Hall of Honor ceremony 2019


By Alexandria Buchanan

The photos of Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland, Dennis Ching, and Lammy Ching are displayed in the Administration building.

Alexandria Buchanan, editor

McKinley High School welcomed three new Hall of Honor inductees at the 2019 Hall of Honor ceremony on Feb. 25. Two of these inductees, brothers Lammy and Dennis Ching, made MHS history as the first brothers initiated in the same year. Along with the Ching’s, Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland joined the famous McKinley wall of portraits.

Lammy Ching graduated from McKinley in 1935. During his high school career, he kept busy in the band and Science Club. Inspired by a former science teacher, Ching became a teacher. After teaching vocational agriculture, he continued his career with the Department of Education and took positions as vice principal at Waipahu High School and principal of Kilohana Elementary School and Lana’i High School. Ching showed many leadership abilities and was chosen by the DOE to open and serve as the founding principal for two new schools, Waianae Intermediate and Pearl City High School. In 1992, Ching was awarded the Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Service at the United State Supreme Court in Washington D.C. for his work as a principal of a citizenship school for Chinese immigrants in Hawaii.

Lammy’s children could not attend but sent remarks which said,”his teacher came out to the house to confront our grandparents, his parents, insisting that their gifted son be given a chance to go to college. They gave in and he did and he worked his way up to his chosen profession like his brilliant young brother Dennis. His chosen profession was education 0ut of admiration for this teacher.”

Dennis Ching graduated from McKinley three years after his brother in 1938. During his high school years, he held many officer positions such as homeroom civic services chairman, homeroom treasurer, and homeroom health chairman. After graduating, he started working as a messenger for American Security Bank. In 1975 he became the chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the third largest bank in Hawaii at the time. He held positions with the American Bankers Association, as well as carried on the national banking boards and commissions. Ching also worked on the board of directors for multiple community non-profit organizations.

“You know the Ching family. We’re very much believers in education,” Denise Wardlow, daughter of Dennis Ching, said. “…education is power [that] can transform you into anything you want. It really gives you a life of greater opportunity.”

Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland is a McKinley graduate from the class of 1979. In high school, she spent her time in the Science Club, Friends of Animals Club, Guitar Club, Student Government, and participated in the May Day Program. Senator Chun Oakland was elected to serve as a representative for six years and a senator for 20 years, a total of 26 years in the Hawaii State Legislature. Currently, she is the program coordinator of Lanakila Multi-Purpose Senior Center, and volunteers with over 100 groups and community service organization boards. Senator Chun Oakland has made multiple contributions to MHS, including aiding in funding renovations for the Administration building and forming the McKinley Foundation.

“Life offers so many opportunities and so many possibilities from the day you’re born,” Senator Chun Oakland said. “It is up to each of us to take those opportunities and do something positive. Something that will do good for many people, and I’m very proud to be a part of this school. I’m very proud of all of you for being a part of our family.”

“I believe the Hall of Honor is special because it recognizes people who have accomplished great things,” junior Shayla Le said. ”Knowing that they are McKinley alumni inspires students to do great things as well.”

Black and Gold Week is the week leading up to the ceremony. This year’s theme was “Back to the Future” and included Future Career Dress-Up, College Swag, and Dress for Success days. Students showed their competitiveness during various lunch activities such as Musical Chairs, Gimme Gimme, Water Balloon Toss, and Capture the Flag.

“Students really enjoyed the exciting lunchtime activities,” Student Body President Jett Kaler said. “Each class council organized a lunchtime event [for] students to play.”

During the assembly, students wore black to show unity and pride on the final spirit day of Black and Gold week. Presentations and speeches were given about each of the inductees, telling the inspiring stories and achievements. The McKinley’s Chamber Singers and the McKinley Band performed to honor the late Ching brothers, and a special performance from the Royal Elementary School’s Bell Choir honored Senator Chun Oakland.

“I think the majority of the students enjoyed the assembly the most during this year’s Black and Gold week,” Le said. “We got to learn more about the three McKinley alumni and their great achievements that got them into the Hall of Honor.”

The purpose of the Hall of Honor is to recognize the McKinley alumni who have made differences in the community after graduating. The photos lining the wall show the faces of many graduates who have changed the world for the better. Students may not know all of the stories of these past students, but they can be inspired to achieve big things and join the historic wall some day.

“My favorite part of Black and Gold Week was witnessing students of McKinley High School get inspiration through the stories of this year’s Hall of Honor inductees,” Kaler said. “I see the potential for so many students to one day become a part of the Hall of Honor themselves.”