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Alumni Spotlights
Wilma Place
Ma'afu Latu Vaki
Clarence Matayoshi
Jared Wong
Yue-Sai Kan
Golden Harper
Adeline Erasito
Radhika Anandan
Hayley Rice
Matthew Phillips
Wilma Place
I was born in Honolulu and raised in Wailupe, Wahiawa, and the Kunia/ Schofield area.

After graduating from Leilehua High School, I attended the Church College of Hawaii (CCH) from fall 1966 to spring 1970, which allowed me to earn a bachelor's degree. I followed my sister, Stephanie Place, who was attending CCH. The fact that it was a church-sponsored institution was a bonus for us.

Some of the memories that stand out to me are centered around my dorm life with my roommates during those four years. The classes that I had with the professors challenged me to think, learn, observe, listen and try my best to be better. I also enjoyed working with Brother Gillert, cleaning areas on campus, and working in the Bookstore with Sister Hunter.

After CCH graduation, I had a chance to go to BYU in Provo to take classes in secondary education for a year and complete my studies for a teaching certificate.

An opportunity to finally use my education in teaching came many years later. I was able to teach on Kauai, Maui, and the Big Island. I retired from teaching in the State’s DOE system. Currently, I am a kupuna in the Hawaiian studies program at Konawaena Elementary School K-5.

Looking back at all those years, I realize that my time at CCH was the best formative years for me. The foundation for pursuing goals to accomplish was set at CCH. My advice is to take advantage of the situations that come your way. You are fortunate if it comes to you again.
Ma'afu Latu Vaki
Ma’afu Latu Vaki currently works as a cultural ambassador in the Tongan village, at the Polynesian Cultural Center. He was born and raised on the small island of Hunga, Vava’u in Tonga. Ma’afu describes his journey in life as demanding, and challenging but one that was inspiring and encouraging at the same time.

He attended elementary and middle school but was not able to attend high school. However, that did not hinder his growth and willingness to serve a mission. Years later, he was called to serve in the Seattle, Washington Mission. With very limited knowledge of English, he was able to honorably fulfill his missionary service.

In 2004, Ma'afu met a student intern from BYU–Hawaii in Tonga. They dated and were later married. She then helped her husband to further his education. He obtained his high school diploma at the age of 31 from the Lelehua High School Adult Program. In 2013, while taking courses at Leeward Community College Ma’afu was accepted to BYU–Hawaii.

Ma’afu graduated with his Bachelor of Science in pacific island studies and a minor in psychology.

Ma’afu and his wife are parents of three kids, two boys and one girl, and currently reside in Hauula, Hawaii. They are actively involved in cultural learning and in their community.

Matayoshi family
Clarence Matayoshi
Clarence N. Matayoshi is originally from Honolulu, Hawaii. Clarence graduated from CCH from 1967 to 1971 after being honorably discharged from the U.S. Air Force. He graduated with a B.A. in sociology and secondary education and a Professional Teaching Certificate. During his active duty years in the Air Force, he was able to do support work for the B-52 bombers. After four years of active service, he was discharged with the rank of sergeant.

After attending school for a year and a half, he met the church missionaries and was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He has been an active member of the Church since. A year after his baptism, Clarence met his wife, Afton Johnson Matayoshi, while she was visiting campus for summer school. She was an elementary school teacher in Olympia, Washington, after graduating from BYU in Provo.

After graduating from CCH, Clarence started teaching social studies at Waianae High School. After four years at Waianae, he transferred to Kahuku High School.

In 1984 he and his family moved to Washington State. In 1986 they purchased a small tree farm in Rochester, WA. In 2007 he retired as a narcotics detective from the Centralia Police Department in Centralia Washington.

Clarence and his wife are parents of five children, three girls and two boys, Sylvia, Denise, Lisa, Matthew, and David. They have twenty-nine grandchildren.

Clarence will confess that after attending CCH, his whole life changed. Not only did he gain an education, but he also gained a deep testimony of our Savior. He appreciates the many friends he's made, and he still stays in contact with many of them today.

Clarence would like to advise current and prospective students to "be open-minded, believe in yourself, and respect others. There is a greater power that exists. He is mindful of you and is watching over you".
Jared Wong and his family
Jared Wong
Hi!! My name is Jared Wong. I’m from Hong Kong. I studied accounting at BYUH in 2006.

I’m so grateful that I studied at BYUH. It not only provided me with quality education, but it also shaped me into someone with high morals and ethics. I also got to experience life-changing cultural experiences.

It was at BYUH that I met my lovely wife from Malaysia. We are blessed to have 3 children.

After my graduation, I worked for few years before I decided to get my MBA at Arizona State University. I am currently working for the church as a self-reliance manager.

I am really grateful for my current position. It gives me the chance to help prospective students transition smoothly in their enrollment at various schools and institutions to achieve their academic and self-reliance goals.
Yue-Sai Kan
Yue-Sai was a recent convert when she came to the Church College of Hawaii. She was just 16 years old and majored in music, studying the piano. Encouraged by a few classmates, Yue-Sai entered the Narcissus Flower Beauty Pageant in Honolulu in 1968 sponsored by the local Chinese Chamber of Commerce.

She became the second runner-up, and as part of her duties, traveled around the world. This experience was life-changing and marked the beginning of her career in fashion, beauty, communication, and cultural exchange.

Yue-Sai Kan is an Emmy-winning television host and producer, successful entrepreneur, fashion icon, bestselling author, and humanitarian. People magazine called her "the most famous woman in China,” and Time magazine proclaimed her "the Queen of the Middle Kingdom."

In 1992, Yue-Sai created the Yue Sai Cosmetics brand, which grew into China’s leading Cosmetics Company. Additionally, she has written nine best-selling books, and in 2000, became the first and only living American featured on a Chinese government-issued postage stamp.

Throughout her life, Yue-Sai has been deeply involved in charity work. She served and is still serving on several prominent charitable organizations in China and the United States. Since 2011, Yue-Sai has been helming the Miss Universe China Pageant. She uses the final pageant as Shanghai's most glamorous charity ball, which has raised millions to support orphanages, cleft lip and palate correction surgeries, and scholarships for students in China's best music, TV, and film schools.

In 2018, Yue-Sai was elected co-chairman of the China Institute. She is dedicated to spearheading the 90-odd-year old organization’s efforts to move from Upper Eastside to Downtown Manhattan and continue its mission of advancing a deeper understanding of China through Chinese language programs and art culinary art, and business.
Golden Harper ran his first marathon at 10 years old, about the same age he started helping out around his family’s running store in Orem, Utah, just south of Salt Lake City. A decade — and countless running medals — later, the BYU–Hawaii exercise science major identified a hole in the running shoe market for zero-drop sneakers, which cushion the toe and the heel at the same level to mimic the biomechanics of walking barefoot.

But how did the co-founder of Altra get from that mid-2000s epiphany to today, leading an innovative company with more than 200 employees and revenues topping $50 million? That tale involves a healthy dose of curiosity, the dream of helping people run pain-free, and, yes, a toaster. (Lappe and Mazzucchi, 2021).

Read the Full Article Read Full Story
Adeline with her family
Adeline Erasito
Adeline started school in BYU–Hawaii from 1995 to 1999. She decided to attend BYUH at a very young age because her two older sisters were attending BYUH at the time. When she went to BYUH, the school offered a fusion of intellectual effort and spiritual insight that prepared her for the future. It gave her the opportunity to be with students from all over the world and made her appreciate the gospel more.

Adeline had so many memories of her time here in school but her favorite was attending BYU–Hawaii and working at the Polynesian Cultural Center at the same time. This experience taught her and other students to balance time and gave them the opportunity to keep cultures alive through song and dance. The four years she spent here at BYU–Hawaii taught her how to better deal with people and how to be a better version of herself. Though there were many challenges faced as expected the environment and the people she came in contact with made it all worthwhile.

After Adeline graduated from school she returned to Fiji and started working in tourism and hospitality. She spent over ten years working at the national tourism office, formerly known as Fiji Visitors Bureau and now called Tourism Fiji. Adeline spent eight months in Tokyo and also seven years based in the Los Angeles office. She is currently working as the Director for Rosie Holidays, Fiji’s inbound operator, and has been working at this job for a little over 8 years.

Adeline is happily married to her husband Harvey Erasito with three children Hefu (17), Marleeana (11), and Peter (9).

Adeline’s advice for current and prospective BYUH students is to “Keep improving yourself and never stop learning. Fortunately, every experience (whether good or bad) ends up teaching you something you can use going forward. The beauty of life is in the opportunities that appear just when you need them (not necessarily when you want them). If you make it a goal to never stop learning, you will remember that the journey is a series of new starts that make you wiser and stronger each time.”

Always remember, “We learn from failure, not from success!” -Bram Stoker
Radhika Anandan
Radhika smiling for a photo
I got a job offer to come work for BYUHawaii in 2019 for the ITO Client Services Department. It's a blessing to be back since I graduated and love my job! I am serving as a temple prep instructor in my ward and I love this calling because I get to help those who are preparing to enter and make sacred covenants in the Temple. I love living in Hawaii. I ran my first Half-Marathon last year and it was a great experience! Looking forward to the new adventures I will have this year.
Hayley Rice
Haley with her husband and two young kids
I got married to my husband in 2015, and we now have 2 year old twin boys, Dawson and Declan! Being a mother has been the most rewarding and wonderful experience of my life. I am also very excited that I will be starting dental school this summer at Roseman in South Jordan, Utah. I feel like the education I received at BYUH has prepared me well for this next step in my life! I feel blessed to have served in Young Women’s as the Laurel advisor, as well as being a teacher in Sunday School. The gospel has, and continues, to bring immense blessings in to my life. I will forever be thankful for the beautiful islands of Hawaii and for all that I was able to experience and learn while there.
Matthew Phillips
Matthew and his wife
After working in Europe for three years, I recently moved to New York where I'm continuing my practice with a major firm as an attorney in white-collar defense and investigations. I work with corporations and global financial institutions in the United States and Europe on investigations and compliance matters.
Students Spotlight
Lorasia Tavuto
Ei Ei Phyu & Yin Phyu Lwin
Lorasia in BYUH campus
Lorasia Tavuto
Lorasia hails from the island of Fiji and is currently doing her studies in political science with minors in social work and pacific island studies. She was fortunate to come to BYU–Hawaii on the Pacific Area Scholarship (PAS) and has enjoyed her time here. She is currently working in the Ho'okele Department as the coordinator for our Holomua 2021 Program, which helps high school Juniors prepare for college. Before working in the Ho'okele Department, she had the opportunity to work and dance at the Polynesian Cultural Center. She says that this was such a blessing for her as it had allowed her to meet people from all over the world.

One of her many highlights about attending BYU–Hawaii would be preparing and participating in the Culture Night every March. "I've found Culture Night to be the most exciting event of the year because of the spirit that is felt as all the students come together to portray one another's culture and traditions." After graduation, Lorasia hopes to apply for a master's in public administration at BYU in Provo.

Lora would like to invite you all as alumni to learn and share the college preparation program she is helping to lead. If you know a Junior in high school that may be interested in attending Holomua this year with Lora, click here to apply by April 2, 2021.
Ei Ei Phyu & Yin Phyu Lwin
Ei Ei Phyu and Yin Phyu Lwin are students from Myanmar (formerly known as Burma). They are two of four students from a country whose population is estimated at 54 million. The girls estimate that there are currently 400 members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on record and about 150 actives. Ei Ei (left) is majoring in finance and accounting and wants to start an insurance Company when returning home. Yin is a Social Work major and wants to work as a social worker at a non-government organization. When asked why they decided to attend BYU–Hawaii, they told me that there were not good educational opportunities at home and the scholarship opportunity to come to BYUH (IWORK) made it possible for them to attend. They are happy to be here studying at BYU–Hawaii.
ACC 2020 Alumni Interview's
The Bourne's
Lucricia Hussain
The Hernando's
Mare Riki
Rachel and Clive Bourne

Lucricia Hussain

Patricia & Raphael Hernando Alumni Interview.mp4

Mare Riki (2018 Alumni from New Zealand)

Genuine Gold Interviews
Yue-Sai Kan
Alfred P. Grace
Elder Tune
Debbie Hippolite Wright

Elder Iotua Tune

President P. Alfred Grace