|Adam & Cathy Paikai
1966-86: The Brothers gave me an opportunity to grow as a
person and student by accepting me into the Order and sending me to their
Houses of Formation at Lakewood, New Jersey, West Park, New York and Lockport,
Illinois. 1970, I completed my BA
in Social Studies Education from Lewis University, Lockport, Illinois.
1970, my first teaching job as a Monk was at
Brother Rice High School Chicago, Illinois. I coached football there and formed friendships with staff
that I still maintain today. 1972,
I left the Order and went to work at a state facility teaching severely
emotionally disturbed adolescents.
In ’74, I was contacted by a production
company to fly back home and surprise
my mom at a birthday Luau that was being filmed as a Primo
commercial. You might remember the commercial airing during the 70s.
Fall of ’74, I enrolled in University of
Illinois Graduate School of Social Work.
Ironically, I had applied at UH but had
to establish residency before
being accepted. U
of I offered a
Fellowship, so off I went and as fate prevailed, in grad courses, I met the
love of my life, my wife Cathy.
Last August, we celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary. 1976, I earned my Masters of Social
Work Degree. Using
my degree I
worked as a School Social Worker and coached at Argo High School, Hinsdale
Central and South High Schools.
From 1978 through 1986, I expanded my
professional career by being a
Grant Director for a County Truancy Program and a principal of several
alternative high schools. During
this time period, my daughter Sarah was born in 1981 and my son Steve in
1984. Sarah graduated from U
in 2003. She is a Product Manager
for InGEAR Corp. Steve
is a senior
at U of I. He will complete his
degree and is interested pursuing a career as a musician. Currently he is in a cover band
performing at several bars on campus.
Everyone in the family will receive at
least one degree from U of
I. Around this area, a degree
U of I is considered quiet an accomplishment.
I begin my longest stretch as a building
administrator in the same school district. With eighteen years in the district, I was an assistant
principal at Waubonsie Valley H.S. for twelve years and a principal for one
year at Hill Middle School and five years at Granger Middle School. I opened Granger as the first principal
and within five years it grew to a student population of 1200. During ’87-05 time period, I had
several significant professional accomplishments. I presented workshops on School Administration Technology
Applications and Service Learning Curriculum at national conferences in
Orlando, San Francisco, New Orleans, Denver, New York, Anaheim, etc. Under my leadership, Granger Middle
School became known statewide as a model school for Service Learning programs
and was awarded national grants. In 1996, I earned my doctorate in Education
Administration from Northern Illinois University. My last honor in the district was being selected to the
Waubonsie Valley Athletic Hall of Fame.
June, 2005, I retired from public
education. The following fall I
continued my professional career as an assistant principal at a catholic high
school, Gurein College Prep H.S.
When my wife retires as a public education
administrator in a couple
years, I will also retire for good.
the past twenty years I have been an avid
golfer and most recently I enjoy traveling to various establishments hanging
out with my daughter and wife in the audience listening and singing along with
my son’s band. Of
course I am
biased, but I believe my daughter’s “gift of gab” that she uses in business
comes from my mom and my son’s musical skills from my dad.
MY MEMOIRS OF DAMIEN
How fortuitous that my mom read an article in
the Star Bulletin about a new Catholic all boys high school having an entrance
exam for incoming freshmen to establish the first class at Damien
Memorial. Out of respect for her
wishes, I enrolled into an institution that was operated by religious brothers
with uniform restrictions of three types of haircuts, dress shirts, ties, dress
shoes and pants with belt loops.
Having come from Alimanu Intermediate
School where casual wear was acceptable
and lay teachers instructed, I was in for a rude awaking regarding work ethic
demands, higher behavior standards, and strong academic competition amongst
who do I meet during the first couple weeks
of school but my bus riding buddies from Aliamanu: Tony Santos, Mike Taylor,
etc. At school, I also gravitated
toward the more outgoing crowd like “Legs”, Sam, Ricky, “Kiko”, Louie, Juv,
Darryl, Johnny Joe, “Barf”, Jose, Floyd, Tony, “Rayloc”, and company. Most of these gentlemen were also on
the Saturday crew that Brother Regan relied on for four years to work on
projects around school. Hot
and slushes were payment fare throughout the years until the end of our final
year when Brother gave us a banquet at Star Chop Suey. My belief that students can contribute
to their community by participating in Service Learning was developed from this
other values were instilled into me during
those formative years? How
gaining confidence as a person because your friends supported and believed in
you? Remember when Jose needed
help to repair his ’59 Impala, we were there for him. How about demonstrating
organizational skills? Remember
how we pooled our funds during lunch time for nocturnal weekend activities. How about the comfort and loyalty we
received from each others parents who feed us, sheltered us, defended us, and
treated us like their own sons?
Almost all of our parents would wake
up in the morning count heads and
cooked breakfast for us. M/M
Tolbert would let us chill at their house between double sessions. Juvie’s parents, during my senior year,
let us use their basement like an apartment where we could come and go anytime
close did we continue to be over the
years? Whenever I came home,
could count on the gang to provide “Hawaiian Hospitality” for myself and my
family. Billy Rees taught my kids
to surf and set up Catamaran rides for the family. Juvie’s family hosted my family at the Outrigger Club.
Kiko had a pot luck party for my family
with all the boys there. When
Kiko, “Barf,” and Floyd visited the “Windy City” I made sure we hung out and
definitely had them feast on Chicago Style hot dogs and pizza.
looking forward to our Reunion. We
are the First Graduating Class from
Damien. I believe in some way,
were all successful with our career and life. I believe we can hold our heads up high as models for
students who followed us and will continue to follow us. I think it is an
awesome idea creating the “Memorial Walkway” because it validates what we have
done during our life time. It
allows us to memorialize those who went before us, Louie, Jose, etc.
to the Reunion Committee for all their hard work.
Thanks for organizing
the events, contacting the alumni, and
encouraging people to make the trip.
Aloha Nui Loa to Floyd,
Joe, Larry, Sam, Jerry, and Al. I am looking forward to seeing all who
can make it to the reunion