Historic Class Of ’57 Ready To Rock
Kailua High School’s 1957 graduating class has a big 55-year reunion week coming up, and it’s sure to be full of pride and laughter.
“We’re having a luau and a sock hop,” said Pua’ala Bugbee Fisher, “but many of the boys use walkers and only the girls are still tough.” Fisher, an avid golfer who was head KHS cheerleader, said they have about 125 alumni coming to the festivities, though nearly that many have already passed on.
And the class doesn’t get enough recognition, she believes. “We were the first graduating class of Kailua High School. We planted grass and trees on the campus (at what is now Kailua Intermediate School).
“And we had Shigeru Hotoke for our music teacher,” Fisher added, bringing up a sore point. “He belonged to us first, and a lot of the boys have been very frustrated about it (printed stories about more-recent choir students). “We were the first Madrigals,” she said proudly.
The late Hotoke began with 16 students in 1954 in a choral program that swelled to more than 500 a few years later, drawing in flocks of enthusiastic teenagers who followed him on tour all over the world. The school’s music building now bears his name.
Fisher’s classmate Peter Bermudez, now a Kaneohe resident, also provided a program from the high school’s first annual choir concert in 1956, directed by Hotoke and complete with ads from Stewart Pharmacy and Lynde’s Fountain. The ambitious concert featured about 50 voices, solos, a band and a barbershop quartet.
The class marked its 50th reunion in Las Vegas in 2007, and is preparing for a weeklong party July 16-21 right here in Windward Oahu: a picnic at Kailua Beach Park, golf at Bay View Golf Course, Sea Life Park and lunch, a sock hop in the old cafeteria (with dress and dance contests), and a luau at Pali Lanes.