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Performing Arts Administrative Coordinator Rose Reeves was elated to see her keiki and moʻopuna who traveled from as far away as New York to help celebrate her last day at KS Kapālama. Above, she is surrounded by her children and grandchildren. Front: Nohealani Cambra, Kelcey Cambra, Rose Reeves, Jodi Kanaka‘ole and Kaheaokalani Kanaka‘ole. Back: Kainoa Cambra, Arthur Reeves, Mitchel Reeves and Reeves Kanaka‘ole.

Retiree Reeves has a surprise sendoff after 35 years of service

June 27, 2014

Contributed by Nadine Lagaso

Performing Arts Administrative Coordinator Rose Reeves was not expecting so much love on her last day of work. But as she sat in her usual lunch seat with her back facing the department’s main doors, her children and grandchildren snuck in to surprise her - some of them travelling from as far away as Washington, Mississippi and New York!

Reeves retired on May 30, after dedicating 35 years to Pauahi’s legacy. Over the years, she held various positions at KS in operations, program evaluation and planning, personnel, the president’s office and school store, but her fondest memories come from her work in The Performing Arts Department, where she spent the last 25 years.

“I used to keep my curtain open all the time and the students would always knock on my window and wave ‘hi’ to me,” Reeves said. “Being with the students gave me a reason to come back every morning.”

Her decision to retire after so many years of service came after the sudden passing of KSK physical education teacher Theone Chock and English teacher, Dawn Woolsey in 2013.

“I hesitated to make a decision for a while,” Reeves said. “But when we lost our two teachers, that opened my eyes to the fact that maybe it’s time for me to spend time with my family.”

Kamehameha Schools has not only been her job for the last 35 years, it has also been a place that has graduated so many of her family members.

“I come from a Catholic background and I was so happy when my daughters, Kelcey Cambra and Jodi Kanaka‘ole, said that they wanted to try out for Kamehameha Schools,” Reeves said with tears welling up in her eyes. “I found that it didn’t matter to Pauahi what religion we were.”

She also proudly shared that all five of her grandchildren, Nohealani Cambra, Mitchel Reeves, Kainoa Cambra, Reeves Kanaka‘ole and Kaheaokalani Kanaka‘ole, were accepted into KSK which gave her even more of a reason to stay.

She has been an inspiration in many people’s lives at KSK, but she has been the guiding light for all of her grandchildren.

“I was the only boarder grandchild,” said Reeves’ grandson Mitchel Reeves. “Tūtū was my parent away from my parents and this office was my getaway when I needed someone to talk to. She was always there for me. I thank you so much for being there for me. I love you and thank you.”

Another grandson, Reeves Kanaka‘ole, remembers his tūtū always encouraging the grandkids to try something new. She agreed that encouraging her family to try something new has benefited each and every one of them. But most importantly, it has helped them make good decisions.

“I tell my grandchildren that they have to make good decisions,” Reeves said. “I put their hand in my hand and say, ‘Your life is in this hand, not anyone else’s.’”

Reeves’ retirement opens up lots of time for her to do activities like lei hulu (feather lei) making with Heritage Center curator Nu‘ulani Atkins and aunty Gussie Bento on Tuesdays, quilting at the Queen Emma Summer Palace on Wednesdays and walking to Kap‘iolani Hospital to help care for the premature babies with former Hale Ola nurse, Charlene Honda.

“Pauahi has left a wonderful gift for our Hawaiian children and I am grateful to her for it,” Reeves said. “I think she and Mr. Bishop did a great job and I don’t think they even thought of the far reaching result that will was going to leave. I am very grateful to them; my family has benefited so much because of them.” 

Jessika Garcia is a 2009 Kamehameha Schools Kapālama graduate serving as a communications intern with the Community Relations and Communications Group. She graduated from Chaminade University of Honolulu in May of 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in Communications Mass Media and is currently considering career options.

I tell my grandchildren that they have to make good decisions. I put their hand in my hand and say, ‘Your life is in this hand, not anyone else’s.'
KS retiree and tūtū Rose Reeves

Reeves' eldest granddaughter, Nohealani Cambra, surprises her tūtū after flying in from Brooklyn, New York to be with her on her last day at KSK's Performing Arts Department.


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