Gregory Shoda and Dawn Matsuo Robinson). and attendees enjoyed the opportunity to hold small conversations in the outdoor venue. The buzz of conversation went non-stop before we had to end the evening and prepare for the rest of the week’s events. Thank you to Leila Fong Naka for creating, organizing, and seeing through the successful event.
The next morning, almost 25 of us woke up before sunrise to attend the Honolulu Fish Market Auction and learn about our fishing industry, then ventured over to Nico’s for breakfast with 20 other classmates who slept in. At Nico’s Mary Ellen Kaneko Chafey astonished classmates when she brought photo albums containing pics of us who attended Lincoln and Stevenson. Classmates found it difficult to pull themselves away from reminiscing, re-uniting and finding out what we have been doing for the past fifty years and the breakfast moved almost into the lunch hour! Some of the enthusiastic attendees included Lorene Suzuki Fujimoto, Richard Keopuhiwa, Sharon Young Oshiro, Gregory Shoda, Sheila Tom Sugano, Jeff Wataoka, and Stefan Yoshioka.
Venues like the Polynesian Cultural Center, State Art Museum, and Iolani Palace appealed to both locals and mainlanders so gave multiple opportunities to reminisce and reunion. The “gang” of Emelyn Harada Uesato, Darlene Takahashi Mizota, and Inez Mizobe Nakamura, and their loyal buddies Lona Ohta and Karen San Juan (Roosevelt alumnae from other classes) took advantage of many of the outings since we locals don’t always go to tourist sites unless given an opportunity like reunion week! A fun and educational event was sloshing through a few inches of water through the Waihe`e tunnel to learn how the Board of Water Supply collects the water that accumulates between the dikes for drinking water. The Makapu`u Lighthouse hike appealed to both locals and out-of-towners and some continued the night at the impromptu get-together at the Banyan Tree Plaza condominium, where we enjoyed local food catered in from A Place to Eat. While there, host Wes Kitamura went upstairs for his old Roosevelt yearbook and got classmates to sign it fifty years later. Susan Payne Clarke showed on her IPhone how she prepared for the reunion by taking and storing photos of the entire Senior Section of the yearbook! Throughout the week, our hard-working photographer Mel Imai went to almost every function to record the week’s happenings and we are rewarded with a sampling of hundreds of photos he took that week. Thanks, Mel!
Thursday was the Roosevelt campus visit. Sixty-five classmates signed up for the event and were all on campus before 9 AM. We met on the Senior Patio, which was the first nostalgic stop. We divided into groups and were taken on a tour of the campus by students, who had devised questions about Roosevelt that tested our memories. Winners received Roosevelt memorabilia like pencils and pens, which could also be purchased at the Roosevelt store—something new for many of us who had not stepped foot on the campus for 50 years. Besides familiar stops around the buildings, we were treated to the newly renovated athletic field and Carter Auditorium. Other classmates who took advantage of our nostalgic visit were Naomi Moses Ahana, Brenda Lee Chang, Richard Farias, Ruth Kaneakua, Lorinda Tano Koga, Carolyn Inouye Modomo, Nelson Nagaue, Beverly Saito Ramsey, Claire Sato, Gary Shimabukuro, LorraineKong Tokuda and Michele Lum Young. Although classmate Randy Fishel is wheel-chaired bound, he was able to get an extensive tour, thanks to the Student Activities teacher who personally wheeled him around campus. We cooled off in the now air-conditioned auditorium, then picked up our cafeteria lunch (not much changed there, except for the price!) and returned to the Senior Patio. Co-Chair Eloise Kekona did a lucky number draw and treated the group to age-appropriate prizes such as Pepto-Bismo, Aleeve, and Metamucil. Many voiced satisfaction and seeing old haunts and new improvements to our alma mater.
But the highlight of the reunion week was the Saturday luau at the Japanese Cultural Center. The patio of the Center was abuzz with classmates registering and receiving the packaged favors organized by Alison Furuta Treanor (who was a long-distance reunion member, doing her work from California) with favor bags contributed by Sheila Tom Sugano’s company Great Lines. In the bag for classmates was a nostalgic CD of our time in the 60s—and for the guests, home-made cookies baked by Sandy Iwami Kasaoka. If they ordered one, classmates moved on to pick up their yearbooks. The final product was a labor of love by the Yearbook committee. Classmates who contributed to the yearbook had their 1964 photo along with a current one and tidbids of their current life. But there were also numerous pages of memorabilia, life in the 60s, photos and write-ups of previous reunions, memorial to our deceased classmates, and much more. A great Mahalo to Marcia Ikeda Horiuchi and her committee for this wonderful keepsake. Many thought they would receive a pamphlet and were pleasantly surprised to receive a hundred-page ring-bound souvenir.
Classmates then entered the Grand Ballroom to be greeted with the beautiful Hawaiian-themed centerpieces of mini-palm trees, which were works of art. They were efficiently and painstakingly assembled by the decorations committee of Avis Orso Makalii, Winona Hussey Fuller, and Orson Enos’ sister Ipo (class of ’66), who was a stalwart member of the Luau Committee in place of Orson, recovering from hip surgery. There were also poster boards of Rough Rider articles, Class Day hoss election photos, a photocopied page of the Roosevelt Handbook (remember receiving that as students?), and other items that recalled our days in school. The poster was created by Liana Lau Benn from Leilani Adams Maguire’s treasure chest of Roosevelt memorabilia that she has kept all these years. The committee planned an hour-long cocktail hour so classmates could work the room and meet up with more classmates missed during the week.
All were told to get there promptly so that a class photo could be taken. It was great fun trying to fit so many of us in a planned 8 x 10. Just as the photographer was ready to click, Paul Standal, who raced back to his hotel to retrieve his name tag, inched into the photo just in time. After a blessing by Orson Enos, an onolicious Hawaiian dinner was prepared by Marion’s Catering and relished by everyone. Chairs Godfrey Maeshiro and Bev Javier Tachibana and their luau committee planned a full program, which began with a slide show memorial to honor classmates who are no longer with us. Working hard to commemorate these classmates were Leilani Adams Maguire, who worked to the twelfth hour of the deadline to make sure that info was included on as many classmates as possible for the yearbook and the slide presentation, which was created by Liana Lau Benn. Many wiped a tear after the moving presentation. The slide show segued to a touching and beautiful hula “Ku`u Ipo O Ke Aumoe” in their honor by Bev Javier Tachibana.
The rest of the evening was purposely filled with entertainment by our own classmates, and capably emceed by Charlie Spencer and Marcia Ikeda Horiuchi. It included a ballroom dance demo by Elyssa Leong Oleole and her husband Allan, followed by a hula lesson number by Francine Kekahuna Aarona, Nalani Judd, Haroldine DuPont Cifelli, Lolita Johnston Spencer and June Kalohi Nasau. The Las Vegas committee tried reprising the popular audience-participation rendition of the Macarena but perhaps the group needed more instruction time! We all did much better with “YMCA.”
Charlie then called up all the Roosevelt athletes and besides football players (William Crosland, Orson Enos, Reid Kimoto, Warner Wong, Richard Keopuhiwa, Stefan Yoshioka), other sports of tennis, swimming, rifle team, golf were also represented by Liana Lau Benn, Lolita Johston Spencer, Phil Leong, Clifton Chee, Richard Farias, Alan Sue, Randall Ching, Terry Odo). Charlie figured that especially the football team never got to really participate in the “Hey Venus” song that was sung to them so he required that THEY sing the song while our songleader Sheryl Marcott Souza led the music and cheerleaders Darryl Choy, Michael Kusuno and David Sugino stood by to give their cheer. The audience responded by waving their hands to the music, just like the old days.
But the highlight of the evening’s program was Charlie’s rendition of “Emotions,” with impromptu background accompaniment by Double Triple Trio members Bev Javier Tachibana, June Kalohei Nasau, Gloria Jean Ching Lai Hipp, and Avis Orso Makalii. Although unrehearsed, Charlie was smooth and pitch-perfect and the back-up not only sang with perfection but had all the moves. It was so professional that we wished we had videoed it.
In between the numbers, trivia questions honoring classmates were announced. Phil Leong from New Jersey and Geraldine Britten from Australia were recognized as coming the farthest nationally and internationally. Susan Lake was honored as having attended EVERY reunion. They were awarded with beautiful ribbon lei in Roosevelt colors hand-made and contributed by classmate Penny Kim. Because of limited time, we ran out of time did not get to honor classmates who married and are still married. We apologize for not recognizing Bill and Jennifer Dennis Crosland, Nalani and William Judd, and Mel and Ellen Kawasaki Imai.
A final honor was given to Avis Orso Makalii, who gave the most generous donation of $1,000 toward our class gift. She was given a Roosevelt Nike shirt and hat for her outstanding contribution. Recognizing her brought on an anonymous classmate donor who pledged a matching gift up to $5,000 for classmates who pledged further contributions toward our class gift. These additional pledges will allow us to award even more scholarships to Roosevelt Class of 2015 seniors. Since we are posting the listing of donors, we can now announce the “anonymous” donor as Grant Lau. Thanks, Grant, for your loyalty and generosity. We raised a total of $23,464. Frantastic!
The evening ended all too soon. Thank you’s by Bev for the evening and Laurie Yap Wong for the entire Reunion week signaled the end of the entire Reunion Week. And the singing of our alma mater and Hawaii Aloha signaled the end of the evening and week but hopefully, not for the rest of our reunions.
Plans for our 70th birthday in Las Vegas are already underway. Roy Michinaka and Adele Marie Geolina have already sent out a mass email advertising it. There will be NO postal mailings so if you are not on our email list, then please email Glen Yoshiura at firstname.lastname@example.org and give him your information.
After our 70th birthday, there are no definite plans for future reunions, as our 50th reunion committee has pretty much burned out from all the planning and execution of our biggie! So we are looking for fresh faces and energy to plan the 55th reunion. It certainly is not expected to be as big an event as this last one. A one-night celebration is all that is needed. If you are willing to step up and chair or just be involved, please email me at email@example.com.
Thank you for being a part of this special event. It has resulted in renewing old friendships, making new friends, and appreciating the wonderful past we have shared together. Let’s keep the ohana alive!