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January 17, 2013

Hawaii hometown backs Te’o after girlfriend hoax

(Continued)

LAIE, Hawaii —

Students at Hauula Elementary often wear Notre Dame jerseys with his number “5” on them. Te’o has returned to the area to talk to students about the importance of staying in school, said school administrator at a nearby high school, Makala Paakaula, 38.

“He always keeps giving back to his community,” Paakaula said.

Te’o should be lauded for uniting Notre Dame during his senior year when he could have left for the NFL, she said.

“It’s amazing how he brought together the whole school to become one ohana, one family, where they all belonged, where they all had a purpose,” Paakaula said.

Many people expressed anger toward whoever was behind the entire affair.

“If he got hoaxed, that’s not his fault — shame on them,” Paakaula said, “because he has a very trusting, open heart.”

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