Friday | May 29, 2015
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Hilo High Heroes in the spotlight

The Hilo High School Foundation will honor Larry Isemoto, Armando Mendoza and Robert Fujimoto as Hilo High Heroes at its third annual recognition dinner on Wednesday, Feb. 13, at the Sangha Hall at 380 Kilauea Ave. in downtown Hilo.

The public is invited to the yearly event, which pays tribute to outstanding supporters of the school and its community, and raises funds for the foundation’s future good works at HHS.

The evening will begin with a fellowship hour at 5 p.m. and dinner at 6 p.m. Each honoree will receive an HHS Foundation Distinguished Service Award.

Foundation President Barry Taniguchi and Vice President Allan Ikawa announced the honorees and reported that each expressed surprise at being selected.

“Please join us in celebrating the contributions of these distinguished gentlemen and Hilo High Heroes,” said Taniguchi.

Dinner will feature a Don’s Grill banquet meal, beverages and dessert. A silent auction will include a nice assortment of items to bid on. Wendell Ing and the Hilo High Ambassadors will entertain.

The Hilo High School Foundation is an IRS 501(c)3 organization dedicated to improving the educational environment at Hilo High School.

“Please join us,” said Taniguchi (class of ’65) and Ikawa (class of ’67). Individual tickets are $50. Tables begin at $500, for the “Viking.” Alumni are invited to book a table and hold a mini class reunion. Other sponsorship levels are: “gold,” $750; “blue,” $1,000, and “platinum,” $1,500. To reserve a table, or to be a sponsor, please contact Art Taniguchi (’69) at 854-2020, Ivan Nakano (’64) at 934-5238 or Roberta Chu (’74) 854-2025. For individual tickets, contact Newton Chu at 961-0406 or Janet Hara at 935-5404. Or, email

Robert Fujimoto, a 1945 graduate of Hilo High School, is a retired businessman, and the chairman of HPM Building Supply. A long-time business leader, Fujimoto has served as a regent of the University of Hawaii and on the boards of several business entities. He is a consistent supporter of local charities and organizations through the Robert & Alice Fujimoto Foundation.

Larry Isemoto is a 1946 graduate of Hilo High School. Isemoto, now retired, was the president of the contracting company that bears his name from 1967 to 1993. Isemoto has also been active in local civic, business and cultural organizations and is also a consistent supporter of community events and organizations.

Fujimoto and Isemoto stated that “There are so many others that are more qualified than us.” However, they are pleased that the banquet is designed to raise funds for their alma mater. “Hilo High will always hold a special place in our hearts. We have been Viking supporters for all of our lives and we are glad the foundation is there for the kids.”

Armando Mendoza is a 1968 graduate of Hilo High. He taught music at Hilo High from 1994 until his retirement in 2012. A fixture in the local music scene, Mendoza has been a leader with the Hawaii County Band and local performing artists, and can still be seen playing his trumpet at concerts on and around the Big Island.

“It is only fitting that Hilo High Foundation honor these cherished alumni. Please consider attending the dinner,” said foundation secretary Newton Chu. “All honorees have requested that attendees consider making an additional donation to the foundation in lieu of leis. Once a Viking, always a Viking!”


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