Today the news came of the passing of a great lady - a great lady - a lady simply known to thousands of students at Radford High School in Honolulu, Hawaii as Mrs. V.
In my senior year I got very involved in Student Council and student activities. Along with two other classmates, Larry Wolfe and Rusty Vierra, we chaired the Assembly & Awards Committee and our advisor was Mrs. V. Our committee won the Committee of the Year Award and while we worked very hard, we could not have done it without the steady and wise counsel of Mrs. V. Through her efforts I was introduced to the world of politics and government as well as event planning - and she made it fun! She was always solid, always grounded, always positive and kind and approachable. But at the same time, there was this unspoken expectation that you never wanted to let her down. You wanted to make her proud. She was an inspiration and I admired and respected her. She was the truthteller and she knew how to maintain discipline and focus, but she also laughed at our jokes and pranks - well, most of the time.
The week of the state championship, Mr. V suddenly was stricken with a heart attack and died. It was so sudden and shocking and of course, it stunned the Radford community. Though filled with grief, the football team decided to go ahead and play in the championship and dedicated the game to Mr. V. The public school team stood in a circle on the field and offered a prayer and then played their hearts out and won the game.
Mrs. V inspired generations of students and her inspiration continues to this day. Thank you for your confidence in so many, for your firm direction with a gentle hand, for your warmth and faith - you made a difference in so many lives, Mrs. V - and you made a difference in my life. Mahalo nui loa, Aloha ke Akua.