We are actively working to preserve the physical artifacts as well as the stories and memories of life in one of America's concentration camps located at Poston, Arizona. It was named "Poston" or the "Colorado River Relocation Center", located on the Colorado River Indian Reservation during World War II. The Poston Community Alliance, Inc is a 501(c)(3)non-profit group.
Santa Ana College Bestows Honorary Degree on Nisei Generation Students
May 23, 2011
Kazuo Sato (Poston, Arizona internment camp block 21-6-D) , a former resident of Garden Grove, now a resident of the Silverado-Tustin community was honored at the Santa Ana College Commencement Ceremony. Kaz, a former student of the two-year community college was recognized alongside other Japanese-Americans who were forced to interrupt their studies and relocate to internment camps during the WWII era.
Seventy years after being forcefully removed from their homes, former students and surviving family members were bestowed with an honorary Associate’s Degree.
This video shows details of Kaz’s life before and after his time in the Poston, Arizona internment camp block 21-6-D.
Santa Ana College awards honorary degrees — and one associate’s degree — to wartime Nisei students.
May 25 2011
By Gwen Muranaka, Rafu English Editor in Chief
SANTA ANA — The Santa Ana College Class of 2011 stood as one last Friday night to give a standing ovation to a fellow graduate who tenaciously completed her studies many decades before.
"Margaret Funakoshi (Poston, Arizona internment camp block 328) completed the requirements for her degree in 1942, but today she will receive her diploma,” the public address announcer declared to the cheers of 500 graduating students and an audience of parents and friends at Santa Ana Stadium. With that a circle completed for Margaret (Funakoshi) Masuoka, wearing a floral lei and black cap and gown, as she received her Associates of Arts degree in botany — 69 years after she was forced to leave the campus, yet refused to give up her studies. “I was so overwhelmed, to think of that all the waiting and no diploma,” Masuoka said. “Every time I would hear the graduation march, it reminded me that I couldn’t complete my education.”
She was among four Nisei graduates to attend the Santa Ana College ceremony and the only one to have completed her studies. Masuoka, 89, incarcerated at Poston block 328, took a typewriter and her books with her to the Arizona desert. In 1942, she mailed in her typed papers and assignments, and was later informed of her successful completion of the work by U.S. Postal Service. “I took books instead of clothing to camp with me and wrote term papers. But they never wrote back to say they received anything,” she recalled. “I never heard, so I never knew if it was accepted or not.”
She was joined on the field by her husband, David, who was honored in 2008 by USC as one of 130 Nisei who were denied degrees at the outbreak of World War II. They both reside at Kokoro Assisted Living in San Francisco and were volunteers at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo for over 15 years.
Santa Ana College was able to identify 22 Japanese American students who were forced to give up their studies due to the signing of Executive Order 9066. Assembly Bill 37, which became law in October 2009, requires California’s public colleges and universities to retroactively grant honorary degrees to Nisei students whose educations were interrupted during World War II.
Honorary degree recipients are: Tommy Tamio Furukawa, George J. Higashi, Shizuko Ikeda, William Noboru Kobayashi, Masao Frank Masuda, Kiyoshi Elden Minato, Charles Y. Miyada, Sunao N. Murakami, Paul Murata, Tom Hitoshi Nagamatsu, Violet Fumiko Nagamatsu, Migaki Nakamura, Mitsuko Ochi, Minoru Otsu, Gladys Tsutaye Otsuka, Rakumi Sasaki, Kazuo Sato (Poston 21-6-D), Mary Ayako Watanuki, and Michiko Yamada.