Strive for the Summit

The Hawai’i Chamber of Commerce of Northern California (HCCNC) will hold its annual Five Star Aloha gala event on May 21st at the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco’s Marina District.

The event will feature the presentation of this year’s Kulia I Ka Nu’u (Strive for the Summit) award, a recognition that honors contributions to the Bay Area Hawai’i community. Past recipients are Saichi Kawahara, Patrick Makuakane, Vernon Chang, Dr. Mary Bitterman and Takahashi Market. The theme of this year’s award, which will be presented to three individuals, is education.

Carlton D. Ka’ala Carmack

Ka’ala Carmack, a Native Hawaiian musician, singer, teacher and Japantown fixture, has resided in San Francisco since 1978. He has an M.M. degree in Vocal Pedagogy and Choral Conducting, and an M.A. in Ethnomusicology.
A long time piano, ukulele and voice instructor, as well as music producer, director and conductor, Carmack is also in demand throughout the Bay Area as a performer. Besides leading and performing with Piko Hawaiian Trio, he has also been one of the lead singers and guitarists for Patrick Makuakane’s renowned national touring halau, Na Lei Hulu I ka Wekiu.

In spite of his many commitments as a performer, education remains Carmack’s passion. From the Creative Arts Charter School and Sanchez Elementary School to San Francisco State University and Stanford University, he continues to share his knowledge with countless others.

Carmack also shares his love of Hawaiian music by leading the Let’s Play Ukulele! classes offered through the JCCCNC. J-Town Hui, the performing group of this popular class has participated in the annual Ukulele Festival held in Hayward each Spring, and has also performed at numerous events in and around San Francisco’s Japantown.

At the core of Carmack’s teaching style is his belief that learning about music and how to perform should be fun as well as informative and inspirational. He believes that the gift of music within all of us only truly works when we can share it with others: in a classroom, on stage, in church, or even at a backyard kanikapila.

Honorable William J. Fernandez (Retired)

Aside from his exemplary professional career, retired Superior Court Judge William J. Fernandez has dedicated a good portion of his life to advancing educational opportunities for Native Hawaiians. He is a graduate of Kamehameha Schools, and received his B.A. and J.D. degrees from Stanford University.

In 1958, Judge Fernandez helped organize the Hui Ilima Club of Santa Clara County, and served as the second President of the organization. Hui Ilima still thrives today, and is the oldest Hawaiian Club in the County. Judge Fernandez also organized and chartered the Kamehameha Schools Alumni Association of Northern California, and served as its President for nine years. In addition, he is a past president of the Kamehameha Schools Alumni Association Board of Presidents.

Judge Fernandez has lectured at Hawai’i Community College and submitted legal papers to Hawaiian organizations on the effect on Hawaiians of the Rice v. Cayetano decision and the present lawsuits against the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and Kamehameha Schools.

Currently, Judge Fernandez serves on the Kamehameha Schools Board of Advisors. He also is a member of the Ke Ali’i Pauahi Foundation Advisory Committee, which provides educational scholarships and financial aid to deserving Hawaiians.

Sara Sato

A graduate of Kauai High School, Sara Sato moved to the Bay Area to attend Menlo College in 1987. While a student there, she served as the first President of the Menlo College Hawai’i Club, and was a driving force behind the organization’s first Luau, an event that, 14 years later, has grown to become one of the most anticipated annual events at Menlo College.

Upon graduating in May 1991, Sara was hired as an Admission Counselor for the college and remains there today, serving as Director of Admission. In this position, Sato oversees new student recruitment and the admission process.

One of her most important responsibilities is outreach to Hawai’i students. She often travels to Hawai’i to promote Menlo College by visiting high schools, hosting admission and send-off receptions, attending college fairs and networking with parents and alumni. Ho, das one hahd job, but somebody gotta do ‘em.

Due largely to Sato’s efforts, Menlo College has experienced an incredible 300% increase in students from Hawai’i, with Hawai’i students now accounting for 17% of its current student body. Through her outreach activities, Sato has opened the possibility of higher education to many appreciative Hawai’i students, many of whom would have never believed it within their reach.

Five Star Aloha takes place on Saturday, May 21, 2005, starting at 6:30 p.m. at the St. Francis Yacht Club. Tickets are $100 per person ($125 after May 10). Ticket information is available at www.hccnc.com/fivestaraloha/ . Proceeds of the event will be used to help fund the Kulia I Ka Nu’u Scholarship, benefiting students from Hawai’i, attending college in the Bay Area.

The black tie optional event will feature a silent auction and raffle, live music by Konane and a special Tahitian dance performance by Te Mau Tamari‘i A Tiare. Ey, no come in your boros. Dis not one t-shirt and rubbah slippah event.

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