Modesto Salve was the first Filipino to graduate from a public high school in Honolulu.
"I was the oldest member of the class. I was 24 at graduation. When I came to Hawaii from the Philippines in 1920, I went to work for the plantation. I met Oren Long who was a social worker (later a Territorial governor)."
"Would you like to develop from the neck down or from the neck up?"
I said, "From the neck up, and he wrote to the Honolulu Theological Seminary so I could study for the ministry."
Modesto worked his way through McKinley High School by waiting tables and washing dishes at the Quality Inn on Hotel Street. The building is no longer there. "I worked from 7 until 11:30 p.m. for $1 a day, and did my homework in the kitchen at midnight.
"We were living at the end of our shoestrings behind Kaumakapili Church. With the pennies I saved from my job at the restaurant, I couldn't afford the five cents for the streetcar ride to school, so I walked both ways.
"I didn't have enough to buy lunch, either, so I would bring two pieces of bread. On the back of McKinley High School campus, there were wild tomatoes growing, and I'd pick them and make a tomato sandwich."
After the university, Modesto went to work for Bishop Bank. Later he became the director of an insurance company and owner of his own monkey pod business. He is still interested in music and conducts senior citizens' string band.