Menehune: ‘No regular leopard’

WAIMEA — The Waimea High School Class of 2012, like its Snow Leopard mascot, demonstrated its ability to adapt Friday night at its graduation ceremonies held at the school’s front lawn.

With 148 students participating in the commencement ceremonies, the Pomp and Circumstance was abrubtly interrupted, prefaced by a loud squawk from the public address system.

A few awkward moments of silence later, the class erupted in an a capella rendering, continuing the pomp as the remainder of the class trooped in the processional.

“Our Snow Leopard is not a regular leopard who sits around in leopardy weather,” said Annalissa Hartsell, who along with John Gawaran and Angelica Huyen Tran, served as valedictorians. “Instead, it ventured off into the world and found snow, where it adapted just as the class did when the power went out.”

But the class flower, a tiare, is a simple flower, not flashy or boastful, Gawaran said.

“It’s subtle and not known for being shiny. There is no need to be fancy.”

But when there is a need to shine with the class colors of blue and silver, the class can sparkle because it’s silver, not white, said Tran.

The valedictorians seemed to have communicated with keynote speaker Dr. Jaime Moriguchi, a Waimea High School graduate who is the Medical Director of the Mechanical Circulatory Support Program at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in California, who told the students how growing up on Kaua‘i is an advantage they have over others.

“Always remember where you came from,” he said. “Stay grounded.”

This message was reinforced by the valedictorians, who noted that their class song, “Unwritten” is about the future and seizing the future, while “Koke‘e” is about home and where they grew up.

Chase Parongao is the class president.

Diplomas were presented by Nely Caberto, the school’s principal, Anne Kane, the vice principal, and Moriguchi while June Akuna and Brandon Moises did the honors of the Diploma Roll Call.

The students, following a congratulatory meeting of friends, family and relatives in the athletic field, were bussed to the Waimea Project Grad overnight celebration after the ceremony.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@


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