Fall 2020 Commencement Celebration

Fall 2020 Graduates Express their Gratitude

I want to thank all our instructors for their perseverance through these trying times. We're all in this together, for teachers really are just students who never quit.

Ezra D Rose

I want to thank God and Jesus, my father and mother, my husband, my children and their spouses, grandchildren, my brothers and sisters (11), family, friends, and my church family for their love and support while I was striving to obtain my Psychology degree. Also, thanks to all of my professors that were instrumental in sharing their knowledge so that I can apply it and be a tremendous blessing to others.

Terry Carthon Palmer


I want to thank my #1 roommate (my mom), my family and friends, the outstanding professors at the History Department, Disability Services, Academic Advising and those at the Financial Aid Office. I love history!!

We are nothing but the sum of our choices. Finishing my degree at UH Hilo is one of the best choices I’ve ever made. I have reclaimed my life from the lowest points imaginable and I am filled with gratitude.

Mahalo nui loa,

Nicholas Noburo Iwamoto

I started this journey to earning my degree a long long time ago (way back before 1994). Thanks to my best friend, Joel Furuto, for being there every step of the way. You are my Huckleberry.

Lynne Mahealani Furuto

I'd like to thank my wonderful husband, Osrik Sanado, for the unending support on this journey, and my two beautiful girls, Aria and Zara, for being my inspiration. ❤️

Maria Eliza Cu Sanado

My family has always been my rock. Thank you all for the love and support you have given me on this journey.

Brittnie Uʻilani Lucy Walker

I thank my family for being patient and supporting me during this journey.

Victor M Yurtola

I am thankful for the people who helped me in the journey to achieve my degree. I am looking forward for more adventures in my life! Anna Claire Masuda

Many thanks to the UH system faculty and fellow classmates for helping make a lifelong dream come true. It took many hands for me to graduate. I am very grateful to all.

Melvin Howard Deegan Jr.

The journey to this goal was long, with many obstacles and detours but after countless challenges including a global pandemic, itʻs finally coming to fruition. Iʻm grateful to so many. Perhaps starting with my youngest self who could barely imagine one day earning a doctorate. The path to get here was a long one but eventually traveled with persistence over time.

My dear grandfather was a major reason for me becoming a nurse. May he be celebrating with me. Iʻm deeply thankful to my family and dear friends whoʻve encouraged me from the sidelines all the way through. I couldn't have done it without the support & love of each of you throughout. Iʻm thankful to my teachers who shared their wisdom, expertise & encouragement. Most importantly, Mahalo ke Akua for every blessing & every day.

Angelina M. Gallegos

This achievement is dedicated to all those who have been part of my journey to this point in time. From my family and friends, whoʻve loved and supported me through the many years of work it took to arrive at this milestone, to my earliest teachers who first inspired a desire for lifelong learning. This milestone is also dedicated to those who may be starting to navigate a long path or just began dreaming about it- you can do it! It is not easy but one day you will arrive at the destination where you were intended to be.

Angelina M. Gallegos

I would like to thank God, my family and friends for helping me get to this point in my life. Without them, I wouldn't have made it this far. Throughout my journey here at UH Hilo they have been my backbone and strength to keep pushing on and to never give up no matter how difficult it was for me! They deserve all the praise and glory!

From the bottom of my heart thank you so much! To my boyfriend, I could never repay you for the many times you prayed for me and helped me get through the most difficult times through college!

To my Mom and Dad, you folks have supported me from Day 1, and I can finally say I did it!
To Kristan and Derrick, thank you for always encouraging me and pushing me to be better.
To Seini, thank you for helping me by being the positive light that I needed in college.

Keiran Cardoza

Sincerest of thank you's to each and every person who has helped, supported, and guided me through this chapter of my life. Family, friends, and professors. You have all at some point offered me words of advice, love, and encouragement. Made me laugh when I was stressed, fed me, cried with me, and even lent me money when things were tight. All of which have propelled me forward to this point, where I would not be without you. I will forever hold each of you, the memories we share, and the things you have done for me, close and dear to my heart.

Mahalo nui loa

Abigayle Christine deLaveaga

To my family-
Thank you for your constant love and support. You all push me to be better every day and I hope I make you proud.

To my friends -
Thank you for your always being by my side and never failing to make me laugh. College wouldn't have been the same without you all.

To Coach Jim -
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to play college golf. Those memories are going to last a lifetime.

Keely Kitamura

Thank you mom, Ki, and David for your encouragement. Thank you to my husband Brent for being by my side when things got rough. Thank you to my friends, new and old, for keeping me sane while the world is on fire.

Denali Kirk

To my two bosses in the UH Hilo Housing Department, thank you for taking a chance on “the girl who wasn’t dressed for a job interview” hahah. Thank you for helping me improve my skills and leadership abilities. It was a blast working for you!

Last but not least, a big “Thank You” to my family and friends for your continuous love and support throughout the years. I would not have been able to get this far without you all. Y'all made this happen, especially you Mom. Thank you.

Bridget Ashley Endor

All Thanks To Jesus, My Mommy, My Future Husband, And Coffee.

Mahalo Piha.

Tehani Monique Kāhealani Meheʻula Tenn

I would like to thank my family. My mom (Sharon), my dad (James) and sister, Toni who have been nothing but loving, supportive, motivating, and patient with me. I love you all with all of my heart, soul, and spirit. I am incredibly blessed to be apart of your lives- thank you for making this possible. You’re my back bone and my world. Every accomplishment I achieve is for you. I love you with all of my heart.
I would like to thank Janet Honua and Kyle Murray for not only keeping me focused on my school work but also being the best distraction, so I’m able to keep my sanity. Thank you for making life fun- here’s to more laughter and adventures.

I would also like to thank my teachers at Kaʻū High for preparing me for what is now today my greatest accomplishment- graduating college!

Jami M Beck

There are simply not enough words to describe how thankful I am for all of the opportunities I have been given and the people I have met through UH Hilo. From the struggles of tackling multiple fields of study to working with student communities as an RA, and to studying abroad in England, being a part of this school has truly been a rewarding experience. Though it wasn't all easy sailing, much of where I have gotten today would not be possible without the support of my family, my friends, and my educators. It is because of their constant guidance through this journey that I have been able to embrace the values and lessons of this university, which I will take with me as embark on this next chapter of my life.

Jessica Ranchez Valdez

I would like to thank everyone who has helped me through my academic journey. I do not see my success as my own, but the success of my community that helped me achieve my goals.

Andrea Nichole Waiters

I want to thank my mom, siblings, friends, family and my boyfriend for sticking through with me on this educational journey. To all of my professors, thank you so much for what you have taught me and my fellow peers these past few years. Shoutout to Mr. Jim Mellon for always being there when I needed help the most, and being the most kind and understanding. To my dad in heaven, I love and miss you and I couldn’t have done this without you.

Kiara Ngeribongel Ringang

I would like to thank my family, friends, bosses and coworkers for always pushing me to try new things and strive to be the best version of myself. I really appreciate all the love and support you guys have given me these past four years!

Kimberly Chiemi Kamei

Big mahalo to my family, friends, and everyone who has helped me through this difficult year! A lot of people doubted my ability to graduate this year due to my health challenges. Thank you to everyone who helped me stay positive, I could not have done it without my awesome professors who always believed in me. Don't worry, I will be continuing my journey in furthering my education because it ain't over yet!

Thank you to my Family, Professors, and Friends for making this time of my life possible and enjoyable! This time has been a blessing and one that I can look back on with no regrets! I took Carpe Diem and Coram Deo to the max! Seizing the day by living before the face of God is my passion and joy! I count it a joy to have been able to stay on the island for my college years. I was born in Pennsylvania and never dreamed of living let alone going to school in Hawaii! Thank you to Professors Nakao, Czarski, Panek, Wackerbarth, Sagle, Moral, and my Advisor Comfort for teaching, and walking with me every step of the way! Thank you to my Mom and Dad for supporting me and making this possible! Thank you to Anita and BCM for giving me a family in Hilo. My deepest Mahalo and Aloha to all of you!

From the bottom of my heart, I would like to thank my family & friends for being supportive of me throughout my college career. To my mom & dad especially, I could not have done this without you, & I cannot thank you enough. I appreciate you beyond words, and I am forever indebted to you. To all the friends I have made here during my time at UH Hilo, I love you all & will cherish the memories we have made for a lifetime. To all the teachers, counselors, faculty, & staff here at UH Hilo, thank you for helping me achieve my academic goals and dreams, you all have inspired me each in a different way throughout my years here. Thank you so much for helping me meet my end goal. I love you all. Thank you so much for all your love & support throughout this journey.

Kiana-Rae Chizuka Ellefsen

_I want to thank my friends, family and boyfriend for the continuous support through out my college career. I couldn't have done it without you guys! _

Romance Kauʻionalani Romero

I’d like to start of by saying thank you to my mom for inspiring me to go to college in the first place. My first year of high school I never considered college because none of my family members ever went. When she heard me say that, she found a great online college and enrolled. When I received my high school diploma, she received her bachelors degree in Cognitive studies. Mom, you have been the greatest role model in my success of adulthood. I’d also like to thank my husband, Ka’ala Honua for being my motivation. I don’t think I could have gotten through these past four years without you there with me all those late nights writing mile long papers & studying for exams. Not once did you doubt my success and I’m grateful for that.
College has been the best experience I have ever had.

Janet Elizabeth Honua

Thank you to my family, friends, and professors for helping me on this unforgettable journey!

Rachael Ilima Tomori

"To my ʻohana that believed in me, my friends that helped me through it all and my kumu that never gave up on me, Mahalo Nui Loa. Because of you all I have achieved one of my greatest goals in life and owe you so much more than gratitude. From a struggling freshman to a successful college graduate, I can say that I truly worked hard and it paid off.

A hui hou e kaʻu mau kumu, e kaʻu mau hoa."

E kulia i ka nuʻu

Jodice Lee Kalamakū Popovich-Pung

Kommol tata MIC Club and Hilo Marshallese Community for being my 2nd family away from home. Kommol tata RMI scholarship kon aolep jiban ko ami relap. To my favorite professors Joseph Genz & Tobias Irish, thank you both for being such huge highlights of my educational journey. To my roommates, team 14C, I’m forever grateful for you all! To my family in California & Majuro, Kommol tata for being my biggest motivators. My daddy & 2nd mama Yoma, I love you both. Kommol tata. My 2nd dad Joshi, thank you for everything as well. & finally juon separate kommol tata nan my mommy, thank you for being the strongest and most hard working person I’ve ever known. I love you so much! Bar juon allen, Kommol tata aolep! Ien ukot boka kio!

Jerolynn Neikeke Myazoe

Hilo has given me so much opportunities and experiences that I never thought I would be able to have. It's honestly my favorite place on the planet and it will always have a special place in my heart. I can't thank my professors and coaches for their continuous support of me and I will miss everyone dearly. I can't wait until the next time I come and visit Hilo!

Adam Shigenobu Chiya

Thank you to my mom and dad for supporting me through everything. I love you guys so much! Thanks to my family and friends watching, you guys are the best and I love you all, especially to my best friend in KS.

Shaina L Dingal

I'd like to say Mahalo to everyone who has supported me to get to this point. Thank you to my friends who pushed me to study, my family who made this possible, my professors who taught me well, and thank you to everyone else who I've met along the way!

Mahalo Nui Loa to all!

Holly S. Trowbridge

I'd like to say mahalo to my professors and friends who have helped motivate me along this journey.

Brooke Lee Anne Harrington

Thank you so much to my family and friends who have supported and motivated me to be where I am today. I was able to have such an amazing time and build new relationships on the Big Island that I will never forget! Huge shoutout to the tennis team and the amazing trips we had together! Till next time!

Irena Le

Mahalo nui loa to my professors, friends, and mentors for sharing your wisdom and lessons with me. I look forward to using these new skills in my future endeavors, and hope to cross paths with you all again.

A hui hou!

Natalie Elise Gillette

I'd like to thank my family, friends, and professors for the continued encouragement and reinforcement in helping me earn this degree.

Mahalo nui loa!

Matthew Michael Paddison

I want to thank everyone who has helped and supported me through my journey! To my family; Thank you Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, Tristine and Micheal. You all are my biggest supporters and I love you with all my heart! Thank you to my friends who became my family; Risa, Brittany and Joseph, you made my world here in Hilo brighter everyday, and I thankful to have gotten the chance to know you. To my professors; I have never met a more compassionate and supportive collection of minds. You all worked so hard to give me the tools I'll need in my future, and I can't thank you enough.
Also a big thank you to everyone in between, it's been a fun three years!

Jastine T Honea

Special thanks to...

My ohana Todd, Irene, and Nicholas for providing endless years of love and support...

My professors Dr. Lindy Hern and Dr. Misty Pacheco for being powerful, inspirational women...

And my best friends whom I met at UH Hilo for being everything I didn’t even know I needed.

I shall go forth with the newly acquired tools by my side to make you all proud!

Alexandra Marie Cruz Koenig

Well, it took me almost 20 years but I finally did it! It feels so satisfying to accomplish something like this. This was only possible with the help of my family and professors and for you all I am forever grateful.

Thank You

Cassandra Pensa

Thank you to my professors for expanding my knowledge in the field of psychology. Your support during my Thesis journey is sincerely appreciated. Thank you to UH Hilo Housing for granting me the opportunity to work as an Office Assistant. I am grateful to have met so many wonderful people through this experience.

Alicia Avitia

Thank you to my parents, brother, Dianna, Travis, and the rest of my family and friends for supporting me along my graduate journey. I am truly blessed to have you all in my life.

Alicia Avitia

This present moment would not be possible without the support from my parents, friends, and professors (from near and far). Thank you to everyone for believing, supporting, motivating, inspiring, and guiding me through this journey to getting another step closer to achieving my dreams!

Ekaterina Kapoustina

Thank you to all of my professors for their guidance and encouragement. They make the university experience invaluable to progress as an artist. Your crusade to push your students to new heights is just what we need to succeed.

Victoria Anne Arthur

First and foremost, I would love to thank my Amazing family for supporting and loving me to their fullest potential. Everything I do, I do with love, kindness, hard work, and determination in reflection of them.❤️❤️❤️

I am grateful for the countless memories I’ve made with my friends, soccer teammates, classmates, coaches, professors, and anyone I’ve ever crossed paths with. This is just the beginning...

✨DPT (Doctor of Physical Therapy) Here I Come!✨

Crystal Ann Sanchez