I’ve been blessed for most of my life as I’ve been able to do the things that I truly love to do.
For 32 years my career was spent in a classroom teaching young people about life and serving as a role model. I don’t know who said it, but I’ve lived by the creed that “Teachers teach more by what they are than by what they say.”
Such is the case of Waiakea Elementary Physical Education teacher, Win Onishi.
Growing up in Hilo, Onishi enjoyed a variety of sports participation and was on the Hilo High football and wrestling teams.
Initially studying business for his first three years of college Onishi decided to pursue a career in education.
“I really enjoyed being physically active, so I checked out what my roommate was studying which was physical education and volunteered at a middle school,” Onishi said.
That short volunteer stint at a local middle school changed Onishi’s career direction as he discovered his true calling.
“Once I experienced the excitement of teaching young people to be active I was hooked,” Onishi said. “I have since taught at various schools on the Big Island before finding my niche here at Waiakea Elementary.”
And what excites Onishi about teaching for the past 29 years?
“Seeing the joy on a student’s face when he or she has experienced a positive moment in a physical performance or having that ‘Aha’ moment when they understood a cognitive concept,” Onishi explained.
Outside of work Onishi remains active in a variety of activities designed to stimulate the growth of young people.
Onishi serves as the Assistant Scoutmaster of Troop 19 and has been involved in scouting for the past 15 years.
“I got involved in scouting when my eldest son, Erik, was eight years old,” he said.
For the past 16 years Onishi has been a parent supporter of Judo, first at New Hope Judo Club and now with the Hilo Hongwanji Judo Club.
Besides his involvement with scouting and judo Onishi has been coaching Elementary Track & Field and High School Wrestling for the past 31 years.
Onishi credits most of his success to having a very supportive wife, Eileen, and three children.
“Erik is now 23, Leisha is 21 and my youngest, Adam is 14,” he said.
During school Onishi will wear a pedometer and keep track of his daily steps.
“I try to stay active with my students each day, accumulating at least 10,000 steps,” he said. “On weekends there is usually some type of activity going on, or I’ll try to get some outdoor house and yard chores done.”
As he gets older Onishi has come to realize that he needs to listen to his body more and to learn from what it is telling him
“I am becoming more conscious of what I eat, but I still eat pretty much anything, but in moderation,” he said. “As I age I am beginning to know my limits in food and in physical exercise.”
During his physical education classes Onishi teaches with a basic philosophy.
“Always remember to educate the Whole Child,” he said. “Our students are taught to respect others and to take responsibility for their own actions.”
People rarely succeed unless they are having fun at what they are doing and Win Onishi is a great example of a successful teacher.
“For many of our students PE is a fun class where lots of movement takes place,” he said. “I’ve been teaching for more than two decades and I still have that passion for what I am doing.”
Onishi is as an exemplary example of someone in our community that serves as an excellent role model for our young people.
“I hope that my students will take with them a love to stay active and healthy for the rest of their lives,” Onishi said.
In writing this story about Win Onishi I was reminded by another slogan that stayed with me for my entire teaching career and that is, “Each child comes to school with a dream and a teacher’s job is to help them realize it.”
And someday should you happen to see a happily retired public school teacher jogging around East Hawaii remember to smile, say “woof” and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”
Email the Big Dog at email@example.com.
WAIMEA – Hilo freshman, Carmen Garson-Shumway didn’t win a race this past Saturday at the Stanford W. Shutes track at Hawaii Preparatory Academy, but came away as an emerging star in Big Island Interscholastic Federation track and field.
Garson-Shumway ran in the 800 and 1500 meter races against the league’s top athlete, HPA’s Zoe Sims as both girls ran to personal records.
During the 1500 meter race Garson-Shumway clung to Sims, remaining a stride behind, before pulling up to her shoulder at the start of the final lap.
“I was trying to stay with her and that helped me to run my fastest race of my life,” Garson-Shumway said of her 5:04.87 time which gives her an automatic berth at the Hawaii High School Athletic Association championships.
Sims also ran a personal best time, clocking in at 5:01.28 and positioning herself as one of the top five girls in the state at that distance.
“It’s great to have someone push me and I credit Carmen for my personal record time,” Sims said.
Sims had goal split times going into the race that was set by her coach prior to the event and was hoping to break 5:08.
“Carmen helped me stay on pace and I surpassed my goal with her help,” Sims said. “As a distance runner there is a real comradraire amongst us as we warm up together and I’m glad we were able to push each other.”
In the 800 meter run it was the Sims and Garson-Shumway show once again, but with a different strategy.
Garson-Shumway took the early lead on the two lap race and Sims had to come from behind to capture the victory.
“I’ve never beaten Zoe, but I pulled out early in the 800 and just ran my hardest,” Garson-Shumway said. “She pushed me to another personal best time as I’m just trying to run faster in each race and hopefully peak at the right time.”
Also producing great results for the Ka Makani was senior Lana Queen who competed in the maximum six events.
Queen came away with two second place finishes in the 100 and 300 hurdles, third in the triple jump, sixth in the long jump and helped her relay team to a first place 4×400 and second in the 4×100.
“The 100 hurdles is probably my favorite race as its more about strategy then it is about physical talent,” Queen said. “I really wanted to do well today as I just turned 18 and I am finally an adult.”
Konawaena’s basketball star, Emalia Galdeira, was tearing up the track and winning just about everything she entered. Galdeira won the 100 and 200 dash, along with the 100 hurdles, but turned many heads when she leaped 17-05.25 in the long jump.
“I never thought I could hit 17 feet in the long jump,” Galdeira said. “I’m new at this event and haven’t practiced it much, but I do know that it requires speed and the ability to jump high.”
Galdeira’s long jump ranks her as one of the top competitors in the state and this may not be the end of this multi talented athlete.
“I now think it’s possible for me to go beyond 18 feet,” a confident Galdeira said.
On the far end of the field it was Hilo pole vaulter, Shina Chung, waiting patiently in her purple shoes for the bar to be raised to the state qualifying height of 9 feet.
The Viking junior needed to wait until the other 8 girls in the competition were gone before she could enter the competition.
“I need to practice with a starting height of 9 feet because that’s where they’ll start at states,” Chung said.
Chung was using a new 135 pound purple pole that was borrowed from St. Anthony on Maui.
“When we competed on Maui their coach offered to loan me the pole as purple is my favorite color,” she said.
Chung went on to clear 10 feet before dropping out at 10-06.
“I tried clearing 10-06 today, but I didn’t finish as I couldn’t follow through with my technique,” Chung said. “I was really sloppy.”
Kamehameha’s Everett McKee won the 110 hurdles, then false started in the 300 hurdles which made the Warrior senior more determined than ever.
“My false start pushed me to do my personal best in the triple jump,” McKee said. “My previous best jump was 39-07, but I was determined after being disqualified in the hurdles.”
McKee recorded a 41-04.50, good enough for third place, behind Kau winner Alika Kaopua and second place Johnny Chow of Keaau.
HPA’s George Twigg-Smith has accomplished what no other BIIF high jumper has done this season, to clear an automatic state qualifying jump.
Twigg-Smith has never gone above 5-10 in his previous years of competition, but decided, on his home field to clear 6 feet for the first time in his young life.
“I’ve been trying for the last two years to reach a state qualifying height,” Twigg-Smith said. “It makes it better to do it towards the end of the season as I’m now hoping to go higher.”
Twigg-Smith, a senior who also competes in the long and triple jumps, credits his success to having a new track facility to work on.
“This new track allows me to finally get to practice properly,” he said. “I don’t believe that I’ve peaked yet and I think I can go higher. It’s all about fundamentals and bringing up the knees and arching.”
Home track and field advantage went to the Ka Makani as their boys and girls swept the team scoring titles.
HPA girls have been at the top of team scoring throughout the season, but their boys have remained dormant, not winning a scoring meet all season until Saturday.
The BIIF season comes to conclusion with the league qualifiers on Friday, followed by the championships on Saturday at Kamehameha.