2014 Alumna of the Year: Dallas Nagata White

Since opening its doors, King Kekaulike has educated thousands of students who have gone on to make unique achievements throughout our community, both here at home and afar. Many go unrecognized, but the successes of Kekaulike alumni are quite amazing and are important to share.

Class of 2014 student, Joebelle Bonete, wanted this to become a reality and decided that the best way of memorializing achievements of alumni and sharing it with the Kekaulike community was through an alumni award. Yearly awards already exist for a Kekaulike Teacher of the Year, Class of the Year, and Student of the Year and an Alumni of the Year award seemed only natural.

Bonete took on the award as her senior project and laid the foundational components for the award, which focuses on recognizing individuals who have demonstrated unique accomplishments following graduation from Kekaulike.

Her hope was that the Alumni of the Year would not only inspire up and coming students to think big in what they can accomplish in their future, but also showcase the value of a Kekaulike education.

Nominations were sought and an alumni award panel vetted each applicant with one finalist being awarded the recognition per year.

In 2014, Dallas Nagata White, a class of 2004 graduate, was awarded the distinction of being named the first recipient of the Alumni of the Year Award.


Dallas Nagata White.


Nagata White, a professional photographer, is well known for her vibrant photos that grace the covers of publications such as National Geographic, Vogue, Huffington Post, Honolulu Magazine, and other renowned publications both locally and internationally.

Most recently, she had the privilege of taking the official photo of newly elected Governor David Ige in his Executive Chambers in front of the seal of Hawaii.


Official photo of Governor David Ige by Dallas Nagata White.

This however, is only one of many of her adventures. In 2012, one of Nagata White’s photos went viral, as she captured the “Hottest Kiss Ever by Active Lava Flow.” The photo even landed her in the Huffington Post, which showcased the photo and reported the background of the photo. The story goes that when she and her husband were visiting the Kilauea lava flow on the Big Island, they decided to snap a quick photograph. Using a DSLR, tripod and wireless flash system, Nagata White’s photo got an added something special when her husband, ever the romantic, dipped her into a dramatic kiss as the rain started falling.

The photo is quite breathtaking and is only one of many that you can find in her dramatic collection.


Although much of her talent was built up from experience, Nagata White holds a bachelor’s degree in studio art with an emphasis in painting and photography from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa.

She was born and raised on Maui but currently resides in Honolulu with her husband Ed. With her newfound reputation, she is now more selective in her projects and considers herself an editorial and commercial photographer.


Ed White and Dallas Nagata White.

When asked about her being a Kekaulike graduate, she stated that, “I’m proud because it was one of the newer public school in the State of Hawaii but we know we went to good one,” she said.

“It was a good place to come out of and there has been a lot of successful people to come from our school,” said Nagata White.

Despite all her success, Nagata White understands that although getting work done is important, you still need to set aside time for fun.

Her advice for those looking for success is to, “work hard and get your work done. Learning to work hard early really pays off in the long run,” she said.


“Having the discipline to keep working hard and goof off is good but don’t forget to schedule time to goof off because you’ll need that for a full life and a good experience.”

A collection of Nagata White’s photos can be found online at www.dallasnagatawhite.com.

Nominations for the 2015 Na Ali‘i Alumni of the Year is currently open until Wednesday, April 8. Criteria and the application can be found HERE.

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