The Mukais through the ages
April 20, 2017
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WS is full of students and faculty members with unique stories that makes this school something special. Principal Michael Mukai has a story of his own that many members of this school do not know: Mukai has three children in three different generations.
Tyson, the eldest, is 34 years-old; Thomas is 16-years old and currently a sophomore at Robinson Secondary School; and William is two months-old, born on February 20, 2017.
“Tyson isn’t my birth child, genetically,” said Mukai. “He was actually at Chantilly [High School] when I was there and because of some complicated family situation for him and his mom and stepfather ended up moving away, I became his legal guardian.”
At 25 years old, Mukai adopted his math and chemistry student. Mukai became closer to Tyson when he also became his wrestling coach.
Tyson played lacrosse as well as wrestling but he isn’t known just for his athletic abilities. He was senior class president in high school and scored high on his SATs.
“Tyson is probably the most talented single individual I’ve ever known,” said Mukai.
Tyson is the rescue helicopter pilot for the hospital of Christiansburg, Virginia. He flew one tour in Iraq as a pilot and flew one tour in Afghanistan. Beyond Tyson’s military career, he flew in the Apache scenes in the second “Transformers” movie. He also has three kids of his own: Jack, Jake, and Luke.
Wrestling is something that many members of the Mukai family have participated in. Thomas has taken after his brother in wrestling.
“Tyson is Thomas’ hero,” said Mukai. “It was always nice for Thomas to say he’s got a big brother and they both wrestle so they have that in common.”
Thomas is a champion wrestler with a nickname of “Gumby,” given to him by a coach from the opposing team during a wrestling match (Gumby is an American clay animation franchise known for his flexibility).
Thomas was only a child when Mukai first started at WS. A few staff members may remember Thomas when he would play around the school.
“I have known Thomas ever since was about five [years-old], a great kid,” said Renovation Liaison Becky Brandt. “[He’s] always been sort of a mini version of his dad, Mr. Mukai, [as] an extremely high achiever.”
Thomas also made an impression on Assistant Principal Shannon Matheny. Matheny’s son Tyler, currently a junior at Lake Braddock Secondary School, has known Thomas since they were in elementary school through wrestling. They’ve also traveled together outside of the season for outside tournaments.
“When they see each other out, they definitely reconnect and touch base,” said Matheny. “It’s like they never skipped a beat.”
Tyler and Thomas both won the state championship this year in wrestling. They were both recognized by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, March 24.
That leaves William, the youngest. At 7 pounds and 9 ounces, he follows a family of wrestlers.
Mukai has a strong and unified family that has the support of each other through thick and thin.
“By having to be the parent of a teenager first was a challenge at 25,” said Mukai. “I made a lot of dumb mistakes but he survived and did okay.”