Parents: Janet and Dwayne Arelliano

High School: Sacred Hearts Academy

College/Degree: Whittier College, Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Science and minor in Biology

Occupation: Procurement Specifications Specialist I

What or who drives you to keep moving forward?

“Experiencing the quality traits of faithfulness, empathy and love drive me forward through life. We become stronger and unite as one when we are faithful to one another. We can empathize with another’s circumstances, whether it’s positive, negative or both, it gives us the opportunity to replace the feeling of loneliness with the feeling of being loved.

“Although these traits can be portrayed by anyone, I continuously see them through my role model and best friend, my dog, Tama. As much as he gets upset at me for leaving, he becomes that much happier when I return. Identification markers such as gender, race and sexuality does not affect his love for me; he loves me unconditionally, regardless of my actions. Due to the difficulty of applying this in our modern world, I find it hopeful to become a better person by striving to be more like Tama.”


Parents: Albert Chee Jr. and Shonn Hirota-Chee

High School: Kamehameha Schools Kapälama

College/Degree: University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice

Occupation: Administrative Assistant

What or who drives you to keep moving forward?

“When I reflect on my life and what drives me to keep moving forward, I think of my heroes — my grandparents. I am infinitely blessed to have all of my grandparents still here with me today. As a little girl, I was told stories of their childhood and the many challenges they faced. I vividly recall their stories of their childhood and the many challenges they faced. I vividly recall their stories of working hard in the kalo patches or growing up in a family of twelve children. Although times have changed, hardships and life’s trials are inevitable. The quote, ‘It takes a village to raise a child,’ holds true as I would not be where or who I am today without my grandparents. Their life lessons and stories have instilled in me compassion, selflessness, patience and hard work. With their constant support and unwavering love, they are the reason I push myself everyday to be a stronger person.”


Parents: Michiko Baba and Michael Chen

High School: La Pietra Hawaii School for Girls

College/Degree: University of Hawai’i at Mänoa, Bachelor of Fine Arts

Occupation: Entrepreneur, Artist

What or who drives you to keep moving forward?

“I am fortunate to be surrounded by talented artists, collaborators and entrepreneurs whom I have the honor and privilege to work with. A common initiative we share is to follow our creative vision and to finish what we have started as da Vinci, Bruno Mars and Oprah Winfrey have done. As an entrepreneur, I understand that success doesn’t happen overnight and isn’t built without overcoming obstacles. I believe it can be achieved through the creative process of trial and error. By embracing risk in business and exploring my imaginative curiosity and vulnerability as an artist, these experiences and valuable life lessons are preparing me for my next endeavors. When we are open to challenging ourselves, we tend to rise to the occasion. I would like to take this opportunity to contribute to my community what I gained and pass on the ‘aloha spirit’ in my own unique way.”


Parents: Nolan and Keiko Hiraoka

High School: Punahou School

College/Degree: International Christian University, Bachelor of Arts in Japan Studies, minor in Art and Cultural Heritage

Occupation: Student and Law Clerk

What or who drives you to keep moving forward?

“The spirit of ‘okagesama de’ drives me to succeed and move forward. ‘Okagesama de’ is a phrase that doesn’t translate well into English. Literally, it means ‘thanks to you,’ but it has a much deeper meaning of gratefulness. I am grateful to everyone who came before me, because without their hard work and dedication of my parents and grandparents, I was able to receive an amazing and diverse education and upbringing. Thanks to many women who came before me, I am able to attend law school and become a lawyer. Many of us who live in this modern world take for granted the privileges and rights we enjoy today. The sacrifice, dedication, and perseverance of those who came before me, drives me to be a better person than I was yesterday.”


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