LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Merry Ifuku

Position: Registrar
School: Kapolei High School
School District: Hawaii Public Schools
City, State: Kapolei, HI

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Merry Ifuku was nominated by her principal, Wesley Shinkawa.

Mr. Shinkawa:  “Why are we doing this?”

Ms. Ifuku:  “Because it's the right thing to do for our students and families.” 

Mr. Shinkawa:  “You're going to be here all night.”

Ms. Ifuku:  “That's okay, you go home and take care of your family.  I’ll be fine.”

"This consistent dialogue between my school registrar, Mrs. Merry Ifuku, and I continues to spark my passion and purpose as a school principal," Shinkawa said. "Without selfless leaders like Mrs. Ifuku, what would our school look like and be? I have been blessed to work alongside Mrs. Ifuku in both of her professional capacities; as a classroom teacher and as our school registrar.  Ask anybody on campus about her and they will tell you that 'Merry' is not just her name, but her entire way of being."

Mrs. Ifuku treats everyone she interacts with in a manner that exemplifies her school's values of Caring, Dignity, and Integrity.  Mrs. Ifuku's years as a classroom teacher have transformed generations of students who have moved on to pursue their passions and purpose in life.  Some of her students have been recognized as US Presidential Scholars and Fulbright Research Award recipients. Students who have had the privilege of being in her Business Academy received the utmost care, respect, and opportunities. Mrs. Ifuku consistently collaborated with her academy colleagues to utilize a Universal Design for Learning (UDL) approach to their content and curriculum. Taking traditional lectures and transforming the matter into Project/Problem Based Learning opportunities made learning not only relevant, but fun! 

One such example of an interdisciplinary unit and PBL project spearheaded by Mrs. Ifuku is the annual “Market Day.”  This is where students work in teams and come up with a product they would have to ideate, design, market, and sell.  Mrs. Ifuku keenly understands the competitive nature of students and would often tap into their individual strengths in order to keep the process fluid and productive.  When asked about the purpose for “Market Day,” Mrs. Ifuku would remind people that it's more than just marketing. It's about teamwork and communication, which are essential skills that are not easily quantifiable by traditional achievement metrics, but valuable for success in life.

As a school registrar, Mrs. Ifuku is responsible for the accurate scheduling and record keeping of approximately 2,000 students.  In addition, she supervises a team of adults to ensure that all 135 teachers receive the support they need on a daily basis, whether it's with inputting grades, verifying transcripts, validating student attendance, or working with feeder middle schools and post-secondary institutions. 

"Mrs. Ifuku constantly reminds me that every individual who walks into the office has a story. It's our job to understand their story so that we can better assist them," said Shinkawa. "Approximately 35% of our students come from disadvantaged home situations. Some live in the transitional and homeless shelters located directly behind our school campus.  Regardless of their personal circumstances, Mrs. Ifuku makes it her mission to ensure that when they are in her office, they feel physically, socially, and emotionally safe and secure.  Mrs. Ifuku's depth of care and responsibility to our school community is second to none."

With the ongoing concerns that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the world, Mrs. Ifuku has transformed her normal way of business. She has taken the lead in being innovative by integrating the use of technology to improve efficiency and safety for everyone. Normally, there's a traditional paper and pencil process for student registration and transcript requests. Mrs. Ifuku spearheaded a team of students and colleagues to create virtual resource platforms for parents and students to use to help them navigate this process.  Mrs. Ifuku triple checks each of the approximately 2,000 student body course schedules and transcripts to ensure that students are enrolled in the courses they need in order to pursue their post-secondary interests. When asked why she continues to do this; again, she responds “because it's the right thing to do for our students and families.”

In Hawai`i, there is a form of invertebrates called `opihi.  `Opihi are algae-grazing limpets that cling tenaciously to the rocks of Hawai'i's coastlines.  As a term of endearment, Mrs. Ifuku, with over 33 years of teaching experience, has generations of “little `opihi,” or students, that cling to her like the `opihi do to Hawai'i's coastlines. Whenever students are back from college, around the school campus, or just simply need some advice, one can find Mrs. Ifuku always making time to listen and talk with her “little `opihi.”

"It is my honor and privilege to nominate Mrs. Merry Ifuku for this LifeChanger of the Year Award," said Shinkawa. "What makes Mrs. Ifuku most deserving of this award and recognition is the amount of personal sacrifice she makes to positively impact the lives of so many students, families, and colleagues on a daily basis.  In addition, she is the most positive, humble, loyal, and trustworthy servant-leader one could ever have the privilege to encounter."

Comments (62)

Eden Ines Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Ifuku truly is a life-changer. She is an amazing mentor who has helped shape me into the person I am today. In high school, I had the privilege of meeting Mrs. Ifuku through Interact Club, which is a community service organization for high schoolers that was founded by Rotary International. Mrs. Ifuku, along with Mrs. Okamura (who is another life-changing mentor!), were Kapolei High School's Interact Club advisors. I remember hearing Mrs. Ifuku laugh at the first Interact meeting I attended, and I couldn't help but laugh along with her. Everyone knows Mrs. Ifuku has the most contagious laugh! I joined Interact Club my freshman year. Since then, Interact and Rotary have become an important part of my life. At the beginning of every Interact meeting, Mrs. Ifuku would have us recite Rotary's Four Way Test: "Of the things we think say or do, (1) Is it the truth?, (2) Is it fair to all concerned?, (3) Will it build goodwill and better friendships?, and (4) Will it be beneficial to all concerned?". Mrs. Ifuku even added a fifth test of her own, "(5) Will it be fun?". I did not realize it at the time, but now I recognize why Mrs. Ifuku wanted us to say the Rotary Four Way Test at every Interact meeting. She did not want us to merely apply these tests to what we do at Interact Club, but rather to everything we do in life. Mrs. Ifuku's energy and passion for helping others through community service was so inspiring. She truly exemplified Rotary's motto, "Service Above Self". During my junior year of high school, Mrs. Ifuku and Mrs. Okamura retired from being the Interact advisors after serving for 10 yrs! After being in Interact Club all four years of high school, I joined Rotaract Club at UC San Diego (Rotaract is the college version of Interact) and had the privilege of serving as Service Director and then Co-President during my four years as a Rotaractor. Through Interact and Rotaract, I have witnessed the impact that selfless service can have on communities. Volunteering has since become a great source of joy in my life. Now, I am in medical school, and am striving to become a physician who lives out Rotary's motto "Service Above Self," just as Mrs. Ifuku does. I hope to join a Rotary Club once I graduate from medical school. I am so grateful to Mrs. Ifuku for introducing me to Rotary and teaching me about the importance of giving back to the community. I would not be where I am today without her mentorship.

Alli Posted over a year ago

She’s the best!!! She cares so much and does her very best for her students and faculty.

Claire Posted over a year ago

I cannot agree more with Mr. Shinkawa's Lifechanger of the year nomination. I began working closely with Merry since 2011 when she was a teacher in the Business Academy. It was then where I have witnessed her selfless nature. She undeniably puts the staff, students, and families first. Merry does what is best for our students and families. As a colleague, she has been a pleasure to work with. She has always been there to support and encourage me. Her positive and "Merry" energy is contagious. I know it is felt amongst us all at Kapolei High School.

Taira Cavaco Posted over a year ago

I had Miss. Ifuku 2004-2006 in the business academy. She was our Accounting teacher. Although little she was tough and firm. Her little giggle would crack us all up and turn any serious or dull moment into a funny one. She was so dedicated and supportive throughout my years in Business Academy. She definitely deserves an award.

Milanie Posted over a year ago

She is one of the most supportive and motivated registrar I have ever worked for. She has a passion for all students and an excellent teacher. I worked with Merry at Kapolei HS for 12 years both has a colleague when she was a business academy teacher and now our registrar. We couldn’t ask for anything more than what Merry offers our KHS ohana. Congratulations Merry for this opportunity.

Kristian Guynes Posted over a year ago

I cannot think of a more deserving person for this award than Mrs.Ifuku! My time at Kapolei High School, although many years ago, still provides me with numerous great memories and many are thanks to Mrs.Ifuku. Her contagious smile, laugh and joyful spirit inspired her students to not only do great, but be great. She made the classroom a fun, welcoming enviroment that felt more like a big Ohana. Thank you for being such a positive and compassionate teacher, Mrs.Ifuku! I appreciate you!

Micah M Posted over a year ago

Merry Ifuku Although words aren’t enough to describe Merry Ifuku, I’ll try my best. She has always been the shining light that guides us students in the dark. She genuinely cares about everyone around her and never fails to make a person smile when they’re down. Merry has been an influential person in shaping the kind of person I want to be, someone who is fearless, encouraging, and caring. I’m so thankful to have met her!

Joshua Ragasa Posted over a year ago

I cannot think of anyone that is more deserving of this recognition than Mrs. Ifuku. As a former Business Academy student, Interact Club member, and Interact officer, I have witnessed her natural ability to positively influence others. With her infectious bright smile and optimistic personality, she has been able to foster her students’ learning and inspires us to be the best version of ourselves. She genuinely cares for everyone and selflessly invests personal time to ensure that she is providing the best service possible to her students, club members, colleagues, and parents. She does not only care about how well you are doing in her course, club, or career, but also about your well being. She has a special way of not only directly impacting others, but also inspiring others to make changes on their own for the better. I cannot thank her enough for all the good that she as done for countless individuals.

Abbey Dahlin Posted over a year ago

One of the highlights of going to school at Kapolei High was having a mentor and teacher like Mrs. Ifuku. She is kind and selfless, and truly has such a passion for leading students to success and striving to make a positive impact in others lives. Being a part of the interact club was not only something that was extremely beneficial in completing service activities, it brought us closer to our incredible leaders, Mrs. Ifuku being one of them. She taught us to be caring and transparent when we may have to much on her plate. She would always rise to the occasion and be there for events and supporting our extra curricular club when she already had a full classes and a family at home to take care of. All the while she would be smiling and laughing even when the amount of tasks would have overwhelmed any single individual. She taught me perseverance and kindness are the ways to lead with love. Her joy for life was tangible and spread to her students and surrounding staff. She is one of the most accomplished and hardworking individuals at Kapolei and truly deserves this honor!

Adrienne R Posted over a year ago

High school is a blur looking back 10+ years, but one of the things I remember is Interact Club. I was in the Kapolei High School Interact Club for 4 years and loved going to every meeting and event because Mrs. Ifuku was/is always so full of energy and cheer! Mrs. Ifuku made Interact Club a fun club to be a part of. Mrs. Ifuku is a little ball of happiness and joy, which makes her name “Merry” suit her perfectly! Thank you Mrs. Ifuku for being such a positive influence to me as well as thousands of other students!

Diana T Okamura Posted over a year ago

Aloha All, I have worked with Merry from the first day she stepped onto campus in 2004. I have worked along side with her as an Educational Assistant in the Business Academy, a Co- Advisor for the Interact Club and as her “Friend” in the registration office. Everyone is Merry’s friend, and she greets everybody by saying “Hi Friend” but if you are the dozen or more “Special Friends” you can attest to what Principal Shinkawa said earlier. As Merry’s “Special/Crazy Friends” we often stay with her till the midnight hours doing whatever she has us doing just because it needs to be done for students and parents. Most times there is no reasoning with on waiting for tomorrow, not with Merry. She will always go above and beyond for any student and parent and make sure that it is done with Caring, Dignity and Integrity. As a Co-Advisor with her for 10 years for the Kapolei Interact Club we’ve had over 1,000 kids in our club. Instilling in the students the Rotary motto of “Service Above Self” is something Merry is all about. She would sign up our club for every community service project possible. From serving Thanksgiving dinner to going to IHS every year cleaning and organizing their in-house store to fundraising for a water well in Africa to Courage beads for children with cancer. We were known to be the Interact Club overachievers because we did so much. We also helped start 5 other Interact Clubs on the Leeward side. Merry could never say no to lending a helping hand to anyone. She made doing community service so FUN that at one point we even opened our club up to 200 members because she felt bad when student didn’t make the cut. They would come to school at 6:30am to sign up at 7:O0am for the 100 slots available and it would be filled by 7:30am. The Interact Club had for such a wide variety of students but we saw the most significant change in students that were often loners that became part of this new family and had a new sense of belonging. On January 1st of this year I just had one of those students from 6 years ago text me to thank me and Merry for helping him grow out of his shell and make him have the best senior year possible, and Merry will say this is what it’s all about. As a teacher I’ve seen first hand how much she does for her students. Not only just tutoring sessions, but taking students to CTE competition to being there for them personally. She treated every kids as if they were her own and never hesitated to go to bat for them when they needed her. I could go on and on but I can honestly say I know Merry Ifuku is a life changer because she changed my life to make me always want to be better, do more for others not for recognition but to raise the bar in all my aspects of life. I am truly blessed to call her my friend and we will be friends for the rest of our lives. Mahalo, Diana Tiedemann Okamura Co worker/Co Advisor/ Friend

Jana O Posted over a year ago

If you had the pleasure of knowing this lady, then you know how truly amazing she is. It’s hard to list all the many ways Mrs. Ifuku has impacted people’s lives including myself as well. As my former teacher and Interact advisor she taught me how to lend a helping hand to all those in need. Her compassion and kindness is contagious. She genuinely cares for all her students, both past and present. In her new position as the registrar, she is the welcoming smile or laugh in the office when new families come in to enroll. As one of her close coworkers, I see how she stays extra-long hours to triple check and make sure that everything is done right. If it’s not perfect then it will immensely bother her to no end. I cannot think of someone more deserving than her. Congratulations Ifuku & Thank you for everything you do!

Charlinda Ioane Posted over a year ago

There is so much to say about Mrs. Ifuku. When I first read that she was being nominated for this award I was not at all surprised. She is more than a LifeChanger for this year, but has been a LifeChanger for so many years, especially during her time as an accounting teacher in the Business Academy. I had the privilege of being her student my junior and senior year in the Business Academy (C/0 2012), she was also my sisters teacher (C/O 2006, 2010). If there is one thing that I will always remember is she always cared and it didn’t matter what kind of background you came from! As soon as you stepped into H up, you knew you were a part of a family. A dynamic that was built by the teachers of the Business Academy and that she was a firm pillar of. She is the type of teacher that you did not want to disappoint. The kind of teacher that you went 110% for. Why do you think students feel this way? It is because she is the kind of teacher that if you are putting in the effort, she is right there with you helping you to meet deadlines, helping to improve your grades and many times that loving voice you just need to hear after another hectic day of life. She is the type of teach that wants all her students to succeed so bad, that she would carry or drag you to the finish line if she had to. I remember applying for a last minute scholarship and needing a teacher reference. One day after school I asked if she would be able to write a reference letter, with out hesitation she said “GADS!!! Why did you wait so long, but of course I will!” along with a cute little smile and ensuring me not to worry that everything will work out. She may be tiny in stature, but her heart for her students is what she should really be measured by. I am so fortunate to have been taught by her.

Jason Manabat Posted over a year ago

I met Mrs. Ifuku when I first joined Interact Club in high school. At the time I just wanted to join the club with all my friends, little did I know how much being in Interact would impact my life in and out of high school. Mrs. Ifuku and the other advisors were so welcoming that it felt weird without seeing any of them during the day. If you had a bad day Mrs. Ifuku would make your day brighter, especially with her laughter. She made Interact events go by because we were having so much fun. No one is more deserving than Mrs. Ifuku, she has filled countless lives with love and laughter and we will always remember that.

Joshua Silva Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Ifuku is such a genuine and caring person that has taught me a lot about honesty and integrity. I will always remember the guidance she gave me throughout high school. Mrs. Ifuku, continue being the amazing human you are!

Alyssa Posted over a year ago

Mrs Ifuku will always go above and beyond for her students. She greets everyone with a smile and genuinely cares. She’s sweet and spunky. She’ll let you know not only how well you’re handling the subjects, but also areas for growth. She’s encouraging and inspiring and was one of my favorite teachers in high school. Everyone loved her!

Vincent Santabarbara Posted over a year ago

This award could not be anymore perfect for Mrs. Ifuku! Before meeting her, I never took things seriously because I didn’t see much in myself, and I fell behind academically. Mrs. Ifuku was one of the first to see the potential in me and influenced me into joining and then becoming vice-president of Kapolei’s Interact Club! I was able to seek out my strengths and potential because Mrs. Ifuku pushed me to take on new challenges every day. This led me to being more active in Business Academy and in school in general, and I even grew academically; I started with a 2.6GPA, graduated with a 3.5GPA, was able to get into UH Manoa, and graduate with a Business degree! Now I’m pursuing my dream career and I’m on the right track thanks to everything I’ve learned from Mrs. Ifuku and the the teachers at Business Academy. When great teachers really care for their student’s growth, it shows. Thank you Mrs. Ifuku, I hope to make you even more proud and I hope you get this award, you deserve it! And even if you don’t, you definitely were a life changer for me.

Jason Manabat Posted over a year ago

I met Mrs. Ifuku when I first joined Interact Club in high school. At the time I just wanted to join the club with all my friends, little did I know how much being in Interact would impact my life in and out of high school. Mrs. Ifuku and the other advisors were so welcoming that it felt weird without seeing any of them during the day. If you had a bad day Mrs. Ifuku would make your day brighter, especially with her laughter. She made Interact events go by because we were having so much fun. No one is more deserving than Mrs. Ifuku, she has filled countless lives with love and laughter and we will always remember that.

Caleb Lobanov-Rostovsky Posted over a year ago

To whom it may concern, My name is Army Captain Caleb Lobanov-Rostovsky, I am a former student of Mrs. Merry Ifuku and a 2012 graduate of Kapolei High School. Reading the write up from her supervisor, I cannot agree more with the type of professional she is and her character as a teacher. Mrs. Ifuku has impacted many High School teenagers in so many ways through her passion and drive. Her hard work and dedication is apparent through the quality of students that leave her classroom and go onto positively impact the community, state of Hawai'i and the nation. Through her innovation and critical thinking, she has been able to adapt her teaching style to cater to a wide array of students. I firmly believe that, with her impact on many generations of Business Academy students, it attributed to the success everyone that she has taught. Thus I fully endorse her nomination and hope that she receives the title of Life Changer of the Year. For she was instrumental to my development and played a part in the professional I am today! Very Respectfully, Captain Caleb Lobanov-Rostovsky

Emily Sumiko Oandasan Posted over a year ago

Hi Friend! Any and every time I am in her presence that is the opening line. From my first meeting in 2009 to now whether its a phone call, an email or atext. Merry is one of those humans placed on this earth to make it a better place and to influence us to do better by her example. I love her dearly, and respect her wholeheartedly. Thank you Merry for all you do and have done to foster kindness and love to those you teach and those that work with you. I miss working with you. Em

Arielle R Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Ifuku was and is so many things. To Interact club members, she was one of the three pillars that supported students helping communities. She was one of the reasons why more than 100 students lined up early in the morning at the beginning of the school year to turn in their admission forms to join the Interact Club. She made giving back F-U-N. To rotary club members, she was an exemplary advisor because she was diligent, honest, humble, and truly cared about others. To her accounting students, she was the best teacher by far. She had well thought out lesson plans that challenged us and provided support even after school to help us succeed. As a registrar, she is the warm smile in the registration office and the woman that stays until sun down and even sun up to ensure that she has done her best to make sure that everything is not only done, but done right. To me, she is my role model and someone that I love to visit. She is the person that I have seen give back to countless people in so many different ways without asking for one thing in return. There aren’t enough words to accurately describe Mrs. Ifuku. However, one thing’s for sure - she’s positively changed my life and many others.

Rachelle Amparo Posted over a year ago

Merry Ifuku is one of the kindest, pure, hardworking and joyful people I have ever met. I have known Merry for 20 years and in that time I have not once seen her get upset or say an unkind word to anyone. In fact, she has always been the opposite! She is always kind and gracious and willing to do whatever it takes to achieve excellence. I am a theater director so I stay late many nights after school and most week nights she would be the one staff member left on campus working. There have been countless times where I was leaving campus after 10:00pm and I call her to see if she is leaving and she will tell me to go ahead while she finishes. Over the years I have gone to her with so many requests and whether it was class size, schedule, students grade corrections or even ticket sales for our shows. She was always smiling, kind and willing to help. Merry is truly one of the most selfless people I have ever known and I can not imagine working at this school without her. Thank you Merry for bringing so much joy wherever you go and congratulations on this well deserved nomination.

Nicole Hammond Posted over a year ago

Merry is the perfect name for such a wonderful woman! Congratulations on receiving the recognition you so rightly deserve. We love you, Merry!

Andrew Chung Posted over a year ago

My Aunty Merry exemplifies the kind words Mr. Shinkawa shared and more. She is always cheerful and smiling, no matter the time or day. Growing up, she always took great care of my cousins and I (6 of us total) and from reading Mr. Shinkawa's comments, my Aunty treats her students no different. Hard-working and selflessness are two words that describe my Aunty and I couldn't be more excited for her to be nominated for this award!

Erica Woolridge Posted over a year ago

Congratulations! I can’t think of another person deserving of such a nomination. Merry is wonderful, helps everyone, and goes above and beyond at all times. The award appropriately reflects the endless hours she has spent helping teachers, students, and parents. I wish you unlimited success in the future.

Amani Martin Posted over a year ago

Merry has done so much for our school especially since the pandemic hit. She has found ways to accommodate to all of the students and staff while also overcoming a multitude of challenges :) she’s awesome!!!

Caroline Lee Posted over a year ago

Congratulations, Merry! Because of you, I learned how to better advocate for my students and became a stronger teacher. For years, I have witnessed your selfless work ethic and love for our school. Being a co-advisor with you and Dianne in Interact club to almost 100 kids during my formative years as a history teacher, are one of the best memories I have as an educator. You sacrificed most of your weekends with children volunteering to raise money for the those who are struggling economically in the community, save the water in Africa, help serve during all holidays for community outreach programs, and so much more. You tirelessly supported our club students, while teaching a full line of business, but Interact was incredibly popular because you who you are. You are an outstanding educator, leader, mentor, and someone who changed my life. Merry’s famous quote for why we help is, “just because.” She lives this motto of giving without expecting and I am so thankful she has been recognized.

Maria Olsen Posted over a year ago

I can’t say enough about Merry. We moved here in 2017 during my daughter’s sophomore year. It was a rocky start. Merry’s personal investment in my daughter’s experience and well-being, without a doubt, changed the course of her life. Well deserved, Merry! Congrats.

Delta Westcot Posted over a year ago

Ms. Ifuku is the hardest working gal at Kapolei H.S. and enjoys much support by all due to her Merry disposition and caring attitude

Marisol Onza Posted over a year ago

Merry is an amazing person, a pleasure to work with. She brightens up the room with her contagious smiles and laughs. Her intrinsic motivation to always prioritize our students is admirable. She always asks me, "What would you do as a mother to this student?" She gets me all the time and even inspires me to bring my “A” game to work at all times: to put on my maximum effort, focus and undeniable commitment. Merry embodies the theory behind NO CHILD IS LEFT BEHIND. She is a hard worker and a great leader, always making sure that our students have the opportunity to learn in the best possible way and have the support they need to achieve their goals.

Kayla Cruz Posted over a year ago

Congrats Merry! So well deserved! Without your guidance and support these past years I don't know if I would have made it through or got to where I am now. Thank you for all that you do friend!! You exude Caring, Dignity, and Integrity in everything you do. We need more Merry's in this crazy world.

Francine Aki Posted over a year ago

So deserving of you Merry. As an assistant working with Merry, I can honestly say that she has made an impact on my life in such a positive way. She is always putting needs of all stakeholders first, works long hours (even at home), and treats everyone with kindness.

Tricille Otineru Posted over a year ago

I was a Business Academy student the first year Mrs. Ifuku came to us from Baldwin High School on Maui. I remember on the first day of class, this petit figure walked out of the fish bowl office wearing a huge smile on their face. They paused, and greeted the class with an enthusiastic, "Hi!". She instantly lit up the room. Her perky attitude immediately subsided the accounting class' nervousness. Mrs. Ifuku's teaching style made accounting approachable and - dare I say - fun? When I reflect on my days in the Business Academy, I always think of her. Even though we may have given her headaches - and caused her cute hair-twirl quirk to go into overdrive - she never gave up on us. Whether it was for accounting help, or just being someone to talk story, you could count on her to give you her undivided attention. Her care and commitment to her students was and continues to be unrivaled. I am thrilled to hear Mrs. Ifuku has been nominated to be recognized for her self-less service. It is well deserved!

Lisa Gonzales Posted over a year ago

Like I always said, "You are the Queen." You have those Queen-like qualities. You are kind, sweet, always willing to help, and always making me feel important. Mahalo

Cynthia Chong Posted over a year ago

I can attest to how Merry Ifuku goes far beyond expectations and at personal sacrifice to support students. Because registration affects their high school experience for the next year and following, she goes to great lengths to give students information and to guide them through the process. Her meticulous organization skills are evident when she prepares the teachers and counselors to assist the students in their choices. It was truly amazing how she converted from paper to digital to execute the registration process and other registrar related responsibilities in the virtual world due to Covid-19 restrictions. Her personality matches her name even when it's the 11th hour, a long line of teachers are at her door, and statewide deadlines loom over us. She reminds even then what caring, dignity, and integrity look like.

MGunz Moreno Posted over a year ago

MUCH CONGRATULATIONS...  MUCH DESERVED and a Pleasure working with you. Semper Fi. 

Darren Hernandez Posted over a year ago

Merry you are the best! You are truly one of those people who come along once in a generation-a genuine person of high character and integrity. You never have a negative thing to say about anyone and you always see the good in every person and situation. Let your light shine! Kapolei loves you!

Denise Huth Posted over a year ago

Thank you for all that you do, and I cherish how you serve with all your heart. No matter what the task is place before you, your're always serving with a positive attitude along with her beautiful smile. Love you Merry!!

Bryan Rankie Posted over a year ago

It is clear to all who know Merry that she will stop at no end to make sure the students of Kapolei High School are successful. However, those same people will attest that Merry will always make time to support her colleagues. There is no one person more deserving of this award than Merry Ifuku. She has undoubtedly changed students, staff, and my life for the better!

Rae Posted over a year ago

Merry, You are so deserving of this nomination. You are one of the sweetest, loving and positive people I know. I look up to you as a mentor, colleague, and friend. Congratulations on your nomination. I really hope you are chosen. There needs to be more people in the world like you. You definitely inspire me to be a better person. Aloha, Rae

Kamaile Posted over a year ago

Merry is an exceptional person and colleague. She is hardworking, compassionate, and treats everyone as if they were her FAMILY. She continually motivates people to be and do their best.

Angelique Lacaden Posted over a year ago

Congratulations Merry! Thank you for all you do! Your amazing smile and positive energy is contagious! Your hard work and time you give for our students and staff is appreciated! You are a LIFECHANGER!!

melissa dresbach Posted over a year ago

Congrads Merry! You have made a difference in my life!!

Leslie Posted over a year ago

Merry is definitely a life-changer! She brings such positivity, care, and attention to detail every day. Even though she handles so much responsibility, Merry always finds time to help those who have a question pop up or need a certain issue looked into. She makes our campus a better place and helps our students reach their potential by making their desired schedules possible through her organizational magic. :)

Kaley Tamura Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Ifuku, along with the rest of the Business Academy teachers have definitely shaped and guided me to the person that I am today. I joined Business Academy with the intention of being with my friends and an interest in the activities they participated in. Little did I know that this Academy would make such a big impact on my life. I specifically remember the year I had accounting with Mrs. Ifuku; numbers, analyzing, financial transactions wasn't exactly my best subject, but Mrs. Ifuku always left her door open outside of class hours to tutor/assist her students. I probably stayed after school everyday to get help on my assignments. With her dedication and time, I passed the class with more than what I thought I could do. I even considered majoring in Accounting in College after taking her class. Although I didn't end up majoring in Accounting, I still decided to go the Business route, and graduated with a BA in Business Management. I really wouldn't have considered any Business degree if it weren't for Mrs. Ifuku and the Business Academy. Her infectious laugh and positive attitude is what kept our class going. Although it wasn't our favorite subject, she made it fun and engaging. I'm 8 years out of High School and I'll always, ALWAYS be grateful and remember what Mrs. Ifuku and BA has done for my future. I can't thank them enough for going the extra mile as educators to make sure we weren't only learning, but to know they actually care. I'm so happy and proud that she is nominated for this award, she deserves it so much.

Dee Kusumoto Posted over a year ago

Merry is fitting for the title of LifeChanger because she truly is that in my role as HQT Liaison. When families need to be informed of the notification, Merry spends an abundance of time helping me to merge teacher and students on to the letter. Now you might think that merging letters is not such a big deal, but with the tons of information that needs to go into the appropriate fields to get this done is no joke with respect to the time involved. And as Principal Shinkawa stated, triple-checking is the minimum. To do less would elicit the comment of, "Heavens! Can you imagine if the parent had the wrong letter? Oh no, we have to triple-check at the least." And with her hypnotic way, you are forced to agree (LOL). Then, she would burst out with her infectious laugh that is so identifiable with her. Of course, with her caring nature, she would always inquire as to how we are doing and try to feed us with her various snacks in the office. Merry's hard work, professionalism, and caring,to list a few of her qualities, makes her fitting for this nomination. She truly is a LifeChanger! Mahalo, Merry!!

Tessa Gersaba Posted over a year ago

Mrs. ifuku was my teacher from 2012-2014 and she made my last two years of high school very enjoyable. I was also in the interact club before I joined the business academy and she was the teacher for the club and she always knew how to make everyone want to be apart of helping the community and helping others. Mrs. ifuku was not only a great teacher, but also someone I could talk to when having trouble at home or anything in my personal life, her and all of my business academy teachers felt like moms/family to me. She is the reason I got my degree in accounting because of the way she taught the class it made me fall in love with it. She definitely is a life changer.

Layla Connelley Posted over a year ago

Merry is the educator that I aspire to be. She is infinitely caring, patient, and always has the best interest of our students at heart. She works tirelessly, often sacrificing her own time without a complaint. No one is more deserving of this than Merry.

Kau'i Nakamoto Posted over a year ago

Congratulations Merry!!! I could think of no one more deserving than you. You are an inspiration to us all, this write up exemplifies your true being and temperament.

Chalei Kailikea Posted over a year ago

I had the privilege of having Mrs.Ifuku as my teacher, before she moved over to registration at Kapolei High School. And I will say this, she is one of those teachers that leave an impact on your life. She cares for her students, she goes above and beyond and she makes sure we are doing our very best. I recall a time when I was a bit overwhelmed in my senior year, she pulled me on the side and had a one on one chat with me to 1) make sure I was okay 2) to encourage me to keep on going and that I could do it! When I say she cares, she really does. We weren’t just “students” to her, we were like her kids and to me, that makes all the difference when a student is in high school. She is a huge reason why I loved my last 2 years of school. You are her best, Mrs.Ifuku! ...PS; she always called everyone friend. “Hi friend” lol

SondraAppleton Posted over a year ago

Merry is 100% dedserving!

Kristin Prado Posted over a year ago

Merry is one of the most amazing people I have ever known or worked with. She has such a full heart for everyone and treats all students and staff members equally - from support staff to top administrators. She is ALWAYS positive and smiling. I could not think of someone more deserving of this award than Merry.

Ahmad Martin Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Ifuku is the most patient, caring, and selfless person that I have ever met. I moved to Kapolei from the mainland (New Hampshire) and intended to enroll my daughter has an incoming freshman to Kapolei High School. Before I even stepped foot on the island, Mrs. Ifuku stayed constantly engaged with me to make sure that we had all of the information needed to get my daughter enrolled in the right classes. After several conversations with Merry, I knew that we had made the right choice in having our daughter attend Kapolei High School. I seriously can not thank Merry enough for making our family's transition as smooth and pleasant as she did. It's not everyday that we feel that others are going above and beyond to assist, however, it's ingrained in Mrs. Ifuku's every day work ethic. Thank you Merry!

Falon Akana Posted over a year ago

THE HARDEST WORKING LADY! 15 years of knowing Mrs. Ifuku. Being a former student and co-worker to Mrs. Ifuku, I personally can say she makes the darkest times, brighter. She will spend all day and all night helping students be the best version of themselves. She will push students to their best potential and provide them guidance along the way. She finds resources to help students engage and to learn for those who are not textbook learners. She gives all her time to her students while maintaining a household of her own. She has been one to inspire me to become an entrepreneur. She gave me a foundation of accounting/ business background that lead me to get my Degrees in Business Administration with a major in accounting and minor in economics. When I’m back on the island I often visit them I still seek guidance from her. I have her personal cell phone number if I ever need her she still continues to be there for me. I respect her as my former teacher, I seek her for mentorship and love her as a friend. She is beyond deserving of this award.

Mariana Cronin Posted over a year ago

Amazing, wonderful, loving, welcoming and...many more characteristics to describe our beautiful Merry. We are blessed to have her in our Kapolei HS ohana!!!

Felipa Save Posted over a year ago


Lin S. Giang-Ryan Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Ifuku deserves Lifechanger of the year nominee because she is the most respectful and true hearted person that I have ever met.

Nicole Westman Posted over a year ago

YES!! Merry is absolutely deserving of this recognition! Not only does she go above and beyond, but she does so with a smile.

Sarah Smorol Posted over a year ago

Much deserved! We're all behind you Merry!!

Jeffery Sampson Posted over a year ago

Love you Nashville friend.. NO one deserves it more... you changed my life the first time I met you and heard you address our facility...for real... proud to call you my friend and collogue

Richard Tanuvasa Posted over a year ago

Mr. Shinkawa: “Why are we doing this?” Ms. Ifuku: “Because it's the right thing to do for our students and families.” Mr. Shinkawa: “You're going to be here all night.” <<<<--- that is the TRUTH! we were working on the Registration website.. School had a power outage.. We went up to Mr. Madela's home and um... Well we didn't leave till after MIDNIGHT haha.. She wanted that registration website to be user friendly and very informative for the students... She wanted to make sure the website was viewable, no gliches, links working properly, graphics at it's best, dot the "i" and cross the "t" kind of educator.. She is the energizer bunny for sure..

Kehau Wray Posted over a year ago

I had the privilege of working with Merry for 10 years. She is a dedicated, hard-working educator who developed real-world projects our students still talk about today! Her positive attitude is contagious. No matter how down you are, she will cheer you up with her laughter and smile. She is the teacher I aspire to be! So proud of you Merry!