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'06 Hawaii Hall of Honor inductee Shoji urges athletes to enjoy the moment

Jun. 2—

USA TODAY

'Iolani alum and U.S. national team setter Kawika Shoji celebrated with teammates after a win over Poland in a men's quarterfinal during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Before Kawika Shoji won an NCAA men's volleyball national championship at Stanford as the American Volleyball Coaches Association Player of the Year, played 12 years of professional volleyball across Europe and represented the United States at back-to-back Summer Olympics, he was a Hawaii Hall of Honor inductee.

Today, Shoji comes full circle from that night in 2006.

The 'Iolani alumnus will be the keynote speaker at the event honoring 12 of the top Hawaii high school athletes, who'll each be awarded a $2,000 college scholarship sponsored by the Hawaii High School Athletic Association and Enterprise Holdings. The 42nd annual Hall of Honor ceremony will take place at the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani's Ainahau Showroom with a scheduled 5 p.m. start.

"I look back and remember that night, getting inducted into the Hall of Honor and just the entire senior year and graduation time frame," Shoji told the Star-Advertiser.

"Here I am now going to speak at the event — let's see, 18 years later. Life moves quickly, and so I think it's really important for them to take a deep breath, get off the phone, social media technology, and enjoy this time and spend it with loved ones, because you never get it back."

Seven of the 12 athletes in the 2024 Hall class competed in multiple sports, as did Shoji, who was state co-player of the year in volleyball as a junior and co-player of the year in basketball as a senior.

"That's what I really appreciate about it, is that the majority of the inductees are multi-sport athletes," Shoji said. "That is really an accomplishment in something that's difficult to do, especially in today's world."

Shoji is back on island just in time after a business trip took him to the Bay Area this week. Since retiring from professional volleyball two years ago, Shoji has been a financial adviser and portfolio manager at Regency Capital.