Lahela Kauihana is a first-year student at KCC and intends to major in Travel and Tourism. She’s worked in the tourism industry for a number of years, and currently is a reservationist and customer service specialist for the Maitai Catamaran which is operated by the Sheraton in Waikiki. The Maitai Catamaran docks at Waikīkī Yacht Club next to Gray’s Beach. In 2011, Lahela began to immerse herself in Japanese culture and language while working in Waikīkī, and more study of the language coupled with a degree in Travel and Tourism will hopefully enable her to move overseas for work and future career opportunities.

Growing up in large, multi-generational family in Waimānalo, Lahela at one point counted up to 30 family members living on a single property with a few different homes onsite. While she is invariably busy with full-time work and classes (most free time is dedicated to her studies), she maintains a strong work ethic and drive to succeed because of her family. Says Lahela, “it’s my nieces and nephews. The kids in my family drive me.”

Her emoji-themed backpack was given to her by her nieces and nephews for her birthday, and came complete with with school supplies for her first semester at KCC.