He was their ‘perfect role model.’ With him gone, they’re trying to live up to his legacy

“If we get one or two kids to be half the person Nick was, that’s a plus.”
Published: Oct. 21, 2022 at 3:38 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 21, 2022 at 4:50 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - At Kaimuki High School, sophomore Nicholas Talavou Semeatu stood tall. It was because of his stature and the size of his heart.

He was the big kid on campus and the trumpet player in the school band who cheered on the Bulldogs teams ― win or lose.

“I told everybody, ‘Look. You might be mad about this or that or sad the football game went this way, but look to Nick because he just sits there and says ‘Let’s go Bulldogs!’” band teacher Alan Evans said.

He and others called Nicholas the “perfect role model.”

He served as a cadet in Junior ROTC, where he proudly wore the uniform.

Army instructor Lt. Col. Terence Bryan said Nicholas talked about enlisting in the National Guard someday to give back to his community.

“Nick was the kind of kid that was always upbeat. You never saw him get angry. You never saw him get upset with any of his peers. He always gave 110% to everything he did,” he said.

Even though he couldn’t play football this year, head coach Reid Yoshikawa said he would still show up at practices to hand out water and encourage the team.

“I told the team, ‘If that doesn’t show you the dedication and his heart, I don’t know what else would.’ That kid he just touches my heart,” he said.

The Bulldogs’ next game is dedicated to his memory. Nicholas died last week from a medical condition. He was just 15 years old.

His death hit the school hard.

“It’s a big hole,” Evans said. “It’s hard to know how to manage it.”

At a campus service, students and staff mourned him and remembered the young man they called the “Gentle Giant.”

“I really think something positive is going to come from this,” Bryan said. “If we get one or two kids to be half the person Nick was, that’s a plus.”

And if such a thing as a silver lining coming from loss, it’s in the words people use to describe Nicholas.

Those impressions will never die.

A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help his family with s funeral expenses. To contribute, click here.