KS ALUM N I
‘KS Forever’ Philosophy Leads to Wins on the Court, in Classroom
t 6 years old, Chris Blake KSK’91 made a decision he considers to be one of his best in life. Fresh out of kindergarten, Blake had the choice to move to Hawai‘i island with his mom, or continue his education at Kamehameha Schools Kapälama. He decided on the latter. Fast-forward nearly 35 years later, and Blake will tell you how he’s “been at KS forever and just can’t get away. It’s been quite the ride, but I enjoy every minute of it.” Blake, who marks his 15th year of service to KS as a teacher at Kapälama, has spent 13 of those years as head of KSK’s girl’s volleyball team, arguably one of the best programs in Hawai‘i girl’s volleyball history. Prior to accepting the head coaching position at Kapälama in 2003, Blake spent three seasons as an assistant under the late Ann Kang at ‘Iolani, and four before that at KSK under Dan Kitashima KSK’71. His coaching experience, however, began at Kapälama on the boy’s side during the 1993 school year, alongside Reydan “Tita” Ahuna KSK’84, Mike Among, and Damien Hardy, continuing on with Pono Ma‘a KSK’82. In October 2015, the Warriors captured their 20th girl’s state championship and eighth with Blake at the helm, defeating ‘Iolani in a five-set thriller.
Chris Blake is marking his 15th year as a KS Kapälama teacher. He’s also led the Warriors to eight state girl’s volleyball titles.
“Honestly, I don’t think it was our best game, we’ve played better ones, but it was the best game we could play at the time,” said Blake, who noted the culminating moment for he and assistant coaches Rebekah Torres KSK’08, Koala Matsuoka KSK’09 and Lesli Akeo KSK’09 came between sets four and five when senior Brooke Kaawa KSK’16 and junior Kayla Afoa KSK’17 took control of the huddle around the bench. “We were on the outside looking in and they were saying all the things that would’ve came out of our mouths, and that to me was it. The girls internalized everything and the things that were said were taken to heart because they were able to execute,” Blake added. Trophies and accolades aside, for Blake, the real success as a coach is seeing former players and managers move on to the next level of play, and then return to Kekühaupi‘o Gym to give back to the current roster.
“The strength of our team is our team. We talk about playing with one heart, with each other and for each other,” he said. “I tell the girls every season, ‘You want to not only play for the girls who are on your team, but the ones that came before you and the ones that’ll come after you.’ ” Off the court, Blake utilizes his degree in physics and physical science from the University of Hawai‘i at Mänoa as head of KSK’s science department and teacher of all things physics. He also heads a year-long science elective, Mälama Honua. The class was formed as a result of the science department looking for ways to diversify its offerings. The course, designed to give students the opportunity to experience the Earth through huaka‘i (trips) while identifying, examining and working to come up with solutions to various sustainability issues, also follows the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s Mälama Honua World Wide Voyage, which Blake added allows his students to see sustainability on a global level. Only in its second year of instruction, Mälama Honua has already taken Blake and his haumäna (students) on huaka‘i to Aotearoa to meet up with Höküle‘a and Hikianalia in Auckland, Ka‘üpülehu on the west side of Hawai‘i island and various KS lands around O‘ahu. “We have all these wonderful continued on page 58