By Katie Mulliken
Dr. Karen Nakamoto, a member of Waiäkea High’s first graduating class in 1980, was also the first Valedictorian. She ran cross-country and track, and wrote for the school newspaper. She remembers a Waiäkea High that had no upperclassmen, fewer students and a much smaller and less developed campus. Students had a Spirit Week, much like our Homecoming, and the seniors held their Variety Show at the UHH Theater. Karen was honored by the Class of 2004 to be their speaker at the 25th graduation commencement services.
Both Karen’s family and Waiäkea High helped her to prepare for life after high school. One person who had great influence on her was Mr. Robert Bean, her principal. He encouraged all of his students to achieve.
Karen attended Harvard University and obtained an AB is biology, then the UH Manoa’s John A. Burns School of Medicine. To train for her specialty of obstetrics and gynecology, she studied an additional four years at the University of California at Irvine. Dr. Nakamoto runs her own practice and delivers babies, does surgeries and conducts outpatient visits.
Though she thinks that liability and financial issues will make medicine a harder profession to get into within the next few years, she still recommends it to anyone who is hard-working and determined to help others live healthily.