Kapiʻo News Staff Writer, Cameron Enomoto, graduated with an AA in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Secondary Education this summer. (Photo courtesy of Kristen Enomoto)

By Cameron Enomoto | Staff Writer

Commencement is a time of celebration for students who just have or will soon graduate. Students can celebrate their academic achievements alongside their families, friends, and classmates and look forward to their future endeavors, whether that be in the workforce or higher education. As a Kapiʻo News staff writer, I have covered two commencement ceremonies here at KCC, and I decided to walk in the first-ever Fall Commencement that will take place today, Dec. 19, at 5 p.m. in Diamond Head Theatre.

To me, commencement is neither an end nor a beginning. It’s simply a stepping stone in life, though a rather large one at that. The accumulation of effort, time, and energy I put into my coursework over the years, especially during the pandemic, is a testament to my determination to succeed and pave a path for a better future for myself and my loved ones. I ultimately chose to walk in the commencement ceremony because I feel that there is a purpose in honoring my accomplishments before beginning the next part of my academic journey.

I graduated this summer with my AA in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Secondary Education after being a student at KCC since Fall 2021. Upon completion of my degree, I realized that despite teaching being a crucial job in today’s society, my true passion is advocating for people from underserved communities. As such, I have decided to transition to the Bachelor of Social Work program at UH Mānoa and study at the Thompson School of Social Work and Public Health beginning in Fall 2024. I plan to stay at KCC for the spring semester to take elective courses and spend time doing volunteer work to expand my knowledge and gain experience.

While I was unsure of where my college journey would take me at first, I am proud of the fact that I was able to complete my degree and find a career path that suited my interests and skills. During my first semester at KCC, I felt isolated from other students and disconnected from my professors because of the entirely online format. However, I grew to love it because it allowed me the flexibility to work multiple jobs and develop myself outside of academics. I was able to continue my hobby as a violist as well as rekindle my love for running.

Reflecting on my time here, I am grateful to have had the privilege of connecting with wonderful faculty and administrative staff both through courses and campus jobs. KCC graciously provided me with several opportunities to explore various pathways and broaden my horizons by exposing me to international perspectives. Through these viewpoints, I was able to draw similarities with my culture as a Native Hawaiian, strengthen my understanding of what it means to be Hawaiian and find peace with my cultural identity.

My experience was far from perfect, but I wouldn’t change anything at all. I firmly believe that everything has a purpose even if you aren’t able to see it in the moment and now that I am ready to further my education, I can appreciate the hardships I had to endure to get where I am today.

The commencement ceremony will be live-streamed and the lei ceremony begins at 6 p.m. outside of the Diamond Head Theatre. Any questions regarding the commencement can be directed to kapcomm@hawaii.edu.