The civic spirit of the late Arsene “Blackie” Gadarian lives on, in the form of three $1,000 vocational scholarships recently given out to Lahainaluna High School seniors. At a Senior Scholarship and Awards program on May 10, Gadarian’s wife Sara and Gary Kepner present the awards.
A statement forward to us by Sara Gadarian describes the import of the scholarships, and their namesake:
Mrs. Gadarian pointed out that they were wearing Blackie’s Boat Yard bright orange work shirts. Blackie Gadarian was known as a very colorful character, and his trademark orange came from the early days of Blackie’s Boat Yard in Newport Beach. The boat yard started in 1964 with an empty lot and used machinery. A friend in the hardware business gave Blackie a large pail of red lead primer, which was used to keep the machinery from rusting further. After a year or two, the only color paint that would cover the primer was bright orange. So the orange color was used on the machinery, the tugboat, trucks, and continued after they moved to Lahaina in 1979 to the trucks and machinery in Blackie’s Boat Yard and Blackie’s Machine Shop, the roof of Blackie’s Bar, and to the current day home and workshop on Luakini Street.
Since 1981, the Gardarians have awarded 209 scholarships to students interested in pursuing automotive and/or woodworking vocations, according to the news release.
According to Sara Gadarian, here are the three students who won this year’s awards:
• Junior Moala wants to go into construction. He recently interned at Westin KOR in the Engineering Department, doing furniture and room repairs.
• Andrew Vicente is planning on a career in refrigeration or automotive skills. He also participated in the Auto Skills Competition in 2015.
• Jakob Opunui wants to get an Automotive Technician certification at University of Hawaii Maui College. He’s worked on many cars that members of the community brought to the Lahainaluna’s automotive shop.
Blackie Gadarian died in 2013 at the age of 91.
Pictured above, left to right: Sara Gadarian, Junior Moala, Andrew Vicente, Jakob Opunui, Gary Kepner
Photo courtesy Sara Gadarian