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Within the pages of an old yearbook, an important piece of paper was lost — until now

Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 6:10 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Picture it: The year is 1950.

Harry Truman is president, Hawaii’s not yet a state, and the elegant page boy hairstyle is all the rage for women.

Among this, June Landgraf is a smiling Senior ready to take on the world. Her black and white senior portrait forever sits among her classmates in the 1950 edition of Round-Up, the Roosevelt High School yearbook.

Beneath the book’s aged and textured cover is a time capsule of days long gone.

“A lot of cool photos of the 50s, how everyone’s dressed, the hairstyles, the way they write in cursive — Really fancy,” Manu Pagaragan said.

About a year ago, Pagaragan stumbled upon the book as a part of a collection he bought online. Antique hunting is a hobby of his. He’s been doing it for over 20 years.

“I like finding old things like this. I’m a history major, so old stuff intrigues me,” he said.

But this find came with something of extra importance. He discovered it while leafing through the pages of the book. He immediately knew what he had to do.

“Brought it home, took pictures and I came across that. Saw the diploma. I think I should return this,” he recalled thinking.

The simple piece of paper is titled “Territory of Hawaii – Department of Public Instruction.” It was June Landgraf’s High School diploma. Dated June 4, 1950.

It was complete with original signatures and all.

Through the power of the internet, Pagaragan found June’s sister on the mainland. She put him in touch with family back on Oahu and they were surprised to hear what he had.

“I called her. I explained that I had this. So they said they were crying, I got all teary eyed just thinking about it,” Pagaragan said.

He eventually found exactly who he was looking for.

At nearly 90 years old, Roosevelt Alumna June Cummings, née Landgraf, was reunited her yearbook and diploma at her Hawaii Kai senior living facility. Her smile beamed from ear to ear.

June Landgraf, nearing her 90th birthday, looks back on her high school days after receiving...
June Landgraf, nearing her 90th birthday, looks back on her high school days after receiving the book and diploma.(Manu Pagaragan)

“A moment like this was so special to see her excited about something,” June’s daughter Gayle Rodrigues said.

“She said thank you so much, and now I have something to do because I can read my yearbook. She was so happy to get her yearbook with the diploma. I think that diploma was the most important thing,” Rodrigues added.

They think over the years, the items got lost while moving between homes. They’re grateful it ended up in Pagaragan’s hands because when something has sentimental value, he says giving it back is priceless.

“The money, I don’t care about. The more important thing is that the family receives that item,” he said. “I feel super happy. Really happy.”

Other items in his collection include a picture of the 442nd infantry Battalion, student cards and a Waipahu High diploma from the 1970s.

He’s doing his best to track down original owners and is elated he found June — the smiling senior from Roosevelt High School, class of 1950.

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