HCC Celebrates 90 Years Of Education
It’s Feb. 2, 1920. You’re one of 42 students stepping onto what is currently known as the Territorial Trade School’s campus for the first time - the first class ever to roam the halls of this brand new institution on Oahu. The paint is fresh, the books are crlean and it’s a great day for learning.
Fast forward. It’s April 22, 2010, and time to celebrate what has come to be known as Honolulu Community College’s 90th birthday. Where are you?
At the celebration, that’s where! The gala will be held at the Dole Cannery Ballroom April 22, 5 to 9 p.m. The college will honor 26 of its distinguished alumni from over the years who are leaders in their respective industries and got their start at HCC. A year in the making, a book filled with interviews, stories and photos compiled and designed by faculty and staff will be published and presented to all attendees of the dinner.
“Honolulu Community College has been servicing the community for 90 years - not just through educating individuals - but, more importantly, building an infrastructure of an educated work force that contributes to the community’s success,” says Michael T. Rota, HCC chancellor. “On April 22 we will celebrate how Honolulu Community College has made an impact in their lives.”
The celebration features HCC’s “best of the best,” including honorees such as Kevin Hughes (‘92-‘93), a member of the World Wide Web Hall of Fame who was among the pioneers who helped develop the Web into what it is today; Danene Manuheali’i Lun (AS Fashion Technology ‘86), owner of Manuheali’i Inc.; and Attilio K. Leonardi (AS Fire Science ‘72; BS BYU Hawaii ‘71; MA UH Manoa ‘94) who, from 1998 to 2006, was chief of the Honolulu Fire Department. Guy T. Shibayama (Apprentice ‘68; AS Applied Trades ‘91; BEd UH-Manoa ‘91; MEd UH-Manoa ‘98), professor and apprenticeship coordinator for HCC’s downtown campus and the oldest honoree to be featured for the evening, also will be present.
“I never thought that, well, I mean, I don’t know how to toot my own horn,” says Shibayama when asked how it feels to be recognized for his achievements.
“It was a real honor that somebody thought that I would make a good candidate for this distinguished alumni bit. To me, going to school and working hard just was common sense. I remember, I once read a quote by Sidney Poitier (who, coincidentally shares the same birthday as HCC, just seven years later), and a reporter asked him what it took for him to be this award-wining actor. Poitier said, ‘I just want to feed my family.’ That’s how I felt - I worked hard and went to school to ensure that my kids would also get a good education and have a good lifestyle, and I think I achieved that.
“I’ve done a lot in my life,” Shibayama adds. “It’s what you want to make of yourself that gets you through the industry. The idea that my apprenticeship that I started in ‘63 was able to take me from a janitor cleaning toilets in a sheet metal shop to becoming a trainer for the whole state as far as unionized sheet metal workers go, it’s just amazing. You just gotta keep plugging away.”
The evening will also include a silent auction with items such as hand-carved koa boxes, artwork, ukuleles, surf boards and more; a lavish Hawaiian luau-style buffet and entertainment by the faculty and members of MELE (Music Enterprise Learning Experience), a program that began in 2008 to promote Hawaii grassroots talent in the music industry.
Originally known as the Territorial Trade School in Palama, the school subsequently became part of McKinley High School and was later reestablished as Honolulu Vocational School. In 1955, it was renamed Honolulu Technical School, and in 1965, it became part of the University of Hawaii as a result of the Community College Act of 1964. The legislation transferred technical schools from the Department of Education and provided for a system of comprehensive community colleges in the state. In 1966, the UH
Board of Regents approved the name “Honolulu Community College” and authorized the institution to grant Associate in Arts and Associate in Science degrees.
Today, HCC offers a comprehensive liberal arts program and more than 26 majors, trade and other specialty programs, some unique only to the college, including MELE, Fire and Environmental Emergency Response, Small Vessel Fabrication and Repair, Aeronautics and Maintenance Technology and Diesel Mechanics Technology.
“The 90th anniversary is a time of reflection - to not only reflect on the past, but to look strategically to the future,” says Billie Takaki Lueder, marketing and communications representative for HCC and coordinator for the event. “It’s kind of an odd year, but we joke that this is practice for our centennial.
“We can only hope and expect that our college continues to grow and expand,” Takaki Lueder adds, “producing new professionals each year who will someday change the world we live in as these honorees have.”
Tickets cost $50 and can be reserved by filling out an online form at www.honolulu.hawaii.edu.
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