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Spring 2011

‘Iolani’s Endowed Chairs: Making a Great School Even Greater
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Spring 2011 - Features

Some Things Never Change

by John Tamanaha ’87

It took only a couple minutes to get comfortable with this new gig. After all, there’s no place like “home.”

Although it has been nearly a quarter century since the last time I was a full-time Hawai‘i resident and daily inhabitant of the ‘Iolani campus, so much has remained the same, making it easy to pick right up where I left off.

In the hours and days that followed, however, it became readily apparent that “home” has developed a great deal. To observe the daily happenings in this kindergarten to twelfth grade wonderland is truly awe inspiring.
It’s people that make ‘Iolani what it is. That has been and always will be the case.

At the beginning of the student spectrum, there always seemed to be something magical going on in kindergarten. At the other end, I was continually captivated by the skills, intellect, ingenuity and leadership of our seniors who will graduate soon. And all the students in between have been equally impressive at their respective levels.

I would keep asking myself: “Is this the same school I attended?”

After a couple weeks, it became clear that this is indeed the same school. The curriculum is deeper with a tantalizing array of options, and the activities available are far more plentiful, but the same air of achievement, sense of pride and collective purpose remain as strong as ever. Most of that lingers not in the various buildings that are still here, but deep within the hearts of the faculty and staff who carry on their dedicated service year after year.

It’s people that make ‘Iolani what it is. That has been and always will be the case.

In this space within future editions of the ‘Iolani School Bulletin, I’ll try to shine light on typically humble people who make this school such a cherished place. As 2011 Keables Chair recipient David Horsey taught us during his two-week residency, there’s a story in every person.

While I’m really looking forward to telling those stories, the primary focus of my job right now is to pave the way for ‘Iolani’s new official website, which is scheduled to debut prior to the 2011-12 school year.

Besides increasing functionality and bringing an elegant form to our online presence, I want to dynamically deliver a bit of ‘Iolani to everybody... every day. Yes, every single day. There’s certainly no shortage of newsworthy things taking place here.

Sometimes the opportunities are obvious and tied to the comprehensive calendars that set the table for each day. But often the true brilliance of our school lies in what some might regard as an everyday occurrence.

Make no mistake, within the new iolani.org, you’ll surely be able to do what you’re accustomed to doing via the current iteration. Our mission is to make it easier to navigate to your desired location, while also being exposed to up-to-the-minute news from all corners of campus.

The overall goal is to create a comprehensive digital community for all of our constituents—students, parents, alumni, donors, friends, faculty and staff—to learn about each other, enjoy, share and discuss. We have a great deal in store for you all.

Websites maintained by educational institutions are usually vital cogs in marketing strategies to attract the best and brightest prospective students. A school such as ‘Iolani, however, doesn’t really need to go out of its way to sell itself. Merely opening a portal through which people can see the student experience here is all the marketing we need.

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John Tamanaha ’87 rejoined ‘Iolani this past January as the school’s Director of Interactive Media. He may be reached at tamanaha@iolani.org .