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Long Legacy of Service

Mr. Nip moving from Molokai

Photo by Catherine Cluett.

Over 50 years ago, Kenneth Nip, known to many as Mr. Nip, came to Molokai to teach at the Mission School, which used to be held outside Kaunakakai. Since then, he has become not only an integral part of the community, but an example of service and volunteerism. This month, Mr. Nip is moving to Oahu to be closer to his family and medical services.

Mr. Nip grew up in Honolulu, where the site of his childhood home is now a freeway, he said. As a member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, Mr. Nip started teaching at mission schools on Maui and Kauai after he graduated from La Sierra University in California.

After teaching at the Molokai Mission School, he transferred to the public school system and taught at Kilohana and Kaunakakai schools. And following his retirement, he continued teaching as a substitute at Kaunakakai and Kualapu`u elementary schools.

“I really enjoyed teaching,” he said. “The children seem to enjoy learning and I enjoy seeing them grow.”

Some of his former students have gone on to achieve great success in their fields, such as singer Melveen Lead, a Kilohana School graduate.

“People always come up to me and say, ‘Remember, you used to teach me?’ I kid them, ‘I only remember the good students,’” laughed Mr. Nip.

As one of the few Chinese residents of Molokai, Mr. Nip worked to share his culture through annual Chinese New year displays at the Molokai Public Library, at the Senior Center, and educational sessions in classrooms.

“Since we have few Chinese here, I try to keep the culture alive,” he said.

Additionally, Mr. Nip has accumulated a long list of volunteer activities during his years on Molokai. He reads to children at the library weekly since 2002 as a volunteer for Reading Partners, a program to encourage exchange of ideas and sharing of enthusiasm for learning through reading and interactive activities, according to Molokai Public Library branch manager Sri TenCate.

Mr. Nip has volunteered with AARP, helped with the local Boy Scout troop and donated his time at the Seventh Day Adventist Church. He also goes to the Molokai General Hospital every week to sing to the patients. Registered Nurse Theresa Dang said he sings and plays ukulele for the hospital’s two long-term care parents, as well as occasionally for emergency room patients.


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