Inoke Funaki gave the Kahuku High Baccalaureate Speech

KL = Kaleo: Koolauloa News

Telling the seniors and parents gathered in Kahuku’s cafeteria on May 24 for the annual baccalaureate service that they should set goals, plan and prepare for the future, Inoke Funaki said:
“There are so many people who have left this high school and are doing amazing things. Those are shoulders you can step on, who can help you in your careers.” (KL)

KL Note: “Baccalaureate addresses differ somewhat from other graduation speeches in that they’re usually given on a Sunday and they often contain a religious message. In addition to his athletic skills, Funaki served a Spanish-speaking mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Dominican Republic after graduating from Kahuku.”

About the changes he’s experience over the past few years, Inoke said:
“These past couple of years have been a different experience for me, but I’m definitely grateful for the roots I have here.” (KL)

Using the metaphor of a pearl forming when a living oyster tries to protect itself from a foreign irritant, Inoke said:
“Who would have thought that something so annoying could be the cause of something beautiful? Who would have thought something as annoying as having to wake up early and go to school and having to do homework assignments —and the stress of taking a test, and the anxiety of waiting for the results — would produce such useful results?” (KL)

About how he used to dread giving oral presentations, Inoke said:
“yet such irritating things have shaped and molded each one of you into being the precious pearls that you already are. I want to commend each of you for your accomplishments, but this is not the end — just the ending of the beginning part of your life.” (KL)

About how his former Kahuku football coach Siuaki Livai, who he called a “great philosopher” advised him, Inoke said:
“There are three types of people in this world: Those that make things happen, those that watch things happen, and those that wonder what happened… Don’t merely exist in this world. Live life to its full potential… Preparation plus opportunity equals success.” (KL)

KL Note: “He also paraphrased a “wise turtle” who once upon a time advised a Panda bear that “yesterday is past, and tomorrow’s the future, which is why today is a present.”

Funaki, who received his bachelor’s degree in psychology last December (but still has one more season of football eligibility as he starts graduate school at UH), told of following his father and namesake — BYU–Hawaii psychology professor Inoke Funaki — into that field of study.”

Inoke said that Psychology appeals to him because it demonstrates the power of the mind, adding:
“hard work beats out talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” (KL)

Encouraging the graduates to follow the examples their role models have set, Inoke said:
“You’ve had wonderful teachers, principals, and staff. Whatever goals you have set for yourselves after graduation — whether it’s to go to college or work, whatever career you desire to pursue — I promise that you can achieve it.” (KL)

About giving the Baccalaureate Speech, Inoke said that he felt:
“privileged to come back to the school and community. I love this community. This is where my roots are. To come back and share some of my words and experiences means a lot to me.” (KL)

KL Note: “After Kahuku’s Vocal Motion music group sang, Kahuku High Athletic Director Joe Whitford responded on behalf of the school administration and faculty, praising Funaki as “a fantastic example.””


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