HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Kris Maeda is the fourth-grade teacher and head basketball coach at Hongwanji Mission School.
He says he uses the sport to teach kids of all ages valuable life lessons.
"It's so awesome to see these kids grow from the time they're maybe even three to high school and to be able to see what I teach them or what they get from me, they become better people and learn how to work hard," Maeda said.
On top of that, he coaches a clinic every Sunday to teach kids teamwork and diligence year-round.
"I love this school. I love our program that we've built and it's great to see kids move on to the bigger schools and be successful," said Maeda.
Students like Jacob Kimura, who just graduated from Punahou as an all-state basketball player.
Kimura is now going on to play college ball at Hawaii Pacific University. Maeda coached Kimura since he was 7 years old.
“That’s my son’s initial involvement in basketball playing for Kris and coming to the clinics and getting better. And today, he loves the game,” said Troy Kimura, the school’s athletic director.
For Maeda, he says it’s not just his love of the game, it’s his commitment to education.
“Teaching them life skills, teaching them hard work and teaching them how to have fun at the same time," he said.
He started his clinic 12 years ago to help Hongwanji Mission School students.
But today, it's open to kids of all ages from all schools.
“I guess word of mouth has traveled and now, it's a small percentage of Hongwanji kids and mostly the surrounding community. In fact, some people come in from as far as Mililani to take part in Kris' clinic,” Kimura said.
Money Maeda raises through his clinic he donates to Hongwanji Mission School.
“He’s a 110-percenter in everything and he’s definitely in my opinion, a Hometown Hero,” said Kimura.
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