Spring 2016 Lunalilo Newsletter

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A Scholar Standing Taller

Lunalilo Scholars come from diverse backgrounds, but all share one thing in common: a deep desire to graduate from college. Many believe this desire is fueled by hope and flamed by the “family” feeling that LSP students have when they help each other overcome the challenges of school and life.

Director LaVache Scanlan meets each student where they are, and helps them overcome obstacles through problem-solving and finding support for tutors, financial aid, peers, child care and other resources.Ashley Maria (LSP 2013), Jennifer Wong-Ala and Shyanne Humel (LSP 2012)This spring, we celebrate a milestone for the program and the achievements of a remarkable young woman, Ashley Maria (LSP 2013), who graduated from UH Mānoa with a Bachelor’s in communication. After a life-changing, debilitating crash, this young mom defied the odds and completed her degree with help from the Lunalilo Scholars program. Watch the inspiring video of her story.

2016 Kapi‘olani Community College Associate’s Degree Graduates

Cyrena Asuega, Lavinia, Hau, Brook Hoapili, Skye Kaohu-Scorse, Asia Paulino, Kupono Sproat, Hinakealohaila Wilkerson, Eva Costa, Sheralynn Humel, Sierra Ondo, Pi‘ikea Lewis.

Cyrena Asuega, LSP 2013 UHM COEdKupono Sproat (LSP 2013), Lavinia Hau (LSP 2013), Sheralynn Humel (LSP 2014).University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Bachelor’s Degree Graduate

Ashley Maria, LSP 2013

Words of Wisdom

Traveling the world may be on many students’ bucket lists, but few imagine a career where a passport and global mindset is actually required. This spring, LSP Scholars’ horizons were broadened when they heard from distinguished guest speakers. LSP founders Marian and Lester Kaneta, along with Honolulu business leaders Gulliaume Maman and Colonel Tony Diaz offered students an insider’s look at their multi-faceted, exciting careers and offered useful tips as students consider their career paths.

When students were introduced to Guillaume Maman, a poised and well-spoken Frenchman who serves as Hawai‘i’s Honorary Consul of France, they benefited from lessons learned from his years as a successful business man with multiple Loco Boutique beach wear shops in Hawai‘i, Japan, Guam and Saipan. No one would have guessed he came to Hawaii with only $300 in his wallet and wasn’t able to find a job for three months!

LSP students were reminded about the importance of making good impressions when applying for jobs and being successful in their careers. “Checkup from the neck up…” was Maman’s personal advice on the universal language of good hygiene and grooming. “You don’t have to be rich or wear expensive clothes, but be groomed.”

Retired Col. Tony Diaz offered a military perspective to scholars, citing service to one’s country as a wonderful way to give back and see the world. He went to Citadel on the GI Bill and became an engineer, enabling him to be stationed and work in remote areas no one could reach but the military. He rose to the rank of a full Colonel and served in both Kosovo and Iraq. Diaz’s career was spent designing and building bridges and infrastructure for underdeveloped countries. After retiring, he was a civil engineer for Parsons, one of the larger engineering companies in the United States which took him to Saudia Arabia, UAE, Indonesia, Philliphines, Taiwan, Singapore, Japan, and China. Now Diaz enjoys volunteering with the Ala Moana Rotary Club, and helping with community projects.


Dream big. That’s what Roosevelt graduate Lester Kaneta knows how to do and encourages students to do the same. After graduating from the University of Southern California, he spent four years as certified public accountant at a “Big 8 firm.” When an opportunity to work in Asia came up the Kanetas moved to Hong Kong. Here he helped large retailers find products for their stores, negotiating prices and inspecting shipments. As the business thrived, Kaneta also traveled to factories where he saw deplorable working conditions and widespread poverty. It was then that he instructed each office to create committees to award grants to organizations working with orphans, teen mothers and the homeless. He and his wife Marian formed the Kaneta Foundation, which later seeded the Lunalilo Scholars Program, helping Honolulu’s disadvantaged gain hope through education.

Kaneta’s best tip for business minded scholars is to always make your banker a partner. Make banks your friend and share your successes as well as setbacks and you will have a lifetime relationship to help build your business.

Both of the Kanetas emphasized the importance of finding a job or career you enjoy, rather than focusing on how much it pays. If you are passionate about the work the money will follow.

Lester Speaking

The key takeaway was that everyone has ups and downs and entrepreneurial life is not always smooth sailing.

“When times are bad, visualize the worst that could happen to you. Write down all the horrific possibilities. Once you have accepted the fact that these events could come to pass, begin immediately to improve on the situation. Your mind will move you away from thoughts of the negative and will instead help you to focus on the positive. That helped me several times when my company was nearly bankrupt and I went without a salary for months at a time.” Lester Kaneta

“Your darkest hour is always followed by dawn!” Guillaume Maman

“Peer” Success!

Who better than a LSP alumnus to help a fellow student unravel the challenges many first year students face when they tackle college courses, hold down jobs, pay bills, apply for financial aid, and a variety of other new experiences. One of the key reasons LSP Scholars soar past their peers at Kapi‘olani Community College (Kapi‘olani CC) in their first year of college is the powerful influence of one-on-one support called peer mentoring.

While many first year college students feel alone in the bigger college environment, LSP students enjoy bonding with other LSP students who have been successful and want to help others. LSP Peer Mentors give back to the program, while moving forward with their studies.

potluck-peersThis past spring, the Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation awarded a grant to fund tuition support for peer mentors at Kapi‘olani CC, in support of the Lunalilo Scholars Program. The $90,000 gift will “encourage students to participate in the peer mentor component of the program” and nurture the cycle of learning and giving back. (See photo below) Mahalo to the Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation for taking a leadership role in supporting our Scholars!

Thanks to this gift, and dozens of other donors, 146 Kapi‘olani CC students have completed the one year LSP program. In addition, we congratulate our first four-year degree recipient, Ashley Marie. We are very proud of our Scholars!

Transform a life today


Find out more about the program [link]. More promising students can benefit greatly from your generous donation.

$6,000 will fund one student’s participation in the program:

  • $4,000 for tuition and fees
  • $2,000 for additional success measures (support services, peer mentoring, transportation)

Any amount is most welcome to help a student through the year:

$1,000 for one student’s books, software and supplies

$500 for one student’s laptop/computers

$300 for one student’s bus pass/transportation

To learn more about the Lunalilo Scholars Program, please contact:

Linh Hoang Poe

Senior Director of Development for Kapi‘olani Community College



Download Brochure (pdf)