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UH Hilo's first M.Ed. candidates highlight fall commencement

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Date: Friday, December 6, 2002
Contact: Haunani Bernardino, (808) 974-7705

For Immediate Release

UH Hilo Assistant Professor Larry Lindsey Kimura

This fall's commencement ceremony marks another important chapter in the University of Hawai`i at Hilo's history with the awarding of the first Masters in Education degrees. A total of 13 M.Ed. candidates are eligible for the degree, after having completed the two-year and one semester program of study in concert with cohort members from various public and private schools and Hawai`i Community College.

Fall commencement will be held on Saturday, December 21 beginning at 9 a.m. in the UH Hilo New Gym. A total of 217 students representing the College of Arts and Sciences (196), College of Agriculture, Forestry & Natural Resource Management (13), and Ka Haka `Ula O Ke`elikolani College of Hawaiian Language (8) are candidates for degrees. A ticket is required for admittance.

"This is a really big accomplishment for our students and the community," said Dr. Alice Kawakami, associate professor and co-chair of education. "The community and the University worked for more than a decade to make it possible for this group of educators to earn their M.Ed. at home in Hilo. Thankfully we had the will to persist."

The program includes 15 classes for a total of 33 credits and a masters project, which provides students with an opportunity to conduct an inquiry into an educational question that will enable them to improve the quality of their professional work.

"Full-time teachers have made a commitment to their own professional growth in the interest of improving their teaching, and ultimately, the learning
of students in the classroom," Kawakami said. "As this first group of M.Ed. cohort graduates, we are grateful for the many individuals, who through their patience and support, made this possible."

Ka Haka `Ula O Ke`elikolani College of Hawaiian Language adds to its milestone set this past spring semester with the graduation of its second master's candidate, UH Hilo's Assistant Professor of Hawaiian/Hawaiian Studies Larry Lindsey Kimura.

Few people outside of the Hawaiian-speaking community know of Kimura's innumerable contributions to the revitalization of the Hawaiian language. Years before he helped to establish the first Punana Leo, he was teaching a fleet of students at UH Manoa, many of whom eventually became university faculty on Hawai`i, Maui, O`ahu and Kaua`i. In addition, Kimura was preserving oral history through interviews of native-speaking kupuna about life in the late 1800s and 1900s. Most of these kupuna were guests of his on radio station KCCN, where he launched and hosted for 17 years (1972-1989) the first Hawaiian talk show, Ka Leo Hawai`i. Today, those interviews are invaluable resources for students studying the Hawaiian language.

Kimura's own knowledge of Hawaiian tradition is vast and extensive. This is made abundantly evident in his literary compositions which set the standard for present-day writers of Hawaiian poetry, chant, songs, essays, and stories. In 1994, the Hawai`i Literary Arts Council recognized his unmatched output by conferring upon him the Elliot Cades Award for Literature.

It is little wonder that Kimura's master's thesis is entitled, Na Mele Kau O Ka Mahele Mua O Ka Mo`olelo `O Hi`iakaikapoliopele Na Joseph M. Poepoe: He Kalailaina Me Ke Kalele Ma Luna O Na Ku`inaiwi Kaulua. In English, "The Poetry of the First Part of the Ancient Hawaiian Epic, Hi`iakaikapoliopele, as Recorded by Joseph M. Poepoe: A Structural Analysis with Emphasis on Devices Linking Paired Utterances." His extensive background in poetry and song-writing, coupled with his knowledge of Hawaiian language and culture, has served as excellent preparation for the academic study of such an intricate treatment.

Currently, Kimura is also a member of the board of `Aha Punana Leo and is the Hawaiian content coordinator for the Mauna Kea Astronomy Education Center project.

Mrs. Patricia Hamamoto, superintendent of the State Department of Education, will be the keynote speaker.

Hamamoto, a 1962 graduate of Maryknoll High School, attended Cal-State Long Beach where she earned a B.A. in history and professional teaching diploma in 1967. She later added an administrator's certificate from UH Manoa in 1985, and obtained a certificate of completion in labor relations, specializing in arbitration in 1990.

Her lengthy educational career spans more than three decades. Hamamoto's first teaching job in Hawai`i followed a brief hiatus from the profession when she accepted a position at Highlands Intermediate School in Pearl City in 1974 to teach social studies.

Hamamoto's first taste of administration came in 1983, when she spent two years as vice principal of Maui High, while earning her administrator's
certificate. She also held the number two job at Nanakuli High and Intermediate School before landing her first principal's job at Pearl City Highlands Elementary in 1987. Hamamoto took a two-year break to serve in the State Office of Personnel Services before returning to the Department of Education as principal of McKinley High School.

Hamamoto became Deputy Superintendent of Education in February of 1999. She held that post until October 2001 when the unexpected resignation of Paul LaMahieu elevated her to the top post. Hamamoto served as acting superintendent until December, when the State Board of Education named her to the permanent position.

The graduating class will be represented by two student speakers: Tamara Bronk and Aaron Phillips.

Bronk, a communication major pursuing a minor in business administration, is a California native who carries a 3.99 GPA. She has made the Dean's List for five consecutive semesters, and has twice received the College of Arts and Sciences Merit-Based Tuition Waiver. Bronk is a two-time recipient of the All-American Scholar Award and was the May 2002 recipient of the National Collegiate Business Merit Award. The title of her address will be "Past, Present and Future."

Phillips, a fellow communication major, carries a 3.5 GPA. He came to UH Hilo last year after spending the previous six years at Montana State University. A veteran of the Gulf War, Phillips earned 19 decorations, medals, badges, citations and campaign ribbons while serving in the army from 1989-1992. He received the Purple Heart after being wounded by an Iraqi suicide bomber. He was also awarded the Bronze Star for disarming 18 Iraqi soldiers in Kuwait with the assistance of just one other soldier.

His address will draw upon his Gulf War experience as the United States once again prepares for an armed conflict with Iraq. He will encourage his classmates to face their challenges by holding true to their ideals in the face of adversity.

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