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Who will be named the next Legends of Lahainaluna?

By Staff | Nov 29, 2012


LAHAINA – The Lahainaluna High School Foundation will announce the 2012 Legends of Lahainaluna Award winners at a ceremony on Monday, Dec. 3, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the historic Pioneer Inn.

The award program honors individuals and businesses who have significantly contributed to the success of Lahainaluna and the West Maui community.

Alumni may also be nominated and awarded for the positive impacts they’ve made within the community in which they reside.

The Posthumous Award nominee is Alice Kanoekaaepunionaloni Kunae Banham (18961957), who served as the school’s boarders’ matron for 27 years, from 1929 until 1956.

During that time, she composed three songs, including “Yonder Lahaina Mountains” that is sung by the senior boarders near the end of commencement ceremonies. It is during this song that the “L” above the school is lit.


Banhan was a graduate of Kamehameha School for Girls and Philip Commercial School at the University of Hawaii. Her father and brother were graduates of Lahainaluna.

The Business/Organization nominee is the Makana Aloha Foundation, which was established in 2007 with the vision of providing seed capital to fund projects that might not otherwise be funded, as well as help provide a foundation that can be used to build upon for future projects.

Specific areas of interest include education, the arts, healthcare, animal welfare and environmental conservation.

The Makana Aloha Foundation has funded numerous projects with the Lahainaluna Agricultural Program, including a new greenhouse. It also funds the Biotechnology Program that has proven to be one of the most cutting-edge science programs in the State of Hawaii.

Andrew Kutsunai and Sue Cooley were nominated for the Individual category.


Kutsunai began teaching at Lahainaluna High School in 1961 and headed the Social Studies Department from 1964 until his retirement in 1998.

He has received numerous awards, including the 1970 Maui District Teacher of the Year, the 1972 Leader of American Secondary Education Award and the Maui District Economics Teacher of the Year in 1979.

Kutsunai joined the LHS Foundation at its inception and was instrumental in forming the organization’s scholarship awards program. That program has been growing annually, and by the 2011-12 school year had awarded more than $500,000 in scholarships to students and teachers.

According to the LHS Foundation, “Sue Cooley’s contributions to Lahainaluna High School, while relatively recent, will affect the school and the West Maui community for many generations to come.

“Sue came to the aid of the Lahainaluna High School Foundation with an unheard-of monetary donation towards the foundation’s dream of providing the school with its first-ever track, a state-of-the-art athletic field, new scoreboard and stadium lights for future night games.

“Her subsequent large donations will make it possible to finish the project, which will provide seating for 3,000 fans, a press box and required facilities needed to host home football games.”

The suggested donation per person is $100 for Tuesday’s ceremony, which includes buffet dinner and dessert, hosted bar, entertainment and the awards ceremony.

ESPN television and radio personality Neil Everett will emcee the event. The foundation invites all Lahainaluna supporters to attend.

Tickets may be purchased at www.lahainalunahighschoolfoundation.org (click on the “Donate Now” button and check the “Other” category for ticket purchases).

Call Jeff Rogers, LHSF development coordinator, at 214-2938 for direct purchases or more information.

Net proceeds from the event will support the LHSF Endowment Fund.