Grand Expedition – Oh the Places We’ll Go! Highlights

ISLAND PACIFIC ACADEMY’s annual fundraising gala, Grand Expedition, celebrated the school’s 15th anniversary this year with an amazing night of creativity, inspiration, and wonder. The successful event was attended by nearly 300 guests, with all proceeds supporting financial aid, Project Graduation, and technology upgrades for the school. The theme for the event was “Oh the Places We’ll Go!” with the evening’s program showcasing ISLAND PACIFIC ACADEMY’s past, present, and future.

“It was a special evening honoring and recognizing the achievements, contributions, and efforts of our fabulous students – and the entire school community,” shared Gerald Teramae, Head of School. “And it was a very appropriate theme for our 15th anniversary as we look forward to the bright future in store for IPA, made possible by the collaborative efforts of our school community.”

The formal program opened with the school oli led by IPA kindergarten teacher, Momi Kuahiwinui, and a hula by Na Pua o Keko’olani halau, including IPA students Preeya Prasad ’21 and Kristin Chun ’22. The Board of Trustees president, Lance Wilhelm, offered a toast honoring IPA’s past and future. It was especially fitting as Wilhelm has been part of ISLAND PACIFIC ACADEMY since its founding and his daughter, Kate ’20, has attended IPA since she was in Junior Kindergarten. Dr. Dan and Judy White, founding Head of School and co-founders, joined the celebration as special guests of Teramae, and co-founder and developer Larry Caster shared the story of the school’s development in a video interview by a Grade 3 student. Also present as guests that evening were Kerri and Stan Vincent – elementary office manager and secondary science teacher, respectively – who have been at the school since its inception.

Guests were entertained by the mistress of ceremonies, Lei Uʻi Kaholokula, who kept the program fun and lively. And Ruth Ann Babas, IPA founding faculty member and elementary music teacher, performed beautifully on a baby grand piano during the dinner hour. “It was an honor to play piano for our IPA Grand Expedition dinner. I am truly blessed to be able to say that I have been there since day one!” shared Babas.

Students from the Class of 2021 were present to welcome guests and assist them with online bidding in the silent auction. Guest favors included custom printed notecards featuring artwork by elementary, secondary, and alumni students, and each sponsor host received a beautiful, matted print of IPA student art and photographs. To show their appreciation for our guests, the elementary students created hand-written thank you notes, which were shared on all of the tables.

It truly was an evening celebrating and honoring the past, present, and future of ISLAND PACIFIC ACADEMY.

“We are incredibly humbled by the generosity and support from our sponsors and supporters each year, and this year was no different.  The room was filled with energy, excitement, and enthusiasm in support of our amazing students, and our school,” shared Be-Jay Kodama, Director of Advancement.

The purpose of the event was to raise funds to support IPA’s many programs, and with more than 50 silent auction items, the live auction, and the ever popular “wine pull”, there were many opportunities for guests to give generously in support of the school.

Auctioneer Eric Schiff returned again this year for the live auction and, as usual, kept the bidding exciting and fast-paced. Class of 2021 students helped as bid spotters, waving brightly lit hot air balloon spotter’s poles to grab the auctioneer’s attention. Live auction items included the priceless IPA Reserved Parking Space, a San Francisco Giants package (with two owner’s seats Giants tickets, hotel room, and airfare), and a four-night escape to the Mauna Lani. The most unique item up for bid was an Eva Makk giclee on canvas titled “Epic Journey,” depicting the Polynesian sailing canoe, Hōkuleʻa. Renowed artist Eva Makk was there in person for the event, and during the champagne reception guests were invited to add their own brushstroke to the painting under Evaʻs guidance. The finished piece was a unique masterpiece “painted” by all of the guests at Grand Expedition.

ISLAND PACIFIC ACADEMY thanks all of our supporters, donors, attendees, and volunteers. Grand Expedition – Oh the Places Weʻll Go! was generously underwritten by many corporate sponsors, including the event’s Presenting Sponsor, The Queen’s Health Systems.

“We are very grateful for all the organizations, businesses, and individuals who graciously and generously sponsored this event and donated wonderful items for our auctions,” said Teramae. “And, of course, a very special thank you to the many volunteers who give their time and talents every year to make this such a successful event.”

Those sentiments were echoed by Kodama, “Mahalo to the many helping hands and volunteers who made the evening memorable,and those who helped to fulfill dreams for our students. We are truly grateful.”

See you at the next Grand Expedition!

List of event sponsors and donors

Table decor at gala event

Silent auction items on display

Guest paints with Eva Makk

Guests enjoying cocktail hour

Guests enjoying cocktail hour

Emcee Lei Uʻi Kaholokula

Momi Kuahiwinui leading school oli

IPA student hula halau dance

Scene of the ballroom at gala

Head of School Gerald Teramae welcomes guests

Elementary music teacher Ruth Babas plays piano

Class of 2021 volunteer as bid spotters

Guests bid during live auction

Guests bid during live auction

Guests lauging

Guests bid during live auction

Guests bid during live auction

Guests bid during live auction

Kailer and Rachel Suerth thank the guests

Presenting sponsors, The Queen's Health Systems