Donor Stories

Hata and Simon Families

Mrs. Emi Hata and her daughter and son-in-law, Akemi and Gary Simon, have been generous donors to the Case Middle School campaign and to the completion of the Josephine Flanders Dance Pavilion. In each case, they have made their giving decisions as a family, reflecting the values and experiences shared across generations.
Mrs. Emi Hata, widow of businessman Tamotsu Hata, raised two daughters who loved to dance. The girls fondly remember taking ballet lessons in Manoa from Mrs. Kimura and Reiko Takakuwa '44 Oda, mother of dancers Bonnie Oda '69 Homsey and Jill Oda '72 Woomer. Their father had originally wanted the girls to attend Punahou but they preferred to remain at their chosen school. Today, Hisao Simon '15, a Punahou fifth-grader, is fulfilling his grandfather's long-held dream.

"Our parents and grandparents valued education," explains Gary Simon, executive director of St. Francis Hospice. "Now, as parents, we value education, and in particular, we value an education at Punahou."To illustrate, Simon recalls a recent scene at home where son Hisao and nephew Nicholas '13 tackled a class assignment about which spot on earth would experience the longest day. "The boys knew that the tilt of the earth's axis held the answer," Simon says, "but they challenged each other to agree on an explanation. They got out a flashlight for the sun and used their fists as tilted earths, and took turns explaining which hemisphere was in which season and which pole was having the longer day, and why."

Simon describes how he and Akemi watched with delight, impressed by the boys' mastery of the subject matter. "But," he adds, "we were more impressed with their ability to articulate the reasoning behind their ideas. It was then that Akemi and I turned to each other and said, 'That's why we send them to Punahou.'"

Gary Simon concludes: "Our son Hisao's time at Punahou is very short. Our gifts to the school are for the many generations that will come later."
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