While many students never had the opportunity to meet Colonel Stanley A. Sagert, the man credited with saving HBA, they are reminded of his name daily as we go to school on the Stan Sagert Campus. Sagert served as President of HBA for 17 years and died on January 25, 2014 at the age of 93 in Denton, Texas.
Sagert served as President of HBA for 17 years. Unlike what one would expect of an Air Force Colonel—a rough, strict, and cold persona perhaps— Sagert was known on campus as a sweet and loving father-figure who was always there to lend a helping hand. “You think of military people being really forceful and telling you what to do but he was not anything like that,” said high school principal Marsha Hirae. “He was kind and he spoke to you with respect. He always listened to you and wanted your opinion.”
Throughout his years at HBA, he managed to connect with numerous supporters for the school from the mainland who now make up the Mainland Advisory Council (MAC). HBA recently held its annual MAC week, a time for these supporters to visit the campus and meet students.
[Colonel Stan Sagert] was kind and he spoke to you with respect. He always listened to you and wanted your opinion.
However, Sagert’s legacy at HBA spreads much farther than the creation of MAC. As described in the book The Power of Your Love, a historical account of HBA’s first fifty years, Sagert’s numerous contributions began in the 1970s. In the early years of HBA, he founded the Caleb Club for local friends of the school who would commit to regularly supporting the school in prayer and financial donations. In addition to the $130,000 pledged from mainland sources, the Colonel’s Caleb Club had 52 members with $750 a month pledged. According to the book, his club was one of the school’s few reliable monetary sources at the time. Sagert also helped solidify the school’s Christian mission to spread and embody a life of compassion. HBA President Richard Bento said, “He had a great influence because he loved the Lord and wanted students to know who Christ really was. He did everything to help them understand what it means to know Christ personally.” At one point, Sagert even volunteered to teach high school Bible classes at HBA.
Sagert also helped with everyday tasks around campus. In the 1970s, when the school’s Makiki campus was still under construction, Sagert would be found fixing roof leaks by installing screens and emptying buckets full of water. He was involved in nearly every aspect of the school, from custodial help to office work. Sagert also stood as a constant source of support to his staff. Director of Admissions Katherine Lee said, “He always took an interest in my life. I was not just an employee [to him].” In honor of Sagert’s support and dedication, the HBA board named the Nu’uanu high school campus after him after his retirement, and conferred on him the title of President Emeritus. Hirae said, “[Sagert knew that] if there was a vision and God’s hand was in that vision, it didn’t matter how hard or how impossible things looked. If we worked hard and we believed that God would help us through difficult times, we would always get through it.”
He always took an interest in my life. I was not just an employee [to him.]
During MAC week, numerous tributes were paid to Sagert for his dedication and contribution to the school. Many existing MAC members remember meeting Sagert and how he introduced HBA to them. Summing up a sentiment expressed by many that week, retired teacher John Hom said in his tribute, “I would be remiss if I didn’t end in saying that Colonel Stan Sagert was a good, good man. It was my privilege to know him.”