Marcus Mariota and Us

Monday, July 13, 2015

Dayle Hoopai and JoAnn Oshima remember Marcus Mariota from his 2nd grade at Nuuanu Elementary

He was a soft-hearted kid and I remember him getting along with everyone.

My memory prevents me from remembering who he hung out with, but I think it was with those boys who were also as interested in sports as he was. When I had him, he was a struggling reader, but obviously he's come a long way since then.

He was a good boy that didn't get into trouble and his parents were very active at Nuuanu.

JoAnn: I had Marcus in the 2nd grade, and yes, he was a nice kid then, too.

He was very athletic even back then, and would sometimes be a little frustrated with some of his classmates who seemed to have no coordination at all.

For whatever reason, Marcus always wanted to go to St. Louis. Even back then so much of his art work had that red and blue theme.

Dayle:  I knew Marcus from the first grade and I was in charge of the silent auction at Nuuanu.

Marcus got us a NFL football signed by him and it auctioned for $2,000!

There was also a smaller football that raised $380.

We all have some signed memorabilia from him and JoAnn has his second grade picture and a Heisman shirt signed and framed in her house.

When we saw him at the Polynesian Cultural Center in February, when he was inducted into the College sports hall of fame there, he was genuinely touched that seven of his former teachers from Nuuanu School had come to see him receive this honor.

He had big hugs for each of us, and said it was a nice surprise it was to see us after all these years.

His fourth grade teacher, Marjorie Tupper, told us when he came to shoot the FHB commercial there, they she had to vacate her room for them to use it and also keep it a secret from everyone.

That didn't stop Marcus from stopping by to give her a hug and give the kids high fives as he was leaving.  The kids were thrilled, and kept asking, "Is that really Marcus Mariota?"

Jo Ann and I have had thousands of students over the years that we are proud of but none have had the publicity that Marcus has had.  We are so proud of him not only because of him living his dream but because of the person he has become...he is so humble and down to Earth.  His "fame" has not changed who is as a person.

We are so proud of him!

We look forward to watching his continuing journey. By the way -- I'm going with his former 5th grade teacher to a Titans game during the Thanksgiving weekend!