A goodbye letter from Mr. Toyama


Long-time Kalani art teacher Gerald Toyama retires this year from teaching.

Ka Leo Staff, Student Life

Dear Kalani,

For over 18 years, it has been an honor and pleasure to have been able to work with an awesome group of educators. It was back in 2002 that Principal, Randy Ann Porus Tang hired me and entrusted me to teach the high achieving students here at Kalani High School.

When I first started I was a total wreck, unsure if I could do a good job. I knew my subject matter and thought that was enough to be a teacher. But over the years I discovered there was a lot more to teaching, that the subject you teach is only a part of the bigger picture. I believe that our mission is to help students find their passion and to be caring, contributing citizens.

Over the years, I came to the realization that life lessons are what I was actually teaching. Ceramics was just a vehicle to have students learn to be caring, to persevere, be confident, take chances, take responsibility for their actions, take pride in their work, be creative (problem solve), and much, much more. I was once told that every situation could be a teachable moment to teach a life lesson.

It was mentors such as Mike Zane, Audie Kimura, Diana Woitovitch, Sissy Harano, Van Tran, Irene Yamamoto and many more that helped me to become a caring teacher and understand the importance in what was taught.

So as I end this chapter of my life, I would like to thank all the teachers past and present who have had an enormous impact in my life.  I will always cherish your friendship and the memories that we have shared together.

With much Love and Aloha,


Gerald M. Toyama