The Hawai‘i High School Athletic Association and its member schools have raised $9,531 for Japan tsunami relief efforts through a special T-shirt sale at recent spring sporting events, states a release from the HHSAA.
The fundraising drive was spearheaded by McKinley High School athletic trainer Tomoki Kanaoka, who designed a white t-shirt with the message “Hang in there, Tohoku, Never give up, Japan,” written in black Japanese characters set against a red rising sun on the front and “WE GOT YOUR BACK” (with red rising suns as the “o’s”) on the back.
“I’m from Japan and I have friends at Sendai University, I know people (affected by the tsunami) personally,” Kanaoka said. “And just in general, as a Japanese (native), I felt I wanted to help them.”
Billy Tee’s, a t-shirt manufacturing company that supplies most of the state tournament souvenir apparel, printed the Japan relief shirts at wholesale cost.
The shirts were sold for $15 each at league sporting events throughout the state in April and May and also at most spring state tournament events on O‘ahu, Maui and the Big Island.
Donation boxes also were set up at each site to accept cash contributions, and athletic trainers from the OIA, Kamehameha-Hawai‘i and Maryknoll donated their spring state tournament pay to the relief effort.
All of the proceeds — totaling $9,531.81 — will be sent to the American Red Cross to be used for food, medical supplies and other immediate needs in Japan’s tsunami-stricken areas.
The Hawai‘i High School Athletic Association is comprised of 95 member schools statewide. Its member leagues are the OIA, Big Island Interscholastic Federation, Interscholastic League of Honolulu, Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation and Maui Interscholastic League.