Everett Ohta (’01)
Counsel for Environmental Law and Native Rights, Office of Hawaiian Affairs
ULSF Board Vice-President, ULS Governing Board, ULS Alumni Association
I’ve often joked that much of my life revolved, literally, around the intersection of Dole Street and University Avenue. After graudating from the Lab School in 2001, I crossed the street to attend the University of Hawaiʻi for college. Then, five years later, I crossed the street again to attend the William S. Richardson School of Law at UH Mānoa.
Some pau hanas at the Japanese restaurant on the corner, notwithstanding, it wasn’t until four years ago that I completed the cycle by reconnecting with ULS. Despite going to school and working in the area, I admittedly lost touch with ULS happenings after graduation. The ULS corner remained largely unchanged throughout the years and I was busy with new experiences on a different side of campus. I would receive the occasional email from Lanning Lee, the long-time News Feed of the alumni, but never attended any of the events or get togethers.
It wasn’t until I became an active alumnus of the UH Law School and my undergraduate program did I fully realize the necessity of a broad support base--especially alumni--in the continued success of an institution. After meeting a few board members at the ULS Golf Tournament, I began volunteering with the ULS Alumni Association, before branching off to join other ULS support organizations.
Through my time on the ULS Governing Board, ULS Foundation, and ULS Alumni Association, I’ve been able to meet graduates from the 50s (Aunty Grace!) through present-day ULS students and their families. Although we may refer to it by different names--University High, UH Lab, the Education Laboratory School, or the University Laboratory School—we share a common understanding that this place fosters a close-knit community that supports a thriving, well-rounded, and high-quality education with a statewide reputation for excellence.
But, I’ve also come to know that despite its stable source of charter school funding, our school still has many needs. After all, the ULS corner has remained largely unchanged throughout the years. So too has the educational experience, despite years of losses to similar “non-core” offerings across the public education system.
If you’re reading this, you likely are already a supporter of ULS. Thank you for the many ways that you have given back. But, if you are willing and able, please share your enthusiasm for our school with your family or friends, especially those long-time friends made from your days at ULS. See if they’d be interested in joining you at the ULS Golf Tournament on July 6th (gratuitous plug! - https://www.ulsfoundation.org/golf-tournament), the July 7th Alumni Dinner, the March Pāʻina and Cultural Festival, or any of the other ULS events put on each year. They’re all great and will place you amongst like-minded supporters of the diverse and balanced educational experience that we all value.
I will see you there!