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Molokai Grads Bonded by Friendship


Photo by Laura Pilz.

The challenging classes have finished. Studying late into the night for tests has ended. Senior projects have all been presented and graded. And nothing, not even the intermittent rain showers, could stop 77 Molokai High School (MHS) seniors from turning their graduation tassels from the right side to the left and taking home their hard-earned diplomas last Friday.

“I encourage you, as someone said before me, to ‘dream on and dream big’ and follow your dream,” said MHS alumnus and commencement address speaker James “Jimmy” Duvauchelle.  “Never settle for second best. Be the best you can be because that’s who you are.”

As anticipation grew and excitement filled the air, the Class of 2014 stood together on the stage to bid farewell to MHS and celebrate four years together.

Cheers of support from proud ohana filled the Barn as the two valedictorians, Xrystina Bicoy and Kiloaulani Ka`awa-Gonzales, delivered heartening speeches.

“You never see a butterfly hanging out with caterpillars,” Gonzales said. “Let us now be butterflies and leave the shells of our cocoons in these high school halls.”

Acknowledgments of hard work, future success and lasting friendship were the messages each graduate was left with at the commencement ceremony. As class president Heather Place stated in her speech, “high school wouldn’t have been as enjoyable without these lifelong friendships.” Together, the graduates will carry on her words.

“Let’s push through, persevere and stay connected,” Place said. “We won’t be walking these halls ever again together but we can stick together in spirit.”

Principal Stan Hao counseled the graduates to remember “there is no place like home,” no matter where they may go.

“From this point you’ll go out into the world and live your lives, have experiences and travel abroad, but you will always remember this place: Molokai,” he said.

The hullaballoo fell silent when the graduates rose in true gospel choir fashion to perform their rendition of the late Whitney Houston’s song, “My Love Is Your Love.”  The chorus, “Cause your love is my love/And my love is your love/It would take an eternity to break us/And the chains of Amistad couldn’t hold us,” captured the message of friendship that was shared throughout the evening.

“No matter how far apart our paths lead us from one another, Molokai will always be home,” said Taylor Tamanaha in her salutatory address. “Never forget where you come from. I believe in all of you. May God bless each and every one of you.”


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