Former Gov. Waihe‘e to Speak at Honoka‘a Baccalaureate Service

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Former Gov. John Waihe‘e will be the special guest speaker at the 66th annual Baccalaureate Service at Honoka‘a Hongwanji Social Hall on Thursday, May 23 at 6 p.m.,

Former Gov. John Waihe‘e will speak at Honoka‘a Baccalaureate Service. Wikimedia Image.

Gov. Waihe‘e was born and raised in Honoka‘a and attended Honoka‘a Elementary and Intermediate Schools from kindergarten through the ninth grade in 1960. The family lived below the present school near the Hawaiian Tel Exchange. He remembers walking up the hill every morning, and having to cross the wide ball field to get to his classroom. Both parents worked for Hawaiian Tel for a time, his mother taught typing at Honoka’a High School, and his father ran a small cattle ranch in Ahualoa. He was also a member of the Boy Scout Troop that was sponsored by the Hongwanji, and remembers meeting in the basement, in the kitchen on Monday nights.

Waihe‘e fondly remembers growing up in Honoka‘a, where he aspired to be a lawyer. “I didn’t think I would be Governor,” he said. “But when we celebrated Statehood in 1959, I remember the whole town was up for celebration. Our Social Studies teacher, Mr. Ura, was telling everybody that we could now become President of the United States… All those years later, I was at the convention when Barack Obama was elected, and I remembered what Mr. Ura said. Finally, someone from Hawai‘i was President.”

The theme of the Baccalaureate Service is “Re-paying it Backward,” an opportunity for students to share stories and express appreciation for the teachers who made a difference in their lives. The public is welcome to attend. In addition, alumni of the classes of 1969 and 1944 will be honored, on the occasion of the 50th and 75th anniversaries of their graduation.


Music will be provided by the New Dharma Band. “Potluck culture” is alive and well in at the Honoka‘a Buddhist temple, and the tradition of sharing food is an important part of any gathering, so bring a dish for the potluck dinner buffet. For questions or to RSVP regarding attendance, participation, or contributions, contact Miles Okumura at [email protected], or call (808) 640-4602,


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