Principal relives memories of late friend through Hawaiian Thursdays

December 7, 2017 — by Andrew Lee and Jeffrey Xu

Reporter covers a new trend in the school.

As registrar Robert Wise strolled into the office on a recent warm Thursday morning, eyes turned toward his colorfully flowered Hawaiian button up. Onlooking students might assume he was just feeling “Hawaiian” that day, but unbeknownst to many, Thursdays are Hawaiian days for teachers and staff.

The tradition was started on campus a few years ago by principal Paul Robinson.

Wise thinks about a fourth of the teachers and staff participate. But in the office, participation is usually almost 100 percent.

According to Wise, Hawaiian Thursdays are events that he has fun participating in; he has been wearing Hawaiian-themed clothing every Thursday since the start of the school year.

“I’ve got a closet of Hawaiian shirts that have been given to me over a lifetime,” Wise said. “On Hawaiian Thursdays, I get a chance to wear them. I get a chance to have fun and dust them off, and that’s the main reason I participate.”

Wise has seen teachers such as precalculus honors teacher PJ Yim and AP Spanish Arnaldo Rodriguex wearing luca shells, necklaces and flowers.

“I’ve seen people go all out,” Wise said. “For me, it’s just for fun, and I think it was a great idea.”

Additionally, because of the popularity of the tradition, members of staff take action to encourage other faculty members to get involved as well.

A couple years ago the administration bought a supply of Hawaiian shirts and offered them to the staff for sale, Robinson said. He thought the event was cool and that they may do it again in the future.

Most students and staff do not know that Hawaiian Thursdays actually have a much deeper significance than meets the eye.

Robinson credits the idea of wearing Hawaiian shirts to his close friend and fellow faculty member Tony Goffredo back when Robinson was a teacher in San Diego in the 1980s.

“We didn’t like the idea of always wearing ties,” Robinson said. “Given the nice weather and sunshine in San Diego, we thought, ‘Why don’t we just wear Hawaiian shirts on Thursdays?’ Soon, other teachers started doing the same, it became a pattern.

Sadly, about 15 years ago, Goffredo was diagnosed with cancer and later passed away from it. In his honor, Goffredo’s colleagues began to wear Hawaiian shirts at different school events and activities.

He went “through the struggle of his life and was a champion the whole time,” Robinson said.

On Thursdays, Robinson said he is reminded about his friend as he dons his bright-colored shirts. “I get to remember the days gone past when I had a really good friend and a lot of fun things we used to do together,” Robinson said. “And yet we also have some fun things here because our office folks seem to be very competitive when they wear their Hawaiian shirts.”

Every year at around daylight savings time, the Hawaiian shirt tradition goes on hiatus because of the cooler weather, but returns in March.

“I look forward to the spring so I can show off my large collection of Hawaiian shirts,” Wise said.

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