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McKinley adds 2 alumni to Hall of Honor

By Star-Advertiser staff


Ukulele craftsman Alvin S. Okami and former East-West Center President Kenji Sumida will be honored this month as the 2011 inductees to the McKinley High School Hall of Honor.

They will be recognized at the McKinley Alumni Association's annual brunch 10 a.m. Jan. 29 at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii in Moiliili.

Okami, a 1962 graduate, founded KoAloha Ukulele in the mid-1990s. The company receives orders from the mainland, Canada, England, Australia and Japan, as well as Hawaii.

He has been a professional musician, a singer with various ensembles and an oboe player with the Royal Hawaiian Band.

Okami often donates handcrafted ukuleles to his alma mater, as well as the McKinley Alumni Association. He and his KoAloha employees have held ukulele-making sessions for children at Kaunakakai Elementary School on Molokai and the Liliuokalani Children's Center.

Sumida, a 1949 graduate, had a 21-year career at the University of Hawaii. He served as vice president for business affairs and vice chancellor for administration, among other posts.


McKinley Alumni Association annual brunch
» Jan. 29, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
» Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, 2454 S. Beretania St.
» $40 per person
» Reservations required. Call Lisa Toma, 566-1353

After his retirement from UH, he served as executive vice president and then president of the East-West Center, guiding it through a period of budget cuts.

He also served on the board of the UH credit union for 40 years and as president of the Pacific and Asian Affairs Council's board of governors.

He was a pilot in the Air Force and Air National Guard, attaining the rank of brigadier general in the Air National Guard.

Also to be recognized at the event are two recipients of the 2011 Masayuki Tokioka Tiger Pride Award: teacher and anti-drug program leader Barbara "Leomomi" Stender-Jenkins, and James Youn, a 1955 graduate and alumni association board member.

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