“Tailgate 2009-Redo the Imu” included food, music, fun and reunions of Lahainaluna groups from the past, including the Class of 1965, preceding the football game. The special day was organized by the Lahainaluna High School Foundation (LHSF) headed up by Rob Shelton and including Richard “Noosh” Nishihara, Jeff Rogers, Mark Tillman, Diane Delos Reyes, Lena Kanemitsu, Tanya Arakawa and Leslie Hiraga.
The inaugural event last year barely broke even due to conflicting community events that day, but Tailgate 2009 scored big with touchdown after touchdown engineered by the LHSF leadership group. All in all, about $12,000 was raised to add to the reported $3 million in the bank toward the goal of $10 million for the facility.
But raising money was not the central focus for the event promoters. Bringing awareness to the drive was the number one priority.
Judging by the reaction of the 2,000 Lunas fans and alumni in attendance, mission accomplished. Despite the scorching August heat up at the campus field (dubbed “The Imu”), the crowd was treated to a fun-filled day, a good football game and a panoramic view unique to this venue.
As special guest announcer Neil Everett of ESPN said as he took his seat in the press box and enjoyed the view from the top for the first time, “Well, it just doesn’t get any better than this now, does it?”
Now, just imagine sitting in the evening twilight watching the sun bid aloha behind Lanai and the sparkling waters of the channel twinkle in soothing glee to the senses. Imagine the Friday night lights coming on, and the Big Red Machine — your Lahainaluna Lunas — charging onto the field to carry on the sterling tradition of the school’s football program. Indeed, it just doesn’t get any better than that.
“This was impressive, how this community comes out to support Lahainaluna,” said Rogers. “And, everybody seemed to be having a great time. Beyond that, I think the awareness curve has gone way up, especially with people like Neil Everett pledging support in the future for the cause — he’s a Luna for life now. Also, we’re getting support from off-island from alumni like Kirstan Padua Lum Lung, a 1984 Lahainaluna grad, who has raised $1,000 in Las Vegas where she lives now. This is really inspiring for me.”
Special thanks goes out to Dennis Harmon of Harmon Architects, the firm that produced the technical drawings for the stadium project that were on display at the event; Farm Foreman/football head coach Bobby Watson and Alan Yamamoto; as well as the Boarding Department for all their work in preparing the field before, during and after the game.
As always, Lunas teamwork pulls through for success. And, Lunas Stadium will soon be a reality. Under Armor, Verizon, can you hear me now?