Fixing cars and building ohana

By Timothy Knaggs
Ka La staff writer

Professor Milton Tadaki, who has taught auto body repair and painting at Honolulu CC for the last 29 years, is retiring. But he’s always going to be part of the group’s ohana.
The mission of the program, according to the school catalog, is to serve the community as a learning-centered, open door program that provides entry level knowledge and technical skills.
And through that students, faculty and even former faculty have always shared a tight-knit bond that continues today, Tadaki said.
Students completing the program will be prepared for employment in the Auto Body Repair and Painting
industry and related areas.
Tadaki first got his training at Oregon Tech for automotive repair and and then in the HonCC auto body and repair program. Later he earned a bachelor’s degree so he could return to the school to become an instructor here.
After coming back to the Honolulu Community College, he took over from where his prior professors had, showing a will to help his students develop the necessary skills needed in the trade.
Over the next nearly three decades, the program changed from a two-year course, to a modular system, and more recently to a one year program.
“This was for the betterment of student development and the industry.” Tadaki said.
Through years the group’s family feel has grown as other graduates come back to help teach the new

Even now a former teacher who all the students know as Mr. O frequently comes by to have lunch and talk with the students, greeting students with a friendly “hello” and “how have you been?”
Donald Frost, another alumni of the program who now works in the school’s C.A.R.E program, carries the program’s ohana spirit with him, saying he is willing to “help show the person that they can do what ever they want.”

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