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Foundation thrives under Diane Delos Reyes’ leadership

By Staff | Oct 29, 2009

Delos Reyes

LAHAINA — Lahainaluna High School has stood along Maui’s leeward foothills for some 176 years as a community beacon illuminating the proud tradition of the West Side community.

For six-and-a-half years, Diane Delos Reyes was the guiding light of the Lahainaluna High School Foundation, an organization that finds ways to support and nurture the cherished tradition of the oldest public learning institution west of the Rockies.

On Sept. 1 of this year, Delos Reyes retired as the charter executive director of the LHS Foundation, after a month-long transition effort with her replacement, Leslie Hiraga.

“Lahainaluna is a treasure that the community holds dear to its heart,” said Delos Reyes, as she relaxed at home last week and looked forward to caring for her four grandchildren and spending time with her husband, Walter, her daughter and two sons.

“We have certainly been blessed in the years gone by, and now I see no limits on what the foundation can do — not only for the school, but for the entire community as well.”

Indeed, it has been an active six-and-a-half years for the foundation under Delos Reyes’ direction in support of the rich culture of Lahainaluna. She puts a scholarship program that has awarded upwards of $230,000 to graduates to further their education at the top of the list, and she praised Andrew Kutsunai, the foundation scholarship chairman and a former Lahainaluna history teacher, for “making it go.”

Other important projects included the Boarders’ Field renovation that saw the installation of a traditional kahua (hula stage). This effort became the first step of the Ka Malu Ula campaign to promote fine arts facilities on campus.

“Here we’ve had Dr. Darcel Gilbert as the spearhead to bring progress and appreciation of arts and culture to the school — she’s been amazing,” said Delos Reyes.   

The foundation has been the backbone of “Redo the Imu,” a $10 million project to bring a state-of-the-art athletic and special events facility to the school. Jeff Rogers has led this effort as the development coordinator of the organization with other projects, including a bleacher promotion and LHS Friends of the Library.

“There are so many people that have helped the organization be a success,” explained Delos Reyes. “Rob Shelton (current president) is the most amazing guy on the West Side in getting things done and always being positive. Mike Nakano (LHS principal) has always maintained his dreams and visions for the school, and I’ll always respect him for this.”

The list continued to grow as Delos Reyes praised the work of former foundation Treasurer Charlie Fox and Board Member Richard “Noosh” Nishihara for their support of the organization.

“All of these people, board members and alumni alike, worked so hard to make things work for the school and the community,” she said.

“What a mentor she has been,” said incoming director Hiraga. “Diane has put forth a phenomenal effort for the foundation and really has made the transition a smooth one. She is so full of information that she shares with me, and she continues to be a mentor and a volunteer for us. What a fantastic lady she is!”

Delos Reyes was honored with a retirement party at the Lahainaluna campus last month, where she received an honorary diploma and valedictorian pin. With her entire family being Lahainaluna graduates, Delos Reyes was thrilled to be honored with the red and white cap and gown.

She beamed, “I got my diploma from Lahainaluna!”