Category Archives: HAWAI`I

Graduation Honors

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One of the highlights of the school year for both students and faculty is graduation. For many of our young people here in Hawai`i, they may be the first person in their family to ever get beyond high school, if that far. It’s a highly emotional time, especially when one of them stands up and tells her or his story of what college has meant to them.

The picture above shows one of the young women who took many classes from me, and actually gave the graduate talk at the ceremony several years ago. Her comment to the audience about how much I had meant to her brought tears to my eyes.

Because we are a University Center, we provide a place for students to get everything from an Associate of Arts degree (through Hawai`i Community College), a Bachelor of Arts degree (through University of Hawai`i West Oahu or University of Hawai`i Hilo), and even a Master of Arts degree. Students may elect to receive a certificate in Human Services, Culinary Arts, Substance Abuse Counseling, or Early Childhood Education. So it’s no wonder our graduation brings “dignitaries” from all the schools.

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So even though we are a small “parking lot” campus at this time, we have a fair number of students passing through our doors (for face to face classes) and computers (for online classes).

Today is the graduation ceremony for 2009. It is with pride that I join other faculty members this afternoon in “walking the line,” as we honor those who are receiving either degrees, or certificates, or both. In true Hawai`ian fashion, everyone gets leis from family and friends, almost up to their eyebrows to the point that they can scarcely breathe or see.

A couple years ago, I received an award for being an outstanding teacher, and I received my own share of sweet-smelling leis, actually more than this picture shows.

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Once, a colleague at the University of Arizona in Tucson said that graduation was like a “death,” because many of the students we’ve been close to for so many years are leaving and we’ll never see them again. He was so right! The nice thing about our graduation here is that most of these are young people who will remain in our community as teachers, counselors, or whatever career they go into.

So now it’s time to put on the “mortar boards” and head out for the 2009 graduation ceremonies.

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Congratulations to all the grads!
Congratulations to all the parents who supported them!
And congratulations to all the faculty who pass the torch of knowledge!

A hui hou!

To Our 44th President!


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There are many reasons why I am anxious to see Barack Obama inaugurated as our 44th President of the United States.

And there are two reasons that stand out strongly for me. One is that he was the Senator from Illinois, the state where I was born, raised, educated through high school. The other is that his background is the state of Hawai`i where I now live and work.

This man eats Spam musubi, as well as fresh ahi (tuna) sushi and sashimi. Not only is he a great speaker and orator, but he can talk and understand Hawai`ian Pidgin. He’s our man, one who knows how to body surf.

Now he will be the man for our country. May we all give him a chance to make changes that are greatly needed. May we all give him our full support, whether we always agree with him or not. It will take time to accomplish the miracles we expect of him.

Welcome, President Obama! Illegitimi non carborundum!


It was December 7, 1941 when my parents showed me the morning paper from St. Louis that told the story of the Pearl Harbor attack.

My memories are probably much different from that of other people who live here in Hawaii, but they are still very strong. I was a 7-year-old in Southern Illinois. My father tried to get into the military as a chaplain, but at 32 years of age, he was considered too old.

His younger brother served, however, first as an enlisted man. He had many stories to tell about frozen feet from marching through the snow, of fighting in the Battle of the Bulge, hiding out in barns, but I won’t go into all of those here. He went back to college and grad school, later became a chaplain in the Army. This later took him to Korea and Viet Nam twice. He stayed in the Army until he retired.

Another of my uncles went into the Navy right out of college as an officer. He served as an officer on a ship that went to China.

The memories of how we lived through those next years will never go away – not for me, and certainly not for the people who were living in Hawaii at the time. Although none of us wanted the tragedy of war, we all pitched in and did our part.

In the spring following the Pearl Harbor attack, rationing was put into place, and lasted until 1945. This site shows pictures of the ration books, and describes other measures that our country took in order to do their part for the war effort.

Each car had a stamp on the window that indicated how much gas he could buy. There were A stamps that allowed the owner to purchase 3 to 4 gallons per week. If someone’s car was essential to the war effort, they got a B stamp and 8 gallons per week. I can still remember the C stamp on our car which meant unlimited gasoline for physicians, ministers, mail carriers, and railroad workers. My father was a pastor, so he was allowed more gasoline. Then there was the T stamp for trucks, and the X stamp for congress members and other VIPs.

Foods like sugar, butter, milk, cheese, eggs, coffee, meat and canned goods were all given a specific stamp value. When the government turned to its citizens to encourage them to plant “Victory Gardens,” nearly 20 million Americans answered the call.

Going through boxes in a recent move, I found some old ration stamps for sugar I had kept. I remember that with a child’s logic, I named our dog “Sugar” because he would get under the house and was “hard to get.” Children, as well as adults, were encouraged to buy stamps for war bonds.

I also found an old book on victory sewing that showed how to make dresses for little girls out of men’s old shirts. I wore many skirts and jackets made out of my father’s worn out suits, even as late as my high school years.

Another fond memory that I still hold is learning how to knit by making little 4″ X 4″ squares that would be put together into blankets. These blankets would be sent to England through a campaign called “Bundles for Britain.” A good friend from the UK was among the children evacuated from London. I often wonder if he got one of my blankets!

Actually, this started before the Pearl Harbor raid in 1940 by a young New York society matron, Mrs. Walls Latham, as a charity for the citizens of England. She began “by organizing her friends to knit garments for British sailors on the frigid North Sea.” They also “collected items such as medicine, clothing and blankets from American citizens and shipped them to Britain.”

Probably one of the most memorable events from that era are the many Victory Gardens that were started, which meant more supplies could be sent to our troops. Read more about the history of Victory Gardens here .

These gardens were “not a drudgery, but a pastime, and a national duty.” A poster campaign (“Plant more in ’44!”) encouraged the planting of Victory Gardens. These are copies of two old posters from that era, but they carry just as valid a message today.

In my raised beds, I am working on my own Victory Garden. As I build more beds, I’ll be able to plant more. Right now, I have tomatoes, string beans, mustard greens, collard greens, red chard, and peanuts, plus I have eggs from my chickens and my freezer has a freshly butchered and frozen pig.

Not only do I encourage you to plant even just a few seeds in a revival of the Victory Garden, but I hope you encourage our president-elect Obama and his family to grow a Victory Garden on the White House lawn. He would not be the first president to do so. Please go to Eat The View and sign a petition asking him to start planting.