Henry Kaulia '82 was a beloved Pacific alumnus and dedicated teacher and coach. Now, his friends are honoring his memory with a scholarship for students who want to follow in his footsteps.Wanda Laukkanen | Writer
Friends of Henry Kaulia ’82—a popular Pacific alumnus and Gaston (Ore.) High School teacher—are starting an endowed scholarship in his name to be awarded to a junior or senior Hawaiian student interested in pursuing a career in education. Preference will be given to students from Leeward Oahu. The scholarship will be renewable through the student’s enrollment in Pacific’s master of arts in teaching program.
Kaulia died in a car accident in 2006 at age 45. More than 800 people came to his funeral at the high school gym, paying tribute to a man who many said coached as he lived: with discipline, teamwork and respect.
Now, Kaulia’s friends, Kyle Kobashigawa ’87 of Forest Grove and Bob ’64 and Sunny Iboshi ’67 of Hillsboro, Ore., hope to encourage others to fund the scholarship because of “our love for Henry and our belief in his life,” Bob Iboshi said.
If you ask former Gaston High students about the effect Kaulia had in his 24-year career, the most common word uttered is “respect.”
“Coach K,” as he was often called by his students, “treated everyone that he encountered, no matter how great or small, with the utmost respect (and) expected the students he taught and coached to treat others with respect at all times, and to have respect for themselves,” said Tania Hand ’04, who was a senior at Gaston High when Kaulia began student-teaching there. Now associate director of admissions at Pacific, Hand worked with Kaulia as athletic director, office manager and registrar at Gaston Junior/Senior High School in the late 1990s, and all three of her children attended school there.
Kaulia grew up on Hawaii’s Leeward Oahu Coast and came to Pacific as a football player after being named the state’s High School Lineman of the Year. When he first started teaching at Gaston, “he was so committed to teaching and coaching that Henry rode his bicycle to and from Gaston while living in Forest Grove until he could afford his first car,” Hand said.
He also quietly donated his coaching stipends to the “Special K” fund, which, to this day, provides money for Gaston students who need help for athletic fees or equipment.
Today, the gym at Gaston High School carries Kaulia’s name. Each April 9, on the anniversary of his death, the morning announcements at the school include the Rainbow Song in Kaulia’s honor.