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Blackie Gadarian 2016 Vocational Scholarships awarded

By Staff | Jun 2, 2016

Pictured at the scholarship program are (from left): Sara Gadarian, Junior Moala, Andrew Vicente, Jakob Opunui and Gary Kepner.

LAHAINA – Three graduating seniors at Lahainaluna High School were awarded $1,000 vocational scholarships at the Senior Scholarship & Awards Program on May 10.

Sara Gadarian and Gary Kepner presented the awards in memory of Blackie Gadarian, former owner of Blackie’s Machine Shop, Blackie’s Bar, and Blackie’s Boat Yard in Lahaina. Sara pointed out that they were wearing Blackie’s Boat Yard bright orange work shirts.

Blackie, Sara’s late husband, was known as a very colorful character, and his trademark orange came from the early days of Blackie’s Boat Yard in Newport Beach. The boat yard started in 1964 with an empty lot and used machinery. A friend in the hardware business gave Blackie a large pail of red lead primer, which was used to keep the machinery from rusting further. After a year or two, the only color paint that would cover the primer was bright orange.

So, the orange color was used on the machinery, the tugboat and trucks, and it continued after they moved to Lahaina in 1979 to the trucks and machinery in Blackie’s Boat Yard and Blackie’s Machine Shop, the roof of Blackie’s Bar, and to the current day home and workshop on Luakini Street.

Sara announced that since 1981, 209 vocational scholarships have been awarded. The awards are not academic scholarships; they are designed to assist graduates to pursue their vocations in automotive and woodworking fields. The money is to be used to purchase tools and pay tuition and costs for advanced vocational training.

The vocational instructors recommended the deserving recipients: Junior Moala, Andrew Vicente and Jakob Opunui.

Moala is planning to go into the building and construction field. After three years of training at Lahainaluna High School, he recently was an intern at the Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort in the Engineering Department, handling furniture and room repairs.

Vicente plans to take vocational training in refrigeration or automotive skills. He completed four years of Auto Tech and three years of Auto Body, and he participated in the Auto Skills Competition in 2015.

Opunui plans to be certified as an Automotive Technician at the University of Hawaii Maui College. After three years of Auto Tech and two years of Auto Body study at Lahainaluna, Jakob worked on cars provided by customers from the community at the school’s automotive shop.