Joseph Overton is a professor at Kapi‘olani Community College. He’s been working at the...
Category: Voices & Views
May 16, 2023 | 0 |
Alyssa Lai is a 32-year-old who graduated with an associates degree in Hospitality & Tourism from Kapiʻolani Community College last Friday at Commencement.
Lai attended Hawai‘i Pacific University in 2010 then dropped out due to difficulties in balancing work with school. She had been working full time.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Lai decided to return to her education.
“I needed something I was accomplishing for myself,” said Lai. “During COVID, I didn’t have anything, and that kind of scared me.”
She enjoyed her experience at the college, finding that the support of faculty, staff, and classmates helped her to succeed at college while working full time at Hilton Grand Vacations.
“It was a long journey, but … I got back on track,” said Lai.
Lai is of Native Hawaiian, Japanese, Chinese, Portugese, and Korean heritage.
She brought to Commencement a decorated cap highlighting her status as an indigenous woman with a degree, as her heritage was important to her, and she felt pride in being the first graduate of her family.
“Joining KCC, I was able to connect more with my Native Hawaiian culture,” said Lai. “I connected with the Hoʻopika Program just to understand more of my indigenous culture.”
- Noah DuranNoah Duran is a second-year student majoring in Economics at KCC. Originally from California, the 27-year-old decided to attend college in Hawaiʻi after vacationing for the first time on Oʻahu back in December 2017. As he pursues Economics at KCC, Duran hopes to learn more about investing as he makes connections with those on and off campus. Duran enjoys working with people who have advanced computer skills and are able to generate creative ideas such as startups (an entrepreneurial venture). In the future, Duran is looking to become a serial entrepreneur in which he said will benefit himself and others to make ideas become reality.