Keaau P.E. Teacher, Jon Taketa, a Great Role Model
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit,” Aristotle wrote.
Forming good habits and setting positive examples on a daily basis is what we all aspire to do and for a Keaau High physical education teacher it has become a way of life.
Jon Taketa is one of a handful of teachers for the Cougars that started when the high school first opened in 1999.
“Like anywhere else, our students have their own dreams and aspiration for a successful future,” Taketa said. “On the flip side, many students must overcome adversities faced daily.”
Taketa serves as a good role model in the world of health and fitness as he consistently demonstrates the benefits of regular physical exercise.
“I had plenty of positive role models growing up in my teachers and coaches,” he said.
Taketa got involved in organized sports when he was in kindergarten when he played both basketball and baseball.
“Both my parents were pretty good athletes during their prime,” he said with a grin. “So I guess you could say that I was destined to have some interest in sports.”
By third grade Taketa was playing football and by seventh grade he added golf to his sports repertory.
“I played baseball and football all four years at Waiakea High and basketball in my freshman and sophomore years,” Taketa said.
Graduating from high school in 1984 Taketa had little trouble figuring out what he wanted to major in during college.
“I knew I enjoyed helping out children as I was already working at summer fun and coaching youth baseball,” he said. “I thought that teaching physical education would be a fun thing to do and it was right up my alley.”
Taketa also credits the many teachers and coaches that served as his role models during those early years.
“I had plenty of positive role models such as Dennis Maedo, Warren Miyasaki, Mildred Kaneshiro, Ken Yamase, Dennis Kagawa, Jimmy Correa, Wil Okabe and Harry Kim, to name a few,” Taketa said. “Most importantly, my main role models while growing up were my parents. Until this day, they still try to live active lifestyles.”
Taketa believes that Keaau High has the best facilities and he appreciates the staff in the PE department which makes it fun for him to go to work each day.
Today this veteran P.E. teacher is living in his perfect dream job.
“P.E. teachers have the best jobs in the world,” he said. “It allows us to workout with the students and stay in shape at the same time. Students appreciate this and it can also be a motivating factor for them to excel in class.”
Taketa’s satisfaction comes in knowing that his students have applied what they learned in their later lives.
“It is especially rewarding to see former students living healthy and active lifestyles,” Taketa said. “While in my classes I tell them that I provide the tools and knowledge and it is up to them to apply it and to live productive and successful lives.”
Staying in shape for Taketa is easy as he will work out with his students during weight training, core workouts and in walking countless miles.
“If not in school I will try to walk at least five times a week for up to 2 or 3 miles each time,” he said. “My wife and I enjoy taking our daughter in her jogging stroller for long walks in the neighborhood.”
Taketa will also do body weight and dumbbell exercises at home a minimum of twice a week and he will stretch on a daily basis.
“I enjoy mountain biking whenever I can and I will do weekly yard work, which I enjoy,” Taketa added.
Having a young daughter has motivated Taketa to take better care of what he puts into his body.
“Now that I have a daughter, what I eat needs to give me the daily energy requirements to efficiently perform my fatherly duties,” he said. “It’s become a challenge to maintain my optimal weight since her birth.”
Taketa will eat lots of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis which includes lots of water consumption and extra carbohydrates on the weekends.
“Personally, it gives me peace of mind in knowing that I try my best to practice what I preach,” he said. “I’ll try my best to be a positive role model for my students and by staying in shape and eating healthy it keeps me one step ahead of the game!”
Taketa also teaches a class called Gifted and Talented Physical Education.
“Students in the GTPE class advocate the importance of physical education and healthy lifestyles through hands on lessons in physical fitness,” Taketa said. “Cross age tutoring and peer education principles are addressed in class. The primary beneficiaries of this class are the students at Keaau Elementary and our special needs students at our high school.”
Jon Taketa is one of the many great role models in our community that teach and/or coach our youngsters in being the very best they can be.
“As long as I’m teaching PE, I’d like to keep on being a positive role model by staying in shape, and of being in sound mind and body. By participating with my students, whether it’s just walking a mile or lifting weights with them,” Taketa said.
And someday should you happen to see a retired public school teacher trying to do the best that he can be remember to smile, say “woof” and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”
Email the Big Dog at firstname.lastname@example.org.