Hall of Fame Moment
Dr. Don Miyada (Class of 1942) began at Newport Harbor High School in 1938, unaware that in the next few years, world events would keep him from his graduation day. In the spring of 1942, Don Miyada and his family were sent to the Poston War Relocation Center, a Japanese Internment camp in Arizona. He treasured the NHHS diploma he received at Poston by mail, because many of his peers from other schools were not given their diplomas; however, he missed the opportunity to celebrate this accomplishment. When the Seniors of the Class of 2014 learned of Dr. Miyada’s story, they were so moved they decided to invite him to be a part of their own ceremony, and so right a decades-old wrong.
Despite the hardship of his family’s situation in 1942, Dr. Miyada remarkably kept a positive outlook, and what he remembers most from that time is the kindness of other people. While in the Relocation Center, he received a letter from his NHHS Social Studies teacher, Roy O. Andersen, who went on to serve as Superintendent and have a Newport Beach elementary school named after him. Touched by his teacher’s genuine concern, Dr. Miyada treasured this letter and held onto it for more than seventy years before giving it to our school to be displayed in Heritage Hall.
In 1944, Dr. Miyada joined the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and was awarded with the Congressional Gold Medal for his service in a Washington D.C. ceremony in 2011. When World War II ended, he was finally free to pursue higher education, and earned a B.S. in Chemistry at UCLA, and then a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Michigan State University. After continuing with post graduate studies, he returned home to California to teach at UC Irvine.
Because of his many accomplishments in the face of such adversity, Dr. Miyada was in the first class inducted into our Hall of Fame on June 19, 2014. Later that afternoon, he joined the Class of 2014 at graduation and received his diploma in person 72 years later to a standing ovation.
We at the NHHS Alumni Association, along with the entire Sailor community, are honored to count Dr. Don Miyada as one of our own.
See more of Dr. Miyada’s story here: