By Lexus Yamashiro | Staff Writer

The KCC 2017 Commencement was held on Friday, May 12, at the Hawaiʻi Convention Center where more than 430 students walked across the stage to receive their degrees and certificates. Here are some thoughts from a few of the students.

Josten Sumagit 
Age: 31
Hometown: Honolulu, HI
Major: Liberal Arts with a concentration in Business
Degree Received: Associate of Arts
Years Spent at KCC: 2

“[This graduation] is a stepping stone for my bachelor’s degree. [My most challenging point] was balancing work life, social life, and school life. [My biggest influence] would probably be my classmate. He was in the military, and he … [it] took him almost seven years to get his associate’s degree. He graduated last year, so he was my motivation because I always wanted to go to school, but I always had work — because I have my own business, too — and so, it was hard for me to find that balance to go to school, go to work, and then … I still have to go out and market and meet my clients. [My friend] told me that he had to study with no Wi-Fi or hardly any Wi-Fi, or in the dark or in the rain, so that was a motivation for me.”

Doreen Anderson 
Age: 54
Hometown: Kula, Maui
Major: Liberal Arts
Degree Received: Associate in Arts
Years Spent at KCC: 2

“[This graduation is] so exciting, it means so much to me, you have no idea! After high school, I went to UH Mānoa and then I got pregnant, and I gave birth to my daughter and I had to leave school. So 34 years later, I finally get the chance to graduate, so can you imagine? It means the world to me, it’s such a special moment right now… I knew I was going to come back and I knew I was going to achieve, but to actually … I did it, it’s so exciting; I persevered. My biggest influence was my mother. It was such a great journey and my journey’s going to continue on to the next university, and it’s just like … KCC has been the best. Best faculty, best students; I’ve just enjoyed it immensely.”

Joshua Ching 
Age: 23
Hometown: Honolulu, HI
Major: Liberal Arts
Degree Received: Associate of Arts
Years Spent at KCC: 3 1/2

“My graduation to me means a stepping stone to earning my bachelor’s degree at UH Mānoa. It’s a mixture of between the teachers, me, and my family [who got me to this moment]. My first semester [at KCC], it was nice. I didn’t know what to expect, it was very friendly, nicer. I met a lot of other people from different countries, cultures, parts of America. [My biggest influence was] probably the teachers who helped me get to this place helped clarify everything, questions I had about the course, homework, tests. The disability office also helped.”

Manaiaokalani Genovia 
Age: 21
Hometown: Kailua-Kona, HI
Major: Nursing
Degree Received: Associate in Science
Years Spent at KCC: 3

“Graduation … it’s a big accomplishment from hard work and dedication. My favorite memory was … just being with my nursing classmates. My mom and my aunties, and my boyfriend … were very supportive and helpful, and always encouraging.”

Kyle Scott
Age: 24
Hometown: Kailua, HI
Major: Culinary Arts
Degree Received: Associate in Science
Years Spent at KCC: 2

“[The highlight of my time spent at KCC was] all the events that the KCC Culinary program … we worked a lot of special events that we normally wouldn’t get to work at in the regular culinary field, so, we do a lot of high-end events like Food and Wine Festival. We just did an Aloun farms event not too long ago … I think a lot of that is definitely the highlight. I just got hired on as the catering baker at a restaurant, and I’m going to continue on with that.”