The night hummed with excitement as the first guests were welcomed into the Ko Olina Ballroom of the Four Seasons Resort Oʻahu at Ko Olina by Mr. Nolan Hong. The large room was set to transport us to Tokyo, Japan and ISLAND PACIFIC ACADEMY’s 13th annual Grand Expedition 2017 benefit was on its way. We were entertained by IPA’s very own ukulele virtuoso, Grade 7 student Brennan Lee, as our Presenting, Mission and Platinum Sponsors, Board of Trustees and Principals enjoyed a full sushi bar selection prepared by the Itamae of Superb Sushi.
The night was ushered in with a taiko performance by Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko Hawaiʻi. Their fusion of traditional Eisa and Karate was electrifying. Our Master of Ceremonies, Nolan Hong entertained and engaged the guests as he introduced them to our eight other chef stations. The chefs rose to the challenge of preparing Asian-inspired dishes for our 350 guests, it was no small feat, and the results were amazing. Guests were treated to delightful culinary creations including Tuna Tartare, Kabocha, Edamame noodles, Spicy Cod, Beet Tostada, Duck Confit, Beef Tataki and Oxtail. (See full descriptions of the chef creations on our Facebook page). Treated to the specialty cocktail of the evening, “Tokyo Tangle,” – a refreshing blend of sake, champagne, limoncello, strawberries and a hint of mint – our palates were submersed in flavor and the atmosphere was light.
The spectacular island Chefs who tickled our taste buds and filled our stomachs were Marc Anthony Freiburg with Green Apron Hawaiʻi, Marc Kusaka of Izakaya Kei, Donato Loperfido with Flavors of Italy, Lawrence Nakamoto from The Mariposa, Mark Noguchi of the Pili Group, Richard Polhemus of Four Seasons Resort Oʻahu at Ko Olina, Jason Schoonver with 12th Ave Grill, Wade Ueoka from MW Restaurant, and our two Superb Sushi stations. Guests also received individually wrapped, delectable Strawberry Guava Cakebombs from Pipeline Bakeshop & Creamery.
Our songbird of the night took the stage and the room was silenced. Amy Hanaiʻaliʻi Gilliom, accompanied by Kamuela Kimokeo, serenaded guests with a variety of genres including Hawaiian and jazz music. Amy’s powerful version of “At Last” brought the room to their feet as couples filled the dance floor. Several lovely hula maidens, including IPA’s own Makana Kuahiwinui and Charmaine Hauanio-Kuewa, also graced the dance floor as they were moved by Amy’s melodic voice to get up and share a hula.
With over 50 donated auction and raffle items the night was a success. Auctioneer Eric Shift dazzled the stage and brought energy to the night. He was able to multiply auction items on four (4) occasions, including two (2) Private Yacht Experiences donated by Team Lally, two Vintage Cave Dinners donated by Honolulu Star Advertiser, two Reserved IPA Parking Spaces, and two Private Dinners for 10 by Chef Donato Loperfido. Our Grand Prize raffle donated by Panda Travel for round-trip airline tickets for two and 5-night hotel accommodations to Japan went to Craig & Dani Butterfield. Over $105,000 in revenue was generated with proceeds supporting a myriad of programs at the ISLAND PACIFIC ACADEMY including, financial aid, art programs, PE equipment, technology, learning trips and our Design Thinking Program. All which would not be accomplished without the support of our gracious sponsors.
Grand Expedition 2017 enjoyed the support of several corporate sponsors that underwrote the event – most notable was our presenting sponsor, Kalaeloa Partners LLC., a long-time and generous supporter of the school. Also sponsoring the evening were: The Honolulu Star Advertiser, Par Hawaiʻi, Reflections Glass, The Fisher Law Firm, David & Jan Fujiwara, Posso Pizza, Inc., The Queen’s Health Systems, Torkildson, Katz, Moore, Hetherington & Harris, The Wilhelm Group, Hawaiʻi Pacific Health Pali Momi Medical Center, Ko Olina Resort, Maunakea Integrated Solutions, Morgan Stanley, and Yamada Scott Family Foundation.
Wish list items from each grade or department hung on blossoms as you walked through the Navigate the Way cherry blossom forest to take photos, all painted by our incredibly talented Art Department Faculty member, Mrs. Boz Schurr. Guests picked the flowers and were able to purchase items to provide the students with additional tools that enhance the learning journey. The remaining items from our Navigate the Way campaign will be added to our website Wish List in December and an invitation to purchase items will be sent to our families and friends of IPA.
ISLAND PACIFIC ACADEMY is truly grateful to all of our guests that make our events a success. The aloha we feel through the generosity expressed charts a course that impacts our students daily. IPA students are given opportunities to grow and learn at newer heights through the investment of their faculty and the tools you are able to provide. Last but not least, we cannot forget the tireless efforts of our volunteers, faculty and staff that made Grand Expedition Tokyo 2017 possible. A big mahalo to all of you! Arigatou gozaimasu and we’ll see you next year.