The Rock and the Class of 1973

Community Contributed

By Kau’i Kapuni Manera and the MHS Class of ‘73

Left, Leonila Nelda Limos; right, Nanette Saiki.

Back in 1973, a gallon of gas cost 39 cents and minimum wage was $1.60. A summer job meant working in the pineapple fields with no porta potty or mercy from your luna. 

Some cinematic greats were “American Graffiti,” “The Exorcist,” and “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

Marvin Gaye swooned us with “Let’s Get It On”, while the Allman Bros belted “Ramblin’ Man.” Watergate hearings began in the U.S. when then President Richard Nixon exclaimed, “I am not a crook!” The U.S. Supreme Court overturned state law bans on abortion in the landmark decision Roe vs Wade. 

Meanwhile, here on Molokai, the class of 1973 was gallantly preparing for graduation. We decided to dress in Hawaiian attire — the first class to break the cap and gown tradition at the school. 

We anticipated learning “There’s a Place for Us” from the Broadway hit “West Side Story” and “The Queen’s Prayer” by Queen Lili’uokalani from Mrs. Saiki and Mr. Apuna.

In keeping with our far-out reputation as innovators, several classmates schemed how we can leave an indelible and historic landmark behind to commemorate our unique class. It was decided to erect a rock as a symbol of the mighty class of 1973!

The rock would sit at the entrance to A Wing, where it was visible upon entry and from Farrington Ave. A rock was carefully selected for its shape and easy access without the usage of machinery to remove it. 

Once it was permanently placed with the help of several advisors and approval from the administration, a group of dedicated classmates filled in the holes and small divots with Bondo to give it a more uniform look. The rock was then painted brown with white, bold numbers “73.”

This would be a constant reminder to the future students of Molokai High that the class of ‘73 ruled this campus back in the day.

Or so we thought.

The very next year, some seniors from the ambitious class of 1974, or so we were told, decided to replace 73 with 74. And although some die-hard classmates of the class of 1973 went and repainted the original number onto the rock again, mysteriously 74 reappeared soon thereafter. 

This would go on for weeks. It was a sign to us that this will continue which it has till this day.

We accepted our fate and eventually realized that we were the vehicle to start such a cool tradition which the future graduating classes can enjoy for time eternity.

On behalf of the class of 1973, as we celebrate our 50th class reunion this year, we would like to extend a huge congratulations to the graduating Class of 2023. 

We all share a common love for our alma mater and that rock. Malama and honor that rock.

Though our student days may pass, our love for thee will ever last, Molokai hail, all hail! HAIL!


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