Jul 23, 2014

Mark’s Retirement Gift

Mark and his parrot Scippio Africanus aka Skippy

When Mark retired from Punahou, Punahou gave him a beautiful koa wood box, and a “blurb” in the program.   I wanted to share it because most of my friends weren’t there — in fact none of them– and I wanted you to read it.    Here it is:

“After graduating from Royal College Canada’s West Point, Mark Hanington served three years in the Canadian Navy as a submariner. As a young father, he concluded that was no way to raise a family. He left the Navy, moving his family to a small town in British Columbia where he planned to write the great Canadian novel. In the meantime, he volunteered at his children’s co-op preschool.

There he discovered his life’s passion. When he figured out that his happiest days were those he spent at preschool, he set his sights on becoming a teacher. After getting his MEd at Gonzaga University, Mark started what would become a 40-year career in teaching, 26 of which were at Punahou.

 Mark arrived at Punahou after his family decided to sell everything and go on an adventure to Hawai‘i. He began teaching fourth grade in the Winne Units. Three years later, he moved to the Academy at the invitation of the head of the social studies department. Since then, he has taught social studies, European history, ICE (a course combining English, social studies and science), computer science and math. He also served as head of the Social Studies Department and director of Summer School, but he retires as a math teacher.

 “Someone once described Mark to me as a Renaissance Man, and I think the description is appropriate,” reflects Academy Principal Kevin Conway. “More than once, I have been contacted, out of the blue, by parents who wanted to tell me how grateful they were for Mark’s above-and-beyond tutoring of their child and for his ability to bring clarity and understanding to the seemingly incomprehensible.”

Among his students, “Uncle Mark” is known for his gentle humor and for starting each class with a “Mathmagical Moment.”“Mark has demonstrated throughout his career how to reach and teach students from multiple angles,” says Academy Math Department Head Christine David. “He sees the good in all kids and is a tireless advocate for those who struggle, spending countless hours in the Learning Support Center to help students. Many graduates credit ‘Uncle Mark’ when they are asked about an influential teacher. We will miss his calm demeanor and thoughtful presence in our department.”

 In retirement he plans to pursue poetry, art and music. He’d also like to take lessons in tai chi, audit classes at the University of Hawai‘i and take art classes at the Honolulu Museum of Art. And, of course, he plans to write the great American novel.”

Sometime last year, my good friend Kulia suggested that, since Mark did not want a retirement party, we should set up a scholarship in his name.  I finally did it, with a small amount of “highly appreciated stock”  (stock I could never sell) from my great great grandfather’s company.   Mark is very pleased, and I just wanted to mention it because if anyone is going to send some $ Punahou’s way,  it would be terrific is you designated it to go to the Mark Hanington Fund.  The Fund is set up to provide financial aid for students who need it.  This is very important to Mark, since he strongly believes that since he came to Punahou, the increasing amount of financial aid which allows a more diverse population at the school is one of the things that Jim Scott has done to take it from being a good school to a  truly great one.

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Gloria. Circa 1955.

Gloria. Circa 2012.

Other than working for the American Red Cross in Korea for two years, Gloria Garvey has lived in Hawai`i since 1971. Her opinion and other writing has appeared in: The American Philatelist. Honolulu Weekly, The Honolulu Advertiser, The Honolulu Star Bulletin, The Star Advertiser, Hawai`i Reporter, Pacific Business News, Island Scene, The Design Management Journal.

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