Vickers and Mink Honored Posthumously in Maui High Hall of Honor
By Wendy Osher
Late Congresswoman Patsy Mink and Maui war hero, Kraig Vickers were among six people honored this week as part of Maui High School’s inaugural Hall of Honor.
The Hall of Honor Banquet, held on Thursday night at the Maui Beach Hotel, kicked off the 40th Anniversary celebration of Maui High School’s Kahului Campus. An estimated 170 guests from both the Hamakuapoko and Kahului campuses were in attendance.
Vickers, who was among 30 service members killed in a military helicopter crash two months ago, was nominated for the Silversword Heritage Award by his brother, and fellow MHS Alumni, Mark Vickers.
Kraig Vickers, who graduated from MHS in 1992, was recognized posthumously for his distinguished life and work.
Vickers, who served as an Explosive Ordinance Disposal Technician with the US Navy, was a member of one of the most elite tactical units in the world.
During his service, he earned numerous military honors including two Purple Hearts and four Bronze Star Medals with Valor.
Outside of work, Vickers was described as a loving and dedicated family man who devoted himself to God, his family, and his country.
Posthumous honors were also bestowed upon the late Congresswoman Patsy Takemoto Mink who graduated from MHS in 1944.
Mink, who served in the US Congress from 1965 to 1976 and again from 1990-2002, was honored with the MHS Award of Excellence for excelling in her profession.
She is recognized as the first woman of color elected to the US House of Representatives, shepherding the passage of Title IX in 1972 to promote educational equality for women. Her work included advocacy for civil rights, women’s rights, economic justice, peace, and the integrity of the democratic process.
Since her passing in 2002, MHS has dedicated a softball field in her honor at the Kahului campus, and the Old Maui High School is currently developing an educational center in her honor.
Mink was nominated by her cousin Ruth Okazaki Mukai, Class of 1947.
Also honored was MHS science teacher Ed Ginoza, who retired in 2000, after 28 years of service. Ginoza took home the MHS Inspiration Award for going above and beyond to make a difference to students.
Ginoza began his employment at Maui High School in 1972, teaching physical science, chemistry and physics. He also served as the science club advisor and helped students to build the first ever solar powered car in the State of Hawaii. Since 1993 he has been coaching students in the annual Science Bowl and Ocean Science Bowl competition, leading teams to four state championships.
Even after retirement, Ginioza continued to contribute his time by advising and tutoring students, preparing them for competitions and writing letters of recommendation.
He was nominated for the honor by Linda Monden, an MHS alumni from the class 1982.
Honored with the MHS Spirit of Maui Award was 1959 MHS graduate, Donald Takaki, who is the chairman and CEO of Island Movers.
Takaki was nominated by Maui High School Counselor, Tad Iwata for giving back and making a difference in the community.
Takaki’s family business has grown into Hawaii’s largest transportation service company, ranked among the top 250 companies in the state. Takaki also served as a former board member of Hawaiian Airlines, director of Bank of Hawaii since 1990, and chair of the Hawaii Visitors & Conventions Bureau from 2004 to 2006.
Earlier this year, Governor Neil Abercrombie declared March31, 2011 “Donald Takaki Day” for his admirable work and commendable support of education and athletics.
The final award, the MHS Saber Spirit Award, was issued two people: Barbara Long and Jan Dapitan.
The two women, although not alumni themselves, are credited with leading the charge in efforts to restore the Hamakuapoko campus.
The “unsung heroes” dedicated more than eight years towards the restoration effort. The campus now includes an archive room with historic yearbooks, photos, maps and memorabilia. The facility is now used as a venue for class reunions, and gets frequent visits from senior groups and students.
Long and Dapitan were nominated by MHS 1947 graduate, Ruth Okazaki Mukai.
“We are so very pleased with the first-ever Hall of Honor Banquet,” said event organizer Carol Reimann.
“The event successfully brought together alumni from each and every decade starting in 1930 all the way to the 2000s; honored some truly amazing individuals and raised funds for the MHS Foundation,” said Reimann.
Proceeds from the Hall of Honor Banquet went to the MHS Foundation, and will be used toward the grand centennial celebration of Maui High School in 2013.
The 40th anniversary celebration continues with the MHS Homecoming Game tonight and an MHS Golf Tournament on Sunday, October 23 at the Waiehu Golf Course.