Alumnus Accepts The Role of Teaching


By Shane Kaneshiro

Joseph Nakamoto directs the band during a sectional practice after school.

Shane Kaneshiro

When Joseph Nakamoto was growing up, he was immersed in music. Nakamoto, McKinley High School’s new Band and Orchestra teacher and director, knew he wanted to work with music. He said he saw two paths where his skills could be useful. One path led to a professional musician and the other to an educator. Nakamoto decided he wanted to become an educator. He said taking this job fulfills his responsibility to the community to give students opportunities and a broader perspective on how to relate the successfulness of music to their future jobs or future careers. Not all Nakamoto’s goals are so lofty Nakamoto said he also just wants “to spread the love of music.“ As an alumnus of McKinley, Nakamoto said coming back to his alma mater to teach has changed his perspective of the school he learned in. He gets to implement all the experiences into the community that he is creating. “I understood all the traditions from what this program stood for, all the work ethic values, some traditions that the program has had for such a long time,” Nakamoto said. “I’m glad that I can keep maintaining those same traditions that I went through and also revamping them if need to be revamped,” Nakamoto said he believes music is a good escape from reality. However, Nakamoto also acknowledged there must be discipline. “We have to work hard to get there,“ Nakamoto said. On a normal day, Nakamoto comes to school early and stays late for students to practice. On the weekends, he can often be found in the band room so students can practice. “I want all the students to feel like they have a second home. … For most of the students, the band room is like a second home,” Nakamoto said. Nakamoto said he believes that McKinley is a very fortunate school. However, a lot of people take it for granted but it depends on students. “Teachers, staff, and administration can do so much to build a culture, but honestly, it’s all 100% student-led, to building a good school culture,” Nakamoto said.