HPA 39th Annual Membership Meeting

Date: January 26, 2017
Venue: The Plaza Club
Location: 900 Fort Street Mall, Honolulu, HI 96813
Time: 11:30am – 1:00pm
Article By: Laurel Grimes
The 39th Annual Hawaii Paralegal Association Meeting began with registration and buffet luncheon.  Members and guests were treated to a wonderful array of dishes prepared by the Plaza Club.
Next up was President Mathew Sagum’s address to the attendees.  He pointed out that HPA had achieved all goals set in 2016, thanked the Board for their service, and requested that HPA members get more involved with HPA by volunteering and reaching out to paralegals not in HPA, to let them know of the benefits received as members.
The Guest Speaker was the Honorable Lanson K. Kupau, Judge for the District Court of the First Circuit and Family Court, including the sub-divisions of Truancy Court and Juvenile Drug Court.  He spoke passionately about the issue of troubled youths, asserting that there needs to be more than punishment for offenses by juveniles – rather they should also receive support, guidance, and education.  Helping kids does have a lasting effect – in one year, truancy rates at Waianae Intermediate went from a 60% average attendance to 95%.  The most rewarding part of his work is having an impact and helping kids succeed.  The most challenging aspect he encounters is seeing the struggle abused children face and are subjected to daily.
Following that, President Sagum had the voting members review the Treasurer’s Annual Report and the 2015 Annual Meeting Minutes.  Both were unanimously approved.
Then the President presented awards to distinguished members:
               Career Achievement – Theona Poggi
               Paralegal of the Year – Susan Ramelb
               Leadership Award – Sharon Miyagawa
               President’s Award for successfully passing the PACE® Exam – Noe Burkett, RP®
Career Achievement recipient Theona Poggi then gave a touching and heartfelt tribute to longtime HPA member and past president Sylvia Lee, who passed away in June 2016.  On hand was her widower Duane Lee to accept HPA’s condolences and small tokens of appreciation.  A memorial table was set up in her honor to celebrate her life.
Kathy Muneno Thompson, the Oahu Board Vice President of the Children’s Justice Center (CJC), spoke about the organization’s work with sexually abused children.  The CJC takes in victims and coordinates to get them appropriate help and support.  The organization and its sister organizations, the Friends of the Children’s Justice Center and Ho’ola Na Mana’o, work with various professionals to care for children and ease the stress of telling their stories and moving into foster care.  Ms. Thompson then handed out pamphlets with more information about CJC, and gratefully accepted a $1,000 donation from HPA.
President Sagum spoke to the members about getting more involved with the work of CJC and Judge Kupau.  He promised to organize and encouraged members to consider giving back and assisting with this important work of helping Oahu’s children.
Then the Election Results for the 2017 Board of Directors were announced:
               President – Mathew Sagum
               Vice President – Ashley King
               Secretary – Susan Ramelb
               Membership Director – Ashley King
               Professional Development Director – Sharon Miyagawa
               Public Relations Director – Jacqueline Furukawa
               Publications Director – Laurel Grimes
               Pro Bono Director – Evelyn Gomez
               Job Bank Director – Heidi Friese
               Standards Director– Sonja Kahawai
Door Prizes were then given away and the meeting was adjourned.