Who are Assets learners?

Here is a chance to meet a few of our most recent, inspiring graduates who are on their way to college, travel, work or study aboard. We are proud of their abilities and look forward to their life stories unfolding.

 Ben Ben  is the quintessential water sports lover! In fact, there isn’t a water sport that he doesn’t love.  Ben paddled and kayaked for Pac Five, serving as a two-year captain for the kayak team and he was selected for the all-star paddling team for ILH as a senior. In his free time, Ben loves to surf and body surf. With this love of water and movement, it is no wonder that he wants to pursue studying kinesiology at Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) in Tacoma, Washington. Ben selected PLU for its kinesiology program offerings and the fact that it has another water sport, a crew team, which he plans to join next fall!  Ben is dyslexic and has been at Assets since the 3rd grade. He thanks Assets for being a loving and caring place to grow and for teaching him to self-advocate. Ben’s future dream is to become a Navy Seal but his first goal is to transition successfully to college and finish his kinesiology degree.
Adam Each morning, Adam boards the 5:00 a.m. bus near his Kailua home, traveling downtown where he must change buses, riding close to two hours one-way to get to Assets on time. Then, again in the afternoon to get home, he repeats this journey, traveling four hours on the bus each day to obtain his Assets education. Adam’s dedication to himself, his education and his future is tremendous. Adam applied and was accepted to eight colleges. After the opportunity to visit six, he has decided to attend the University of Arizona at Tucson next fall where he will be participating in their SALT (Strategic Alternative Learning Techniques) center, a program designed to support students with learning and attention challenges succeed in higher education through academic support. Adam plans on taking all the pre-med course work with the goal of becoming an emergency room physician because he wants to be challenged by something new each day.  With Adam’s dedication and the support from the SALT program, his future is looking bright.
 Basil Basil has a passion for music. In fact, he and his guitar are rarely separated, plucking melodies of tunes he has heard for the first time by ear, he graces us freely with his music. In the classroom, he is one to challenge himself to dive deeper into concepts he learns and juxtaposes those ideas into his own epistemological experience.  Across the board, Basil excels in his academics and has a keen ability to think outside the box creating alternative and compelling interpretations that enhance the discussion.  In his free time, Basil likes to create and work on all sorts of hands-on projects that allow him to invent things he may use, demonstrating a particular passion and talent for engineering that he has honed through a summer engineering program through a National Student Leadership Conference at UC Berkeley.   With these abilities, it is no wonder that Basil will be attending Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo to study manufacturing engineering in the fall.
 Daniel A valued member of the Assets community, this year’s Valedictorian, Daniel  has been at Assets since the 7th grade. Daniel’s teachers know him to be empathic, diligent, persistent, self-aware and one who achieves excellence in all of his classes.    Daniel is remarkable in that he sets and holds himself to a high standard of excellence while exhibiting deep concern for his community.  Daniel is a natural leader who works to serve others, he is an inaugural member of Assets SAFE (Students Advisors for Education), a student led and created support community for students with learning disabilities. Daniel’s Christian faith shaped his college decision and he will be attending Wheaton College near Chicago next fall where he plans to study English.  As a vocation he hopes to pursue a career in journalism and for his avocation he has a life goal of serving others.
 Caitie A classmate described Caitie as unstoppable, inspired and immeasurable.  These goal-oriented attributes have served Caitie well in her Assets career and in her life.  Caitie started Assets three years ago, commuting from the Laniakea beach area on the North Shore after she was diagnosed with dyscalculia (difficulty learning mathematics). Dyscalculia didn’t stop Caitie and she has thrived with the Assets program.  Starting next fall, Caitie will be attending Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA where her brother is currently a student.  She is looking forward to studying biology and other sciences in hopes of pursuing pre-med, following in her Dad’s footsteps to become an emergency room physician.  As she graduates from Assets, we send our unstoppable, inspired and immeasurable Caitie off to face her future.
 Eva Eva’s love of art is well known here at Assets and her beautiful artwork graced our 2015 Through the Years event invitation.  When asked about her art and what influences her work, Eva remarked that, “art is natural and that it is the one aspect that gives her the most pride.”  As much as Eva enjoys art – drawing, painting, ceramics, you name it! – she has decided to pursue a four year liberal arts degree to broaden and expose her to more course offerings.  Eva is excited to be enrolling at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA this coming fall.  Originally from Seattle, she already has the lay of the land.
Paul Matsuda Lawrence As a child, Paul recalls being interested in “all things that move with engines…trains, planes and boats.” Paul’s focus honed in on planes and aeronautics when he was seven years old while traveling to Purdue University in Indiana with his Mom who had been invited to give a lecture there. Paul’s Mom knew of his interest in flying and arranged for a tour of the Purdue flight school. Paul was impressed by the university campus and states “Seeing the professional flight school with the flight simulators was inspiring.” It was at that moment that Paul decided that he would eventually attend Purdue University to become a pilot. Committed to his career path, Paul initially came to Assets to attend summer school while visiting his grandparents in Manoa Valley. He started attending Assets full time when his family moved to Honolulu from Washington DC when he was in 7th grade. Paul’s parents were influenced by the friendliness of the campus and the teachers never ending dedication to their students. When Paul heads off to pursue his dream of being a commercial pilot, he shares that “I am really going to miss Assets. I love the teachers, the staff and this welcoming community.” Paul was accepted into the Purdue professional flight school and will be studying for a bachelor’s degree in professional flight. In a few years, look for Paul when you fly!
Laura Heywood Ever since she can remember, Laura was drawing, painting and creating thus, it is no surprise that she will be attending the California College of the Arts in Oakland next fall. What may be surprising though is that during her junior year, Laura took the initiative to attend their precollege program where she took painting and drawing. During this pivotal experience Laura decided to major in fine arts and minor in photography and is now eagerly anticipating college life for she finds being around artists inspiring. Laura has been a student at Assets since 7th grade and shares that from the moment she started at Assets during summer school, she immediately connected with the school and this community. As Laura graduates and transitions to college, we send her off with warm wishes.  “Aloha Laura! Let your creativeness flow!”
Evan Tsuchiyama Evan finds food fascinating and delights in the act of cooking. He explains, “Food is everywhere with incredible variations in styles, creations, flavors and the art of preparing food is ever evolving.” Thus, it is no wonder that he is enrolled in the culinary arts program at Kapiolani Community College (KCC) this fall. Evan learned from his first mentorship position at Y. Hata, working alongside the head chef in the test kitchen, how to influence others by catering to their needs. Then, through his next mentorship position at Ryan’s, he decided that despite the demanding and fast pace environment of the kitchen, he wanted to pursue culinary school. Evan’s dad, who is currently a culinary professor at KCC, is supportive of his desires to pursue the food industry, but insists that Evan follow his own dreams. In the future, look for Evan as a guest chef at Assets Illumination event!
Kekoa James Few Boy Scouts achieve the rank of Eagle Scout, especially as a 15 year old. Yet, Kekoa James was and still is determined and tenacious. To achieve Eagle Scout, Kekoa coordinated a project in which he and his fellow Troup 176 scouts built a concrete staircase and path at Coconut Island using only donated materials that he obtained from local businesses. This thread of determination continues on the soccer field where Kekoa feels comfortable playing all field positions with ease. Next fall, Kekoa will continue to play soccer at Marymount California University where he intends to work toward a Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies. Kekoa’s love for media/videography and photography developed through his courses at Assets where he found himself challenged in his classes and discovered new tools. Kekoa’s interest, creativity and determination are the recipe for success in his future endeavors wherever this degree leads.
Danielle Asato “A lot has changed in my life since coming to Assets in the 7th grade,” says Danielle. Danielle who is dyslexic explains that she struggled in her old school and was bullied by other students because of her learning difference. Since coming to Assets, she has thrived in the classroom, in sports, in leadership roles and through her mentorship experiences. Danielle goes on to say, “Assets really changed me from a shy student who lacked confidence into President of my class for my junior and senior year.” During her senior year, Danielle’s mentorship at the Children’s Discovery Center deepened her passion for working with children. She will continue working with their summer camp program this summer until she leaves for college at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA where she intends to study elementary education with a minor in special education. Danielle’s life was transformed through Assets and she intends to study to be equipped to transform the lives of others—truly a captivating transformation.
Lucas Scheon Lucas is in for an adventure of a lifetime as he graduates from Assets. This fall, through Kroka, a wilderness adventure program based in New Hampshire, he will be living for a semester in Ecuador, South America. While in Ecuador, he and his fellow Kroka mates will be immersed in the culture, speaking Spanish while paddling the Amazon River, and hiking and climbing Ecuador’s volcanoes from their base camp in Hacienda Palugo, outside the city of Quito. One reason Lucas desires to participate in this program is to escape the constant barrage of technology and be in the wilderness with his thoughts to reflect on how he sees his life unfolding. I cannot help but compare Lucas’ sentiments with those of Henry David Thoreau in Walden: “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately,” this is a life style to which all of us should aspire.