Harold Keables Commemorated Each Year with English Chair

Since joining the Oregon Shakespeare Festival several years ago, these three actors, David Studwell (top left), Tyrone Wilson (top right), and Kathleen Mulligan (bottom), have brought many Shakespeare plays to life. They have also traveled the country conducting lectures and seminars for aspiring students of William Shakespeare. Both teaching and acting are equally important to them. "I learn by teaching and what I learn in performing I try to teach. They are both dependent on each other," said Mr. Wilson.

BY MICHELLE SATO AND SHERI UYEMURA

Staff Writers

According to accounts by his former students, Harold Keables was a very strict, even harsh, teacher.

And by those same accounts, his teaching style was effective, and he influenced many of his students, his children and grandchildren, to become teachers.

Each year his legacy is commemorated with the Harold Keables Chair of English. This year, the event took the form of a Shakespeare Fortnight featuring three professional actors.

"He was simply a brilliant English teacher. One of the best teachers who has ever been at Iolani," said Mr. Charles Proctor, dean of the faculty.

In 1965, Harold Keables began teaching at Iolani and remained for 15 years. In 1980 he returned to Denver to be with his family, after having a stroke, where he died two years later. The board of governors then created the Keables chair in his honor.

"He was very strict. He was very demanding his training of AP students was very severe: really demanded nothing but really your best work," said Mr. David Masunaga, another former student.

After returning the students' graded papers, Mr. Keables would read the best paper of the assignment. His repertoire would not be limited to his current classes, but students might hear the paper of someone who was old enough to be a grandparent. "In his class, you were competing against everybody Mr. Keables ever had in his entire teaching career, and that was a long, long time," said Mr. Masunaga. Mr. Keables taught English until he retired at age 80.

"It's only been in the last few years that I've really come to appreciate what he taught me because he taught me more than just how to write," said Mr. Jeff Hackler, one of his former students. Mr. Hackler remembers him as a very strict teacher whose standards forced him to become a better writer.

One of the assignments Mr. Hackler remembers Mr. Keables giving him was to type out all the notes he had taken during the course of the year. The day before the assignment was due, Mr. Hackler appeared in the school play and had to study for a test. When Mr. Keables realized this, he asked Mr. Hackler why he did not ask for a postponement, and Mr. Hackler remembers the surprise he experienced because he always believed that, "When Mr. Keables assigned something, you did it no matter what."

Mr. Keables did all his teaching at Iolani during the years Iolani was an all-boys' school. "It was a very different school back then. You could do things in the classroom that you would not dare do now. You probably could not be that harsh now," said Mr. Masunaga.

Mr. Keables' son, John Keables, remembers "how proud of Iolani" his dad was. "My father was committed to teaching and he believed a lot in the importance of words and communication in everything," said Mr. John Keables.

Harold Keables was a widely celebrated teacher both inside and outside of the Iolani community. He was selected as one of the top teachers in the nation in the Yale University's Outstanding Secondary Teacher Awards, was named Life Magazine's "Teacher of the Year," and was given an honorary doctorate by the University of Denver prior to his retirement.

 

Return to Contents for Feb. 22, 2000