This Issue

Winter 2011 - Department | Editor’s Note

Editor’s Note

It never fails.

You could be body surfing at Sandy Beach at the crack of dawn, standing in aisle 5 at Pali Longs, or renewing your driver’s license at the Department of Motor Vehicles. (Hope you have lots of time if you’re at the DMV.)
In whatever public place you may happen to be, you will likely bump into someone you know through ‘Iolani.

It may be P.E. teacher Mr. Earl Hedani. (Tell him you can still run a mile under eight minutes.)

It might be the guy who went to the senior prom with that other girl. (Looks like he’s gained weight, hmm?)

It may even be Mr. Bill Lee ’53, retired Dean of Students and legendary school disciplinarian.  (Quick, tuck in your shirt tail!)

O‘ahu is a small island, and chances are high you will bump into someone you know from ‘Iolani. This was especially so during the recent holiday season when many returned home, and the reunions brought back memories of school days and childhood, growing up and lifelong lessons. The person you ran into might be a long-lost friend, acquaintance, former teacher, old flame or just the good-looking girl who sat next to you in English 7. He or she may look older, thinner or more beautiful, but that person will remind you of a special place and time in life.

Likewise, this person may have known you when you were just another student walking the halls of the Ai or Castle buildings. Now, you’re all grown up.

Time flies, but our time at ‘Iolani remains in our hearts and minds always.

A different type of encounter is when you attend a gathering where you’re meeting someone for the first time. You don’t have a history with this person so, eventually, that ice-breaking question rears its head .

“So, uh, where did you graduate from high school?”

“Wow! You must be really smart.”

From what I know, that’s the most common response ‘Iolani graduates hear upon revealing their Raider roots. Yes, our school has, over the last nearly 150 years, built a reputation for graduating smart men and, in the last 30 or so years, smart women. Reason is because it is true. 

At the risk of  boasting, I do profess that ‘Iolani turns out many, many intelligent and talented people. I see this everyday in the alumni I am fortunate enough to know, and in the students who lead active and productive lives while pursuing their various dreams.

Yet ‘Iolani does so much more than turn out smart people. Beneath the surface of academic awards, accolades and college acceptances lies what really makes ‘Iolani graduates special: genuine goodness, unbridled passion, limitless creativity, and well-roundedness that comes from being exposed to a myriad of hands-on, real world experiences.
The ‘Iolani adventure is not only academics. It’s the arts. It’s athletics and One Team. It’s lifelong friendships and wholeheartedly giving back to the community.

The ‘Iolani adventure is not only academics. It’s the arts. It’s athletics and One Team. It’s lifelong friendships and wholeheartedly giving back to the community. It’s being surrounded by teachers who interact with students each day because they love their jobs and care deeply about young people and the future. Through so many opportunities, ‘Iolani students learn to take risks, at times succeeding, at other times failing and growing from the experience of walking through the door when opportunity knocks. We always learn from the experience, often emerging as leaders.

From ‘Iolani’s earliest days, students have been taught to be as humble as underdogs but to pursue dreams like champions. That’s why Father Kenneth A. Bray, founder of the school’s athletic program, likened his football teams in the 1930s, 40s and 50s to small Seabiscuits triumphing over mighty War Admirals. At ‘Iolani, students are encouraged to dream big, to pursue the impossible, to never give up.

There is a depth to ‘Iolani that can’t be expressed in bullet points or over casual conversation at a party. One almost needs to experience ‘Iolani firsthand to truly understand what an exceptional, remarkable and unique place this really is.

I know. I know. I’m preaching to the choir. If you took time to read this you probably already have your own reasons  ‘Iolani holds a special place in your heart.
‘Iolani is not just a school. ‘Iolani is a family and a community  which connects people for life.

‘Iolani is where inquisitive students are challenged academically, athletically and artistically in a dynamic and caring environment. Then, upon graduation, the bond evolves and maintains its hold. ‘Iolani is not just a school. ‘Iolani is a family and a community which connects people for life.

Hey, look over there! I think your old coach is coming this way!

- Cathy Lee Chong