It’s been a big year for ISLAND PACIFIC ACADEMY faculty member Sabine Yamamura. This year she celebrates her son Aston’s graduation from IPA and her own 15-year anniversary with the school. Yamamura joined IPA on May 13, 2005 as a Secondary history teacher, where she has continued for the past 15 years. She is one of seven current IPA faculty and staff members who are celebrating their 15th year of service.
Yamamura is a motherly figure to the incoming middle school students who have her for humanities. She welcomes them to the Upper school with open arms, a warm heart, and a no-nonsense attitude that bring both comfort and gentle discipline to the young ones. It’s clear that she cares a lot about each student. So it’s not surprising that her most memorable moments over the past 15 years are watching the seniors graduate – and she means all seniors, not just her own children, Ashton ‘20 and Maddie ‘18, who both started at IPA in Junior Kindergarten.
“Among my most cherished moments is seeing the seniors graduate,” she shares. “After so many years of teaching, I can say that I have seen a few grow up and it fills me with so much pride to see how much they have grown. Being able to have seen both of my kids grow up with IPA and graduate along with many of their childhood friends (many of which I taught for three years) has been my biggest joy for sure.”
As a history teacher, Yamamura has always wanted to bring the subject alive and make it real for her students. She has been able to do so as the organizer for IPA’s international travel program. Each spring, Yamamura, with several dedicated faculty chaperones, takes a group of secondary students on an international trip to a new, exciting, and educational destination.
“Having been allowed to expand the international travel program so that kids would have the opportunity to learn history has been very rewarding,” says Yamamura. “One of my fondest memories would have to be when we traveled with a group of IPA students to Europe in 2017 and we sang the school oli at the amphitheater in Pompeii. Chicken skin moment!”
Yamamura’s passion and commitment to IPA is evident in how she talks about the school. And it’s clear why she has remained committed for the past 15 years.
“We have an amazing group of people at IPA – parents, students, staff. We are all unique and full of love and passion for what we do each and every day,” she shares. “Aside from our rigorous academics, we have an amazing art program. My kids grew up with theatre at IPA and it has made their journey through school so rewarding. There is nothing else like it.“
“We work really hard to create a place students love to come to. It’s definitely the IPA ʻohana that keeps me coming back, year after year. I feel grateful that even after all these years, I am able to make positive contributions to our school.”
Mahalo nui, Sabine, for all your years of dedicated service to the students at ISLAND PACIFIC ACADEMY, and congratulations on 15 years!