Gratitude for a Life of Opportunities
In the last seven decades, Dana Harimoto '59 Izumi has played many roles at Punahou: student, teacher, parent, grandparent, volunteer and donor. For Dana, it's been the greatest privilege to be a part of the Punahou family, a community that set the groundwork for a life of learning and teaching.
Over the years, her gratitude has deepened as she witnessed her three children and five grandchildren create their own life journeys at Punahou.
Giving back to a school that gave so much to Dana and her family seemed only fitting, and recently they established the Allan K. Izumi '57 and Dana Harimoto '59 Izumi Family Endowment Fund.
"After my husband passed away in 2012, my family discussed what we could do to honor his legacy and perpetuate our love for Punahou. Our hope is that these contributions will go toward furthering the academic mission and initiatives for the benefit of students and teachers," says Dana, noting that the diversity of the school's curriculum and focus on critical thinking are the gifts her family received from a Punahou education.
Dana's own journey at Punahou began as a first-grader in 1947, a time when her classroom was a temporary building used during World War II, and the student population consisted of just a handful of Asian Americans, including Dana and her sister, Dale Harimoto '62 Ball. She traces her love of discovery and learning back to her formative years at Punahou and praises the teachers for setting high academic standards. She also had a lot of fun, whether it was pulling wagons filled with tropical flowers around Chamberlain Field for May Day or performing at ballet recitals under the direction of her teacher, the legendary Josephine Flanders.
Allan came to Punahou as a ninth-grader, and although he and Dana knew each other and even went to a dance together when he was a senior and she a sophomore, it wasn't until they were reunited as undergraduates at the University of California, Berkeley when they began to date. After graduating, Dana went on to receive her teaching credential at San Francisco State University and Allan was admitted to the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine. He later attended the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, specializing in dermatology. The couple married and in 1970, they moved back to Honolulu, where Allan established his practice and Dana began her 13-year teaching career at Punahou as a first-grade, and later, fourth-grade teacher.
"Allan's passion for learning and teaching mirrored mine," Dana shares with warm sentiment. While he had a successful dermatology practice for 30 years, Allan also taught at the John A. Burns School of Medicine and volunteered at the Spark M. Matsunaga VA Medical Center, even up to the point when he became ill with cancer. His message to his children, Kristin Izumi-Nitao '84, Kim Izumi '85 Van Dyke and Robert Izumi '88, and his five grandchildren, was always the same – Punahou is a lifetime opportunity. Never take anything for granted and seize the infinite opportunities in front of you.
"Looking back now, I am so grateful to my parents for enabling me to attend Punahou. Their support, along with the support and generosity of many generations of Punahou families makes me realize our obligations to do the same for future generations of students and teachers. I know Allan wouldn't want it any other way," says Dana.
Susan Nakamura is a freelance writer and mother of Ana '20.