KHS Unveils New Mascot, Logo Shop

BY RYAN OZAWA | Kukui High Courier — As part of an ongoing digital makeover that’s transforming the campus, school administrators today unveiled the new Kukui High School mascot, and announced a new online logo shop.

“KHS has never looked better, and our new mascot captures our spirit perfectly,” said vice principal Rap Bumatai. “The kukui nut is tough, it burns bright… and it’s just a little bit kolohe.”

The re-imagined KHS mascot, affectionately known as “Mr. Nut,” was designed by local KHS booster Valentino Valdez.

“The surfboard says Hawaii,” Valdez said, “But everything else, from his flaming torch of a head to his kukui nut lei, says, ‘Go Nuts!'”

It is hoped the new mascot, pictured without a top hat and monacle, will also resolve a long-standing trademark dispute between KHS and the Planters Peanut Co.

Meanwhile, the new logo shop will allow KHS students, staff, and alumni to show off their KHS pride. Valdezign created a special “Fighting Nuts!” design that specifically evokes the high school designs of years past, and which can now be found on shirts, sweaters, and tank tops.

The shop also offers “Student of the Month” bumper stickers, featuring the official KHS seal.

“With so many of our former students coming together online, we wanted to give them something tangible to wear and share,” Bumatai said.

In celebration of the launch, the KHS logo shop is also offering two free iPhone wallpaper designs. KHS community members and fans can install the striking color images of “Mr. Nut” on their smartphones to carry him everywhere they go.

And Valdez said there are more great KHS logo items to come.

“Shirts for pets, water bottles, underwear… the sky is the limit,” he said. “This is a great start, though, and I hope the KHS community embraces this and helps spread the word.”

Recent designs by Valdez include Abercrombie & Schatz shirts, customized Twitter shirts, and two logos for the Honolulu Twestival. For more information, visit

KHS Yearbook Goes Online

BY KEYSER SOZE | Kukui High Courier — As the KHS community recovers from the tragic loss of historic Freeman Hall earlier this year, the school yearbook program is seizing the opportunity to evolve beyond its once-a-year hardcopy history.

“The school finally got a website this year, and finally got onto Facebook and onto Twitter — the future is now,” said yearbook advisor Momi Lomilomi. “Why do the same old thing, when we can put everything online faster, and update it more frequently?”

Although construction of the new and improved Freeman Hall is well ahead of schedule, the old building took with it over half a century of records, including rosters of past students, staff, and alumni. Lomilomi and her students have embarked on an ambitious project to reconstruct the history of KHS on the web.

“We’re putting out the call far and wide to anyone who was ever part of the Kukui High School family,” she said. “Send in your information, and we’ll put it in our new online yearbook as soon as we can.”

Some of the earliest yearbook entries include former yearbook staffer turned journalist Erika Engle, long-time dance star Elizabeth Ahana, and former football quarterback turned airline pilot Will Lee.

The virtual KHS yearbook can be found on the new KHS website at People are invited to send in their names, their graduating year (or the years they attended), and a list of any school clubs they were in, or any awards they have won.

“We’d also love to know what our graduates are doing now,” Lomilomi added. “And extra credit for including a photo!”

KHS Alums Appointed to Crime Task Force

BY TAIYO RA MEN | Kukui High Courier — Two Kukui High School alumni have been appointed by Gov. Pat Jameson to serve on a new, high-level task force to address organized crime in Hawaii.

The task force is so new, it doesn’t yet have a name, and has barely set up its office downtown. But the Kukui High Courier has learned that KHS alum Steve McGarrett was personally sought out by Gov. Jameson to take charge.

McGarrett then asked fellow KHS grad Chin Ho Kelly to join him.

McGarrett’s return to Hawaii comes after a storied military career, inspired by his grandfather, who died in the attack on Pearl Harbor. After graduating from KHS, he went on to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. He worked in naval intelligence for five years, then served another six years with the Navy SEALS.

McGarrett returned to Hawaii this week to attend the funeral of his father, John McGarrett, a decorated Honolulu Police Department officer who was recently killed in the line of duty.

Kelly, meanwhile, was the star quarterback for the KHS football program in its heyday in the late ’90s. He set several team and conference records (only to have them broken by McGarrett when he led the team to the state championships a few years later).

Joining the task force is a homecoming of sorts for Kelly, as he had served with HPD in the 7th precinct alongside McGarrett’s father for more than 15 years. However, Kelly left HPD under a cloud of suspicion. Until this week, he was a familiar fixture at the U.S.S. Missouri in Pearl Harbor, where he worked security and helped tourists at Sliders Grill.

Other members of the task force include Kelly’s cousin, Kona Kalakaua, a police cadet expected to graduate later this week, and Det. Danny Williams, a recent transplant to the islands.

John McGarrett’s death is still under investigation. Sources suggest that he was held prisoner in his beachfront cottage in Aina Haina before being murdered by associates of alleged crime lord Victor Hess. But Gov. Jameson says the ugly incident was the reason she formed the task force.

“[His] death was a wake up call to me and every law enforcement agency in Hawaii,” she said.

The group will have full immunity and blanket authority to go after criminals like those responsible for McGarrett’s father’s death, Gov. Jameson said, adding, “no red tape.”