The Punahou Alumni Association awards returned to the Dillingham Hall before a lively audience during Alumni Week on Tuesday, June 7. The PAA awards honor individuals who have improved the lives of others through their contributions to Punahou, Hawai‘i and beyond.
‘O’ in Life: Andy Bunn ’86
The “O” in Life Award, created in 1954, is the Punahou Alumni Association’s most prestigious award. It honors an individual who exemplifies the ideals of service to Punahou and the community.
Former PAA President and longtime Punahou volunteer Andy Bunn was honored with the 2022 “O” in Life Award. Bunn first began participating with PAA as a student at Williams College in Massachusetts in the late ’80s and has been a member of his Class Reunion committee since their fifth reunion. Read more.
Samuel Chapman Armstrong Humanitarian Award: Dr. Lina Miyakawa ’04 and Dr. Darragh O’Carroll ’03
The Samuel Chapman Armstrong Humanitarian Award is given to Punahou alumni who have made outstanding contributions to society garnering national or international recognition.
Dr. Lina Miyakawa was at the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in New York City working as a pulmonologist and critical care physician in the spring of 2020. She treated patients while teaching medical students at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, as well as spent time mentoring medical residents and fellows.
She is passionate about diversity, equity and inclusion in the medical field and has been active in building a culture for fellows that is equitable and fair for all, including a recruitment process that manages biases.
In 2021, Miyakawa and a colleague fostered a partnership with a community-based fitness group called Harlem Run as a way to bridge the gap between healthcare workers and the community they serve. The doctors have sponsored an initiative called “Walk Together, Talk Together,” where healthcare workers join a weekly walking/running group led by a Harlem Run coach. They’ve also started a Health Education Series which offer webinars focused on public health concerns. Miyakawa was featured in the series’ first webinar about COVID-19.
A recognized leader in the pandemic, she has been a featured speaker at various national webinars and conferences and in Hawai‘i and national publications regarding the coronavirus pandemic.
Dr. Darragh O’Carroll has been recognized in Hawai‘i and nationwide as an authority on best practices regarding the coronavirus pandemic. His television appearances have received national coverage and his demonstrated commitment to public service is evident as he supports the emergency departments at several hospitals. During the early days of the pandemic, O’Carroll led a COVID-19 testing team at a VA nursing home in Hilo.
O’Carroll was a co-founder of Every1ne Hawai‘i and in April 2020, Every1ne worked to obtain one million masks to be distributed across our state free of charge to vulnerable groups, including the homeless, the jobless and low income families with children. His volunteer work includes serving as medical director onboard Polynesian Voyaging Society’s Hikianalia, rescue work in the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian devastated the archipelago, and time spent at the busiest trauma center in Johannesburg, as well as the Manua Islands, Tijuana and with the International Red Cross.
Charles S. Judd ’38 Humanitarian Award
The Charles S. Judd Jr. Humanitarian Award is awarded to a Punahou alumni who has made outstanding contributions to society in Hawai‘i in the fields of public service, humanitarian or charitable efforts, arts, letters or sciences.
James Case ’37
Jim Case devoted his six decade-plus law career to representing agribusiness in Hawai‘i. As an advocate in his community, he also used his legal skills to successfully fight for the rights of thousands of individual landowners to own their properties in fee versus leasing the land under their homes from a few large landowners. He also helped to transform the electric utilities on the islands of Hawai‘i and Kaua‘i, changing the model from many small companies providing inadequate service, to large, full-service companies serving the entire island.
“I always did it for the good of the county and the citizens, not for anything personal,” Case said in recorded remarks played at the PAA awards ceremony. “We did a lot of things that protected people’s lives and made it better for the community.”
Outside of his legal career, he helped create facilities to make life easier and fuller for people with mental development challenges. He also worked with a retirement residence to become a charitable organization.
Case recently celebrated his 102nd birthday with family in person and on Zoom. He was represented at the June ceremony by his daughters, Suzanne ’74 and Betsy ’81.
Mark Noguchi ’93
Mark Noguchi is the chef and co-founder of Pili Group, a food organization conducting business through consultations and catering. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and as normal life began to be disrupted, Noguchi and the Pili Group activated the Chef Hui, a movement that rescued excess food and got prepared meals into the hands of those who needed it most. Through this partnership, Aloha Harvest delivered food and ingredients to the Pacific Gateway Center where it was sorted and cooked, if needed, by Chef Hui and then distributed to community organizations which fed keiki and kūpuna. Chef Hui was supported by an increasing number of chefs who were out of work and wanted to serve their community.
Later in the pandemic, the group received CARES Act funds and was able to purchase produce – supporting local agriculture and feeding 10,000 people in need every week. Local ingredients were also used in Chef Hui’s Give and Go Community Meal Program, which produced 5,000 meals per week during the pandemic.
Noguchi’s full-time job is as Punahou’s food curriculum specialist for all grades. His goal, he says, is to create a better world using food as a tool.
Old School Award
The Old School Award was created in 1976 by the Board of Directors of the Punahou Alumni Association to recognize individuals who support Punahou in so many ways and who exemplify the spirit of Punahou through outstanding service to the School.
Les Baer ’67
Les Baer has been a longtime supporter and organizer of Punahou alumni events in and around the Washington, D.C. area and helped found the PAA Mid-Atlantic Chapter in 2010. Baer was instrumental in keeping alumni connected in the DC Metro area by hosting events at his home.
As the child of a military family, Baer only attended Punahou for two years. He says Punahou represents ‘ohana, and he has always felt connected to the School and its alumni.
Baer, a high school teacher in Alexandria, Virginia, could not attend the ceremony in person, but offered remarks by video. Of his Old School award, Baer said, “So many wonderful alumni have stepped forward to engage and connect alumni. We did this all together.”
Tom Conger ’57
Tom Conger has supported the School and the Punahou alumni community in a myriad of ways. He is a lifetime member of the Punahou O-Men and a volunteer coach for both football and track and field. He was the charter director of Development of the School and has been his Class Correspondent since 1988. He originated the “Puns in Print” feature in the Bulletin and co-edited his 50th Reunion book for the Class of 1957.
He has been the Reunion chair for his 15th, 60th and 65th reunions. Conger, who resides in Oregon, was nominated by his 1957 classmates, Randy Moore, Doug Kilpatrick and Judy Dawson.
Kelly Hutchinson ’80 McMahon
Kelly Hutchinson McMahon has supported Punahou, the Punahou Alumni Association and the greater Punahou community throughout much of her life. At school, McMahon devoted 15 years to the Cooke Library team. In the Language Lab, where she worked for a time, she was fondly known as “Auntie Kelly” by students. As one nominee noted, “her devotion and connection and kind spirit are fondly remembered by so many graduates.”
McMahon also served as her Class of 1980 class correspondent and reunion coordinator, and has been a dedicated volunteer for the Punahou Alumni Association and in the Alumni Relations office for many years. A classmate said, “Kelly is the type of person who exemplifies the spirit of Punahou through her loyalty and service.”
Daryl Sato ’65
Daryl Sato is a devoted supporter of Punahou School, the Punahou alumni community and especially his Class of 1965 Punahou classmates. Sato served as a PAA Board member and was president in 1992. He co-founded the PAA Annual Alumni Golf Tournament more than 34 years ago, and he served on the golf planning committee for many years. He continues to be a supporter and participant of the popular tournament.
Sato is an active and longtime member of the Punahou O-Men and has chaired multiple committees. His peers noted that Sato “always works behind the scenes at Punahou functions and never asks to be recognized.”
Senior Awards: Brooke Carias ’22 and Ken Nakatsu ’22
Each year, PAA recognizes two graduating seniors who have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement, leadership and service to both Punahou and the community. Each recipient is awarded a PAA certificate and a check for $1,000.
Brooke Carias was described by her deans as a natural and humble leader. She was one of 22 fellows selected in her junior year for the Center of Tomorrow’s Leaders Fellows Program, a nonprofit organization cultivating the next generation of leaders, and she also served as co-chair of Punahou’s annual Sustainability Fair for two years. Carias was a dance captain for the senior class Variety Show, “That ’22 Show.” She also volunteers at the Lyon Arboretum’s Seed Conservation Lab and tutored fellow students in the Peer Learning Center.
Ken Nakatsu was a member of the Varsity swim team for all four years of high school. He volunteers at a hospital and has worked at a local farmer’s market on weekends. Nakatsu has worked on projects to establish tutoring services for houseless teens and has collaborated with the Veterans’ Administration to create an exhibit featuring houseless veterans. He was one of three extraordinary students featured this year in a Punahou Bulletin video piece on students taking the lead in sustainability. Nakatsu’s transcript is exceptional with consistently high marks in Honors and AP Courses.
Certificate of Appreciation
Four alumni volunteers received PAA’s Certificate of Appreciation.
Denise Eldredge ’91 Sagapolutele served on the PAA Board since 2011, including as president in 2021 and as chair of the PAA Annual Alumni Golf Tournament in 2018.
Lyle Fujikawa ’86 served on the leadership team of the PAA’s regional chapter in Japan, as well as on the board of PAA Hawai‘i chapter.
Erica Lum ’98 Martin and Yolanda Lau ’98 volunteered as lū‘au chairs for the Alumni Lū‘au held on June 11, 2022. They rallied and organized volunteers from the classes of 1998 and 1999 to serve in various support roles and provide support for the 1,700-guest event.
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