by Rosita Viduya Hueu
Growing up on Lana’i was a unique experience that has shaped how we as Lanaians feel about each other, our school, and the community. The spirit of being a Lanaian evokes a deep sense of aloha we have for one another. It strengthens friendships that have endured for generations.
It was this sentiment that spurred Thomas Roy Nunotani better known as Tommy in making a difference and giving back to the Lana’i community. In the 1980’s, with support from several Lanaians and his classmates (Class of 1952), he launched a relentless drive in organizing the Lana’i Alumni Association. Up to 1993, he spearheaded social events known as The Lanai Connection, chaired the celebration of Lanai and Elementary School’s 50th anniversary, and the Lanai Community Reunion. Those were the times for Lanaians to get together, rekindle friendships, and reminisce. Tommy was the catalyst in soliciting donations to be awarded as scholarships to Lanai High School seniors.
Tommy died January 11, 1995. Four months later, on May 21, 1995 one hundred Lanaians got together for brunch at the Officers’ Club at Hickam Air Force Base to elect officers and directors. Robert Kinoshita emerged as the first LACA president. Lana’i Alumni and Community Association evolved from the Lana’i Alumni Association.
LACA has existed for 14 years. I have had the privilege of being the president for 7 years. My presidential term ends on May 31. I hope I have served with humility and to your satisfaction. With your best interest in mind, the board of directors and past presidents: Robert Kinoshita (’95-’97), Randy Sanches (’97-’99), Tina Mendes (’99-’01), and Joann Zukeran (’05-’06), have sustained LACA as a viable and worthwhile organization.
We are indebted to the “pioneers” who have passed on but impacted our association with a solid foundation. Gone but not forgotten are Helen Fujie, 1980’s Lana’i Liaison, Kiyoshi Mana Minami who drafted the Bylaws and established the framework for the Awards and Grants for Lana’i High and Elementary School, and deceased members/class representatives who were instrumental in organizing events.
Deep appreciation and mahalo nui loa go to the various network coordinators for their input and invaluable services throughout the years:
- Maui Lanai Connection: Nani Watanabe, Gloria Reyes, Bill Ruidas and MLC members
- California LACA Connection: Sally Cadiente, Caroline Asuncion, Irene Seawright, Carol Voss, and committee members
- Las Vegas LACA Connection: Joy Enfield, Jocelyn Celcer, Ted Perez, Doreen Burnham
- Non Lanaians residing in Las Vegas: Vance Cannon of Vegas Vance Tours, Jeff Whaley, photographer
- Northwest LACA Connection (dissolved) : Dwight Obado (relocated), posthumous recognition to Jane Thornburg
- Entertainment participants for LACA events from Lana’i, Maui, Oahu, California, New Mexico, Las Vegas
A heartfelt thank you:
- to all LACA members for your interest, concern, and support
- to donors to the Public Schools of Hawaii Foundation and to Judy Nagasako and Rex Akutagawa who administrate our account and disburse funds for scholarships, awards and grants
- to the generous donors to LACA whose donations defray operational expenses
- to Lana’i Retailers (i.e. Wallace Tamashiro of Richard’s Shopping Center who could be counted on for last minute grocery/storing accommodations.)
- to non Lanaians: Donna Shiroma Nakasue, webmaster, Joan Yamanaka, database
- to Robert Kinoshita, LACA’s Benefactor, for designating the LACA Hawaii building at 1064 Sand Island Parkway as “Home for the Lana’i Alumni and Community Association” which provides a fellowship sanctuary that gives us a sense of belonging.
My love and gratitude go to my husband Jacob Hueu who has been my tower of strength and to my family and relatives who have assisted and uplifted me through this incredible journey.
Please continue to wholeheartedly support the incoming administration and board of directors. The future of LACA rests with you. With much aloha, I wish you a life filled with God’s graces and pray for your continued devotion and loyalty to our alma mater and our beloved hometown, Lana’i.
(Download the full April 2009 Newsletter – PDF)