It is with heavy hearts we share the loss of George Benda, a dear friend and member of our school `ohana, who unexpectedly passed away last week. George was with the school from the beginning, and his legacy lives on in every student who walks through its doors.
George and Pat are original school founders, dating back to 2003 when the school was established. It was during a meeting at his house that George said he had a name for the school, Aka`ula, in the hope that better weather would follow the red sunset. And with his help, it did. George wrote the school’s initial business plan and when the school opened, he served as our Board of Trustees chair for several years.
George was a lifelong environmentalist and philanthropist, who was active with the school’s PRISM Program in its early days. He provided students and staff with his expertise and mentorship. Pat and George attended almost every PRISM Symposium and invariably were excited by student presentations and the actions that might come from them. At the end of each symposium, there were always kind words and suggestions for student presenters.
A true philosopher, George recently authored a series of books (The Jack Slack Shoebox Dialogues) “to create a modern philosophical dialogue that will help right the human relationship with our natural world”.
We will miss George; his laugh, his larger than life personality, his vision, and his kindness. We are incredibly grateful to have had him in our lives.
We offer our heartfelt sympathy and support to Pat, who has asked that donations be made to the school in lieu of flowers. Mahalo.