Vickers Family Inspires New Student Body

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Photo by Mehana Lee

Mr. and Mrs. Robert and Mary Vickers honor senior Kaylee Correa for raising over $3000 for the Kraig Vickers Foundation. The Vickers were in Keopuolani to welcome returning students to KSM on the first day of school, also the one-year anniversary of the passing of their son, U.S. soldier Kraig Vickers, who was killed in action in Afghanistan on August 6, 2011.

Maya Nitta

By Reid Cairme, Sports Editor

PUKALANI – Mr. and Mrs. Robert and Mary Vickers welcomed returning students to school today with messages of thanks, faith, and hope. “What ever you do, do it for the LORD,” Robert Vickers said.

The Vickers’ are parents to Senior Chief Kraig Vickers, a U.S. Navy explosive ordinance disposal specialist whose helicopter was shot down while in Afghanastan.

Chief Vickers, brother of  Kamehameha Maui football coach Robert Vickers Jr, died on August 6, 2011, as a result of an insurgent attack on the military helicopter in which he was riding on his way to render assistance to another unit under attack.

Raspy and weak from recent surgery, Mr. Robert Vickers Sr. spent the morning of the one-year anniversary of his son’s passing with the KSM high school, a special place for him.

He said that it was an honor to be among students who were chosen as the “elite” Hawaiian students on Maui, and he shared how his heart was warmed to hear the students sharing their faith in the Lord and Jesus Christ, as he had his religious awakening rather late in his life.

“Im happy to know that he put God first in his life,” senior Chayce Tancayo said. “It meant a lot knowing that.”

After the assembly, Mr. Vickers told about how he had held a bible study session three days before the passing of his son.

“The LORD prepared me in that bible study with Ezekiel,” he said. “God’s will is perfect, and while we were devastated by the loss of our son, we knew that he was in a better place.”

The Vickers met other people who shared in the grief over the loss of Kraig Vickers and the other soldiers who perished when he was shot down and who were also inspired to spread the word of God.

“We created an `ohana with the parents of other fallen soldiers,” Mr. Vickers said. They created the Kraig Vickers Foundation, whose aim is to help military families in need. Since Chief Kraig Vickers was an avid sportsman, outdoorsman and coach, the Foundation also hopes to promote physical fitness through fundraisers such as yesterday’s Honor Run.

Senior Kaylee Correa spoke about her efforts to help the Vickers family. She said that last year she negotiated a fundraising deal with Maui Interscholastic League Executive Director Joe Balangitao. Through this arrangement, more than $3000 in profits from Tutti Frutti frozen yogurt sales at MIL events last year were donated to the Vickers Foundation.

Faculty and students were all inspired by today’s guest speaker.

“It [Mr. and Mrs. Vickers’ speeches] told me to always strive for your dreams,” freshman Kahaia Morishita said.

Previous to the keynote speakers, staff, faculty and an ‘olelo no’eau from Kahu Kalani Wong greeted the students who gathered in Keopuolani ready for the start of school.

In addition to the mo’olelo, Kaleihoku Kubota welcomed each class, including the incoming freshmen, whose class color is pink.

9-10 Principal Mr. Lance Cagasan challenged this year’s seniors to be leaders not only in school, but in the community as well. He also commended sophomore Regina Kuhia for being one of three state finalists in the America the Beautiful Essay Contest, sponsored by Rand McNally and USA Today. He also presented her with her award, a Nook.

Academies Principal Ms. Jay-R Kaawa announced this year’s theme, “He ‘Ohana Kakou or “We are a family.”

Health Occupations Students of America adviser, Ms. Brandy Cajudoy, also commended several seniors for their achievements over the summer, including Sarina Kong, who earned a gold medal in Job Interview at the Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America conference in Orlando.

Ms. Cajudoy also commended senior Kailee Tabaco, who was recognized by the national HOSA organization for her outstanding community service efforts.