Scholarship fund being set up in popular teacher's name - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Scholarship fund being set up in popular teacher's name

Kurt Sonoda Kurt Sonoda
Keith Koga Keith Koga

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

SALT LAKE (KHNL) - Family and friends of a popular Pearl City teacher, who unexpectedly died May 1st from flesh-eating bacteria, gathered for his services in Mililani Wednesday.

KHNL News 8 has learned a scholarship fund to benefit high school students is being established in his name.

Each time Keith Koga takes a swing, he can't help but think about his longtime golfing buddy, Kurt Sonoda.

"He has been my best friend probably since I was 12," Koga said. "I miss him."

Sonoda died earlier this month from necrotizing fasciitis, commonly known as flesh-eating bacteria. The 45-year-old was a beloved golf coach and special education teacher at Pearl City High, where grieving students and staff set up a memorial.

"Just reading all the posters and the letters that they put up on the wall, it was just so touching," Koga said. "And it just really made me realize that he really had an impact on the kids."

So Koga and his friends decided to establish the Kurt Y. Sonoda Foundation. Money raised through an annual golf tournament and other avenues will go toward educational supplies and student scholarships.

"Hopefully with this, we can have his memory live on and support these kids that Kurt really had a passion for," Koga said.

Koga says working on the project helps him deal with his best friend's sudden death.

"It really hasn't hit me. I think it's probably going to take a while," he said. "We miss him a lot and I'm sure that by doing this, he'll be, he'll be smiling at us."

The 1st annual golf tournament will be held at the Honolulu Country Club this Friday.

For more information, click on the Kurt Sonoda Foundation link on our website.

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