Eric Kusunoki

2016 Old School Awardee
By Erin Teruya ’93 Kinney

When Eric Kusunoki earned his professional diploma and teaching certificate from University of Hawai‘i – Manoa in 1973, he applied for a job at every public and many private schools in the state. None had openings, and his only job offer came from Punahou.

It was a fortuitous selection that would change countless lives over the 41 years Kusunoki would serve at Punahou.

“As a Punahou teacher, coach, advisor and musician, he has given countless hours beyond the normal school day to all areas of the Punahou community,” wrote Rocky Higgins ’68.

In his retirement, Kusunoki volunteers by serving lunch twice per cycle to kindergartners and first-graders at the Omidyar K – 1 Neighborhood. His Thursday afternoons are spent with third-grade kumu in Winne, and he also participates as a mentor in the Academy Bridge program.

He continues to coach football and baseball and has been a member of the Punahou O-Men for 42 years.

Kusunoki is also a regular donor at the Blood Bank of Hawaii (186 pints so far), but Higgins can attest, “For a nonalumnus, I do not know of anyone who bleeds Buff ’n Blue more than Eric Kusunoki.”
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