The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

College remembers Hata

Cherry blossom trees bloom pink-tinted flowers, which overwhelm their green leaves in the spring. The trees line up in rows across the campus, spreading from The Manhattan to the planetarium.

Among these trees, the Annual Cherry Blossom Festival takes place behind the Communications Building. The festival is held annually to celebrate the coming of the spring in a Japanese fashion, but this year the festival had another special meaning.

“Cherry blossoms are a symbol of life lived fully, no matter how short,” Karen Baker, from American Honda and donator of the cherry blossom trees to the campus, said.

“Nadine Hata was an extraordinary role model and an inspiration to those around her,” she said.

Nadine Hata, EC vice president, passed away two weeks ago from breast cancer.

Bobbi Villalobos, acting dean of the Humanities Division, said that Hata worked with American Honda to bring the cherry blossom trees to EC.

At every Cherry Blossom Festival, a faculty member is awarded a bouquet of roses.

Villalobos said that this year the bouquet was going to be given to Hata.

This decision had been made before Hata had passed away.

“This is a very special presentation, and for many of us, a very emotional one,” Villalobos said. “Dr. Hata was a wonderful mentor to so many of us, a true educator and always a friend. We are so honored that she was part of our family.”

Angela Simon, psychology professor, is a member of a breast cancer support group and accepted the roses on Hata’s behalf.

After accepting the roses, Simon handed out roses to other members of the support group.

“Despite the fact that cancer took her life, it did not take her spirit,” Gloria Miranda, one of the support group members and the Dean of Behavioral and Social Sciences, said.

The Cherry Blossom Festival and the award of a bouquet of roses is a tradition dating back to 1912.

Villalobos said that the Japanese sent Washington, D.C. more than 3,000 cherry trees as a token of their friendship.

When the trees were planted, then first lady Helen Taft gave a bouquet of roses to viscountess Chin-da, the Japanese ambassador’s wife, Villalobos said.

As a result, the tradition of the Cherry Blossom Festival takes place every year at EC.

“Nadine wanted us to be here to honor her,” Simon said. “She told us, ‘May it be a glorious day.’ Although we are heavy hearted, we are making this a glorious day.”

The festival also included two flute duet performances by Stephanie Schwartz and Dr. Donna Factor.

Japanese professor Dr. Takiko Morimoto, with her students, read personally written haikus about the cherry blossom trees in Japanese.

“I think they are the bravest people in the world to stand in front of all of you and recite Japanese poetry,” Villalobos said.

Morimoto read a Haiku that she had written in memory of Hata.

In English, the poem translates to: “Your cherry flowers smell just as sweet as when you were with us.”

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