5 Maui High alumni spanning nine decades inducted into Hall of Honor
Maui High inducted five alumni — who have left their mark on the school and the Maui County community over nine decades — into its Hall of Honor.
They are: state Sen. Gil Keith-Agaran (Class of 1980), former Managing Editor of The Maui News Earl Tanaka (1939), retired longtime head custodian Lynette Ducosin (1979), community volunteer Yaemi Yogi (1943) and robotics teacher Keith Imada (1982).
The were honored last week at the 11th annual awards banquet, which was attended by more than 260 people at the Maui Beach Hotel in Kahului.
The banquet also serves as a major fundraiser for the Maui High School Foundation. Through donations, sponsorships, commemorative booklet ads, ticket sales and silent auction proceeds, this year’s event netted more than $37,000 for scholarships and grants for school activities.
“This was our most successful year to date in terms of raising funds to support the work of the Foundation,” said Maui High Principal Jamie Yap, who also has been President of the foundation since 2017. “The event is set in our homecoming week so it draws our alumni back, as well as retired faculty and staff, and it turns into a fun reunion that the Saber family can look forward to.
“On top of that, we learn and honor amazing stories of different people, who help to make our school and community great. Each year we are united and inspired. It’s a very special event.”
Hale Mahaolu Executive Director Grant Chun, Class of 1979 and member of the Hall of Honor, presented the Award of Excellence to Keith-Agaran, who represents the 5th District of Central Maui. The award is presented to an alumnus who has excelled in his/her field or profession.
A lawyer with the firm of Takitani Agaran Jorgensen, Keith-Agaran has served as director of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources and state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, as well as director of the county Department of Public Works and Environmental Management.
In 2009, he was named to replace the late Bob Nakasone in the state House of Representatives and was elected in 2010 and 2012. He was named to the state Senate when Shan Tsutsui (Class of 1989 and Hall of Honor member) became lieutenant governor. He was elected to the Senate in 2014, 2016 and 2020.
Tanaka earned the Silversword Heritage Award, presented to an alumnus who is distinguished in life and work.
For most of six decades from 1936 to 1987, Tanaka wrote and edited stories at The Maui News, beginning as a stringer, then sports/news reporter and working his way up to Sports Editor, News Editor and the paper’s first Managing Editor. He also was one of the first Japanese-American journalists on Maui.
He interrupted his budding journalism career to join the Army at age 19 and served with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team 522nd Field Artillery Battalion. He served for nearly 250 in combat in Italy, France and Germany, earning a Bronze Star.
Charlene Doi, daughter of Tanaka, accepted the award for her father. Former Mayor Alan Arakawa (Class of 1969 and Hall of Honor member) presented the award.
Ducosin was named the Saber Spirit Award recipient, an award presented to an unsung hero to the school. She retired as head custodian in 2018 with nearly two decades at the school.
She gained a reputation of doing her job well, helping out the school beyond her regular duties and volunteering when needed. She served as a high jump official, worked concessions and prepared and repaired fields and venues on weekends for sports events.
In addition, Ducosin was a reliable resource for students, teachers and staff. She helped make connections for event planning and other school needs.
Former coach, registrar and teacher Eugene Kennedy, Hall of Honor member, presented the award to Ducosin.
Yogi received the Spirit of Maui Award, presented to an alumnus who has significantly contributed to the community.
At 96, Yogi continues to volunteer in the main office of Maui Adult Day Care Centers, a position she’s held for nearly two decades, and with the Kaunoa congregate meal program and Hale Mahaolu. In 2017, she was named Maui County Outstanding Older American.
In her 80s, she embarked on completing a bucket list, which included parasailing, riding a motorcycle and getting a tattoo. The list has been completed.
Yogi retired from Maui Land & Pineapple Co. and was active in the PTA and band boosters and a second mom to boys in her husband’s Olympic weightlifting program.
The most successful member of Dr. Masayoshi Nelson Yogi’s weightlifting program, Vernon Patao, Class of 1988 and Hall of Honor member, presented the award to Yogi. Patao was trained by Yogi’s late husband to become an Olympic weightlifter.
Imada, industrial/engineering teacher, captured the Inspiration Award, presented to a faculty member who went above and beyond and made a difference to the students.
A teacher at his alma mater for 28 years, Imada founded the Maui High Robotics Blue Thunder program, which has captured state titles and competed in four international robotics competitions, most recently this year. In 2018 he was named a Woodie Flowers Finalist, an award presented to an inspirational robotics mentor.
In addition to teaching AP physics, Imada also has assisted students in the Science Fair, some of whom have gone to the International Science Fair, Science Bowl and StemWorks.
His mentor and teacher, Edwin Ginoza, Hall of Honor member, presented the award to Imada.
The Hall of Honor selection committee included Maui High School alumni, faculty members, students and members of the local community.
Nominations for the school’s Hall of Honor are accepted year-round. More information can be found on the Foundation’s website at www.mauihighschoolfoundation.com.