Alumni News

STEVE UYEHARA '94: MR. SUNRISE, MR. DAMIEN

Most of us have surely seen the handsome, animated face of Steve Uyehara on television before, as well as at Damien Memorial School events.  Uyehara’s gig for the past eight-and-a-half years has been at the Hawaii News Now morning show aptly named Sunrise, so he is always in the news.  But in the February 3, 2016 edition of the MidWeek news magazine, Uyehara appears in print media on the front page with his beaming, “sly” smile.  The accompanying story is aptly entitled Meet Mr. Sunrise, a part bio and part tribute to his amazing run on the successful local television news show.  

Uyehara is a 1994 graduate of Damien Memorial School where he played football, volleyball and excelled in Speech competitions.  Uyehara went on to Cal-State Northridge in the Los Angeles area and while taking journalism reporting classes there Uyehara found his passion.

Upon returning home, Uyehara worked as an intern at KITV and then honed his skills at KHON before fatefully being paired with Liz Chun at KGMB as part of the sports team.   Chun and Uyehara would later marry and now have two beautiful preschoolers.

In 2007 KGMB reintroduced a local news morning show, teaming up Uyehara with the “affable” Grace Lee and the show has been a hit with Islanders ever since. 

Regarding the show, Uyehara states in the article, “It is nice to be part of Sunrise because, No. 1, we started something.  And, No. 2, I honestly feel like we were the first station that treated the morning show like it wasn’t the JV team.”  In 2009 KGMB (CBS) partnered with KHON (NBC) to form the multi-affiliate (shared services) news program Hawaii News Now.

Rick Blangiardi, Hawaii News Now general manager describes Uyehara in MidWeek as “an accomplished and versatile morning show anchor for many reasons, but in my opinion, ever since the first day we broadcast our new morning show...Steve flipped his switch to ‘on’ with a passion, tireless work ethic, and giant personality, which quickly endeared him to thousands of morning viewers.”

Chun comments in the MidWeek article that her husband “doesn’t take himself too seriously, but he takes what he does seriously.  He brings to daytime television that local sense, relatable guy, and people on the street don’t hesitate to come up to him, and I think people like that the guy they wake up to is the same guy they bump into in the store.”

MidWeek describes Uyehara as much as a nice guy off the air as he is on the air.  And that seems to say that he is a Damien guy wherever he is.

Steve Uyehara '94, emceeing at Damien's Kulalaulea 2015

Steve Uyehara '94, emceeing at Damien's Kulalaulea 2015

PAUL POLLOCK ‘84, U.S. NAVY SENIOR EXECUTIVE SERVICE MEMBER

Paul Pollock receiving farewell gift    From the command during Nov. 19, 2015 ceremony    

Paul Pollock receiving farewell gift

From the command during Nov. 19, 2015 ceremony 

Paul Pollock’s illustrious career was elevated another level as the 1984 Damien Memorial School graduate was sworn in as a member of the Senior Executive Service (SES) during a ceremony in Washington, D.C. at the Navy Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) headquarters at historic Washington Navy Yard on January 12, 2016 as reported in a Navy press release on January 15th (http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=92718 ).

 

According to the press release, members of SES are equivalent to a general officer or flag officer of the U.S. military (i.e. a rank higher than a Navy Captain, like a rear admiral, vice admiral or admiral).   The SES was established in 1978 pursuant to the Civil Service Reform Act of the same year to, among other things, “ensure that the executive management of the United States...is of the highest quality.”

Pollock was Damien Memorial School’s previous Chairman of the Board, a position Bernard Ho, Damien’s President and CEO, said that Pollock had to resign from as Pollock had to relocate.  Pollock has no doubt resigned from the Na Koa Football (UH-Manoa) Board of Directors as well, where he was a member since June 2013.

After graduating from Damien, Pollock attended UH-Manoa where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in Architecture in 1989.  From 2005 to 2008 Pollock was a Chief Engineer and Capital Improvements Director at NAVFAC Hawaii, and then the Deputy Commander for Operations at NAVFAC Pacific.  In August of 2010 Pollock became the Comptroller for NAVFAC Pacific, a position he held until gaining SES membership.

Congratulations to Paul Pollock on his new position in the U.S. Navy and mahalo for his service to our country and the military, as well as for representing Damien Memorial School respectfully and courageously.

Viriliter Age!

Featured alumnus: Raymond Espiritu '89

Raymond Esiritu, a 1989 graduate of Damien Memorial School who is currently a software developer at the John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Maryland, a not-for-profit, university=affiliated research center and defense contractor.

Bio: After graduating from Damien, Raymond  attended Yale University and received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and then a Master's at George Washington University in Aerospace Engineering through a program called Joint Institute for the Advancement of Flight Sciences (JIAFS), a partnership between George Washington University and NASA.

After college, Raymond's first job was to work on an air Force satellite. After that he worked on other satellite programs with various other companies, including Motorola where he helped develop their Iridium satellite constellation, and, at NASA in the advanced Component Technologies (ACT) program.

Raymond received an offer from Lockheed Martin to work in California, but during this time Raymond was dating the woman who was to become his wife, so he made the "right choice" and remained on the East Coast.

Recently, Raymond received a NASA Certificate of Appreciation for his work on Balloon Observation Platform for Planetary Sciences (BOPS), where he studied several comets and asteroids using a telescope suspended from a high altitude balloon.  Raymond is also an author of several published papers in the scientific community (see BRRISN: http://spie.org/Publications/Proceedings/Paper/10.117/12.2057619). 

Raymond is a third degree black belt in the Japanese martial art of Naginata and used to compete in national tournaments.  Currently, he participates in jodo, an "old school" form of martial arts.

Raymond lives in Virginia with his wife and two daughters.

We caught up with Raymond recently and he was kind enough to answer a few of our questions:

Q: What extra-curricular activities did you participate in and what kind of academic recognition did you receive while at Damien?

 

A: “I was in the marching band, JROTC, JV cross-country, and the Strategy Society.  I was in the honors class and was ranked at #4 for GPA the whole time I was there.  It was pretty hard trying to crack the top three.”

Q: Who are some of your classmates at Damien?

A: “Most of the people I knew at Damien were in my honors class or in band.  I also knew folks who I had gone to elementary school with before going to Damien.  Among them were Jae Kwak, Aaron Mattis, Artin Toorinjian, Casey Asato, Nate Jones, Philipp Battalia, Eric Enrico, and Rudy Tulonghari.”

 Q: What is your most vivid memory or memories while at Damien?

A: “My most vivid memories were of early morning band practice.  We started at 7:00 a.m., so we had to be at Damien long before regular classes started.  That was one of my favorite classes, because it led to the band bonding together when we were on field trips and played in parades.”

Q: Damien’s football team has recently won the ILH Division II title; how was the football team back in 1989?

A: “When I was in high school I do not recall our football team being very good.  Since I was in the marching band we played at the football games and I recall our team being trounced most of the time.  In fact, I think our band was the highlight of most games.

Q: “For the football team now though? 

A: I just want to say ‘GO MONARCHS!’

Q: While at NASA, did you work on the Mars Exploration Program?

A: “Unfortunately, I did not work on any Mars missions.  I worked on MESSENGER, which was the NASA mission to Mercury.  That was a long mission.  I was on it from launch to the end of the mission over a period of ten years.  I was in charge of developing software that would unpack telemetry from all the spacecraft instruments and turn them into data files that scientists could use in their analysis.

“I currently work at the Applied Physics Lab, which does a lot of work with NASA and works on several NASA missions.  I am currently involved in software development to support an instrument on OSIRIS-Rex, which is a NASA mission launching in September 2016 and will visit the asteroid Bennu...” 

Q: Was there any teacher/counselor/staff member at Damien that would serve as a mentor, or is there any lesson or experience you had garnered from your Damien education that has helped you in your professional career?

A: “Not as mentors per se, but I do remember teachers who motivated me and inspired me to learn and excel..

...the one that stands out in my mind was a Christian Brother who volunteered to teach calculus during summer school after-hours to anyone who wanted to learn.  I was going to be taking calculus during the fall so I decided to take the class.  I was one of only two people, and the Christian Brother had so much faith that we could learn calculus.  He took the doubt I had in myself and somehow turned it into confidence that I could do it.  Senior year calculus ended being an easy A

(This) one Christian brother...his influence kept me up late at night during college and graduate school as I banged my head against the wall trying to solve some tough math and physics problems.”

Q: What do you think about Damien going co-educational?

A: “I think it is inevitable due to the economy.  But I also believe it is a chance for Damien to do better by its female students just like they do the male ones, and hold them to the same standards and inspire them the same way then I believe female alumni will graduate thinking they can do or be anything they want.  That should be an integral goal for a coed Damien.

Q: Was lunch really all that bad back in the day?

A: “I recall the fries being good.  That was probably it.

For more on Raymond Espiritu and his work on the MESSENGER space program, see:  http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/who_we_are/member_focus_070810.html