It was a rite of passage for 84 Damien Memorial School students.
And for one of them, it was an extra special day to remember.
The Hahai’oe i’au, ‘Follow Me’ award was presented to Curtis Matthew Colipano, Jr. Sunday afternoon.
This is the sixth year the award has been given to a Damien senior.
It was inspired by First Lieutenant Jonathan Brostrom.
The Damien alumnus was killed by Taliban forces in Afghanistan nearly six years ago.
To his parents, it’s a heartfelt way to pay tribute to their son.
“Out of the thousands of young men and women who’ve given their lives for our country, very few get honored in this way. Having an award every year in honor of our son is a deeply humbling experience. Retired U.S Army Col. David Brostom said.
The award goes to the student who best exemplifies Lieutenant Brostrom’s spirit. In addition, the student must also attend a four-year college or vocational school.
For Curtis Colipano, earning the award wasn’t easy. He was on the school’s paddling team, and also performed hours of community service. All while finishing with a 3-POINT-5 Grade Point Average.
Colipano says First Lieutenant Brostrom is an inspiration to him… and his fellow classmates.
“He set a really good example not to give up, not to quit in any challenges he had.” “Follow Me” award recipient Curtis Colipano, Jr. said.
Colipano plans to join the Air National Guard, and will attend Chaminade University the following year.
And while this award is presented once a year, the Brostrom family says they think about their son every day.
“Damien’s a special school and Jonathan was proud to have graduated from here and I truly believe that the bravery and the values he demonstrated on the battlefield were taught here at Damien” Col. Brostrom said.