Dorian Yoshizumi grew up in Kāneʻohe and graduated from Castle High School, where he took classes and earned college credits through Hawaiʻi’s Early College program. He is a student at Windward Community College and plans to continue to University of Hawaiʻi-West Oʻahu to earn his bachelor's degree in early education. He is a recipient of the Ho‘olei Scholarship. This is an excerpt from his thank you letter to the donors.
I chose Windward Community College because I already have 33 dual credits from Early College at Castle High School. I am also working with TRiO Educational Talent Search as a student program assistant, so it was a no-brainer to attend Windward. I am currently getting my associate degree in liberal arts which will take me only a year because I already have a little more than half the credits needed. I plan to get my bachelor’s degree in early education, and I want to become an elementary school teacher. It would be a dream come true to teach at Kapunahala Elementary where I attended school growing up, but, if not, anywhere in Kāneʻohe would be preferable.
One of the best pieces of advice I received about going to college is staying on top of your work. They told me that once you fall behind, it is really hard to catch up. That is why I do my best between balancing school and work, so I do not fall behind in either. A lot of my classes so far have had tons of quizzes, and some have had projects. One specifically I am proud of is in my Hawaiian Studies class where we had to write an essay on a topic provided but free for our choosing. I wrote about how the voyagers used the star cycles and the cloud cycles to help navigate and know where they are while voyaging. I did not really know much of the topic so researching it was really interesting. The teacher commented on how well-written my essay was and how my questions were really great, as well. I got a 20/20 on it and that motivates me to strive for the best.
While graduating is the main goal, while I attend college I want to experience meeting new people and gain experience for my career. I already have met some new people in my classes here at Windward but when I transfer to West Oʻahu, I probably won’t know many there so it will be fun to get to know more people. I am shy at first so it might take a while but once I get more confidence, I can get to know people better. It will also help me network, which is a good skill to have for not only college, but in my career. At my job, I have to do small networking here and there with my director, program advisors and the other student program assistant. I also have gained some time management skills balancing schoolwork and my tasks at work. Another skill I gained was organization. I am already pretty organized, but working at my job made me even more organized with all the paperwork I have to file and scan.
My experience at UH so far has been what I had expected. The professors are really nice and understanding. The lessons and classes are really engaging and informal. My counselors are really supportive and help me a lot, from choosing classes to applying for certain scholarships that will really help me. One surprising thing I noticed was that some of my peers could be like my aunty or uncle or even a grandma or grandpa. It is cool that Windward is the college for everyone. The workload can be challenging but if you do it as soon as you possibly can, you will be OK. And the TRiO building is a game-changer. Free food, free tutoring, free sources, it is all very helpful to me. Overall, I am enjoying my UH experience and hope when I transfer to West Oʻahu, it will be almost the same as Windward.
To my donors:
Thank you for choosing me to receive this scholarship. I am honored and will do everything I can to live up to the potential you see in me.
The funds I will be receiving will go toward my education and future endeavors. I will work hard and shoot for the stars in all my classes to earn my degrees and help get to my ultimate goal of becoming an elementary school teacher. I really appreciate all of it and could not thank you enough. I am not only doing this for me, but for my family and all those who have supported me through the years. I want to continue to make them proud of what I am capable of. Thank you again for this opportunity, I am beyond grateful and humble to receive this.