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Maui High School Foundation Announces 2021 Hall of Honor Awardees

Top (L to R) Vernon Patao – Class of 1988; Amos Lonokailua -Hewett- Class of 1989; and Troy Keoni Orsono – Class of 2004. Bottom (L to R): Randy Yamanuha – Retired Maui High School Principal and Eugene Kennedy, Retired MHS teacher, registrar, coach.

The Maui High School Foundation’s biggest fundraiser event of the year, the Hall of Honor Awards will be held on Sept. 21, 2021 at the Maui High School’s Izumi “Shine” Matsui Athletic Center. The “hybrid” in-person and live stream 10th Annual Maui High School Hall of Honor Awards Banquet will recognize individuals with ties to Maui High who have made exceptional contributions to our school and community. The 2021 Maui High School Hall of Honor Awardees are:

SILVERSWORD HERITAGE AWARD : an alumnus who is distinguished in life & work

Vernon Patao – Class of 1988

Olympic lifting has taken Maui by storm since two-time United States Olympian champion powerlifter Vernon Patao returned to the sport that took him to Barcelona in 1992  and Atlanta in 1996- a lifetime achievement since his Olympic dream began when he was a fourth grader. Vernon was introduced to Olympic lifting as a youth in Dr. Nelson Yogi’s Kahului garage on Maui. It was there that many of Maui’s most acclaimed weightlifters trained for hours on end.  

After two decades away from competition and heavy lifting, Vernon continues and credits his  family and lifetime mission goal of perpetuating the legacy of “Doc” Yogi.  Vernon returns back at snatching the bar performing cleans and jerks– while coaching and focusing on the wellness and fitness of youth members.  He owns and  operates HI Performance Athletics where they cater to underprivileged youth with open doors (no membership needed).

Along with a stellar resume, Vernon graduated from Maui High School in 1988 is a father of three sons and attended the University of Hawaii @ Manoa.  A veteran fireman of over 25 years at the Maui County Fire Department, he currently serves as a captain. Vernon is also a scratch golfer-a very good golfer.  He will continue to live life to the fullest around family, friends and fitness.

AWARD OF EXCELLENCE: an alumnus who has excelled in their field or profession.

Amos Lonokailua -Hewett- Class of 1989

Amos Lonokailua-Hewett has committed over 25 years of service to the County of Maui as a dedicated Battalion Chief of the Maui County Fire Department. Although retired, Lonokailua-Hewett continues to extend his professional skills and experience in fire administration and emergency management through his company, Waihonoa Emergency & Training Consultants, LLC. 

Often recognized for his dedication to work paired with excellent leadership skills, Lonokailua-Hewett is famously known for being a hometown hero to the residents of Lahaina. In 2018, as many Maui residents braced themselves for the arrival of Hurricane Lane, Lonokailua-Hewett and his crew fought hard against the fires that had burned over 1500 acres of land from Maalaea to Lahaina. 

Outside of his professional work, Amos, a graduate from Maui High Class of 1989  is a husband, father of three children and a Native Hawaiian culture practitioner, a  kumu hula and is fluent in the Hawaiian language. He received a Masters Degree in Public Administration and Bachelors Degrees in Fire Administration and Graphic Design.

SPIRIT OF MAUI AWARD: an alumnus who gave back to the community, who made a difference within the community.

Troy Keoni Orsono – Class of 2004

After graduation from Maui High School, Troy Osorno moved on to complete his Associate of Science Degree in Radiologic Technology from Kapiolani Community College. Since then, he has established a career as a radiologic technologist at Maui Medical Group, Also known as Troy the X-Ray Boy—he takes his passion for radiology outside of the x-ray room.Troy has presented to more than 30 schools on Maui about his job and career pathway since 2013.

For his commitment to educating his community, he was recognized as Maui Economic Opportunity’s Volunteer of the Year.

His reach extends beyond the island as he has done preschool presentations throughout Hawaiʻi state, New York City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Oakland, Portland, Phoenix, San Diego, Sacramento, Seattle, San Francisco, and San Jose—and on an international level in Australia. He also has a platform on YouTube and Instagram to share and educate others about radiology. As a result of these presentations and his mentorships, many of Troy’s former interns have become x-ray technicians themselves. His dedication to education and working with students has helped increase student interest in careers in healthcare. 

INSPIRATION AWARD : (not necessarily alumni) a faculty member past or present who went above-and-beyond and made a difference to the students of the school.

Randy Yamanuha – Retired Maui High School Principal

Randy Yamanuha committed 30 years with DOE, 10 of which was as Maui High School Principal.  He was at the helm during the years that Maui High made huge advancements in STEM education,  Career and Technical Education, Advanced Placement + Open Enrollment, AVID program,  and much more. 

He recruited the committee that created Maui High’s Hall of Honor in October 2011. One of the last things he made sure to do before his retirement in 2012 was to restructure a solid Maui High School Foundation board so that it could help grow community engagement and support for the school. Yamanuha contributed greatly to Maui High’s growth and development during his time here and has thus helped to create the current success and momentum of the school today. 

SABER SPIRIT : (not necessarily an alumnus) an individual who is an unsung hero to the school, possibly volunteered at the school.

Eugene Kennedy, Retired MHS teacher, registrar, coach

Eugene Kennedy began his teaching career in 1972 for a semester at the old Maui High campus in Hamakuapoko. His entire career has been devoted to MHS as a teacher,  registrar and a coach for over 40 years. Over that time period he coached football ’71, ’72, ’73. He also coached Basketball ’82, ’83 and ’84. Coaching track and field from 1995-2016. 

He shares that the true beginning of his career began in 1974 when he began teaching six periods of Freshman English. With successfully building rapport with his students, he blossomed as a teacher and took on the opportunity to also advise the Freshman class. In doing so, he and the class of 1977 established the new tradition of Freshman banquets in order to prepare students to plan their Junior Proms. However, his career did not stop there and went beyond the classroom. Kennedy knowingly and wholeheartedly embraced the challenges that arose– from taking over yearbook publication, learning how to use Macintosh programs, and jumping into the role as registrar. Over the span of seventeen years as registrar, Kennedy has learned how to utilize three different software systems to efficiently manage  student records. 

The Hall of Honor Awards is known for bringing the Saber community together, unifying supporters under its banner of “Celebrating our Legacy, Fostering our Future.”  Although the restricting effects of COVID-19 are retracting, the full-scale awards banquet will be a hybrid of in-person and a livestream on Maui High School’s Youtube channel will be held at the Izumi “Shine” Matsui Athletic Center.  Organizers say broadcasting the event increases its potential reach to thousands upon thousands of Maui High supporters, by taking it virtual and making it freely available to the entire Saber ‘Ohana. 

The Maui High Foundation is calling  upon the community to lend support as a program sponsor or individual donors. The funds  raised through the Hall of Honor allows the Foundation to offer sustained support for student programs, scholarships, campus improvements, community-building events and so much more. More resources, opportunities, and an enhanced learning experience for every Saber is what our sponsors help to provide when partnering with us to carry out the mission of the Foundation.  

For more information, contact event chairs, Edward Garcia: hallofhonor@mauihigh.org, or Sylvia Ho: sho@hawaiiusafcu.com

Original source: https://mauinow.com/2021/07/07/maui-high-school-foundation-announces-2021-hall-of-honor-awardees/

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