UH-Maui marks graduation with restrictions lifted | News, Sports, Jobs

UH-Maui marks graduation with restrictions lifted | News, Sports, Jobs

More than 200 University of Hawaii Maui College graduates celebrate after receiving their diplomas Saturday on campus. The school also put out about 3,000 chairs for the public and they were all filled. Photo from the University of Hawaii Maui College

Graduating Saturday from the University of Hawaii Maui College meant the world for graphic design student Mark Cabalse.

“This graduation, in particular, is a huge milestone, not just for me, but for my family because I’m a first-rate college student.” said Cabalse, who is one of the first graduates of the new Academy for Creative Media, a new art school within UH-MC that offers associate degrees in creative media, film and graphic design.

Last year, UH-Maui was the only campus in the UH system to hold an in-person graduation and scheduled two ceremonies to safely welcome graduates and spectators. This year the university has held a graduation ceremony with no limit on spectators. It was the first since the state and county unrestricted pandemic of COVID-19, which was mostly lifted in March.

“The graduates were excited. People in the audience were excited. “ UH-Maui Chancellor Lui Hokoana said this on Sunday. “It was good to get back on track with what the new normal would look like, but there may still be this face-to-face interaction, which I think everyone was longing for.”

Hokoana said that of the 603 UH-Maui graduates and 98 University Center graduates (students living in Maui and taking classes at UH-Manoa and UH-West Oahu), about 258 attended in person at Saturday’s ceremony. The increase in graduates from previous years was a positive sign for the university, which had about 700 graduates before COVID-19 and then saw the number drop to about 500 during the pandemic, Hokoana said. He added that the school put about 3,000 chairs for the attendees and they were all filled.

Graphic design graduate Mark Cabalse (center) holds his UH-Maui College diploma during a photo with Father Dominador Cabalse Jr. and the mother Maggie Cabalse. Photo courtesy of Mark Cabalse

For graduates, Saturday was an opportunity to celebrate their successes despite the pandemic.

“I learned a lot of valuable things at UH-MC and one of those things is having confidence in yourself and staying true to your ideas because as a kid I was very shy and reserved and I didn’t have confidence in myself and the my job. ” Cabalse said Wednesday afternoon before starting. “UH-MC really taught that you have to put value on your work, keep improving and you will reach any goal you want to achieve.”

This graduation is especially special for the family, he said, explaining how his parents emigrated with him and his younger siblings from the Philippines in 2005 to seek more opportunities in the United States, and eventually settling in Maui.

“As a child, I loved doing arts and crafts. I had coloring books, lots of sketchbooks that my mom would buy and I would draw. “ he said, adding that he explored things like painting and ceramics at Maui Waena Intermediate before pursuing digital art at Maui High School, where he graduated summa cum laude in 2019. “I loved being creative.”

Although his parents were hesitant at first about choosing their son’s career, instead of encouraging him to choose the path of a doctor or lawyer, for example, they learned more about what graphic designers and understood Cabalse’s deep passion for it.

Alec Bayer is graduating from UH-MC’s Information Technology and Applied Business program at the top of his class. Photo from the University of Hawaii Maui College

“It wasn’t that popular. You know what a doctor does, you know what an engineer does, but now they know more. I taught them things about what they do, so now they give me a lot of support.” He said. “I would teach them my job during my college years and they were impressed. They were very excited, especially when I showed them my full t-shirt that I designed. “

Starting with freelance work, Cabalse hopes to one day open its own near-home graphic design company, specializing in logo and brand design, as well as user interface design and web development.

“I really enjoyed working with my classmates and teachers. They’ve really become a family to me and they’ve started working with familiar faces. “ He said. “I thought we were working in a design company and we were working and they were my colleagues, so it was pretty cool.”

Hokoana said early Saturday that students underwent sudden changes in their schedules, class formats and rules and regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic, but still persevered to complete their grades.

Among them was Alec Bayer, who first graduated from his UH-MC Information Technology and Applied Business program.

New UH-MC graduate Noah Dods Medeiros hopes to produce or direct his own film someday with the knowledge and education gained through the Academy of Creative Media. photo by Tanya Medeiros

“It simply came to our notice then. I missed some of the face-to-face classes, but there were definitely some classes where it was also nice to be in Zoom. “ Bayer pointed out. “You don’t know your classmates as well as you used to. That being said, I appreciate the simplicity of not having to be on campus at a given time: there was so much more scope. It also opened the door to have a lot more guest speakers and stuff like that, so I think there were definitely a lot of good things about Zooming and allowing classes to do different things. “

With all that, Bayer said that “I’ve had so many moments in UH-Maui that I’ve enjoyed.”

After completing two years of education through the Lone Star College Texas system after completing his high school home program in 2013, Bayer said he is “very eager” to life after college while looking for career opportunities with nonprofits in Hawaii.

“I enjoy working for causes that I think are good for the community.” He said. “So I’m going to explore jobs that work with people in a beneficial way. I just want to see what’s going on and keep my mind open, and see where it takes me. I’m sure I’ll do a lot of different things in life.”

Media student Noah Dods Medeiros also received his diploma on Saturday.

At first he was worried that the whole event would be virtual as in previous years in the middle of the pandemic, but later he was glad to know that he could be accompanied by his relatives from Oahu and Maui in a face-to-face ceremony where he was named. “The Most Outstanding Film Student.”

“During the pandemic, I didn’t have as many face-to-face classes as I would have, but even though I was in this situation, being online, I still felt like I learned a lot and took a lot of things. more knowledge about my interests “, said St. Anthony’s graduate last week. “I’ve been interested in expressing a story on screen for an audience for a long time and having some kind of emotional impact on these people, so that’s what I’m trying to do right now.”

One experience that stood out to him most was working with a television production as an assistant director, saying that “He was the highlight of my time at UH-MC.”

Medeiros, along with Cabalse, will continue their training at UH-West Oahu to complete a four-year degree in arts.

Born and raised in Maui, Medeiros plans to explore opportunities in Hawaii before branching out into the mainland. Producing or directing your own film would one day “Make my world,” He said.

As graduates enter their next stage of life, Executive Chef Kyle Kawakami, a former UH-MC cooking instructor and now owner of Maui Fresh Streatery Food Truck, offered five tips for success: finding a mentor, create an action plan. , pursuing dreams for money, being a teacher and returning to the community.

“One of the best things you can do to succeed in your chosen field is to find a mentor.” said Kawakami, who delivered the opening speech on Saturday.

At the beginning of his culinary career, Kawakami “He was happy to find” a mentor of the late chef Tylun Pang, who had planned to give the opening speech but died a few days earlier, Kawakami said.

“To this day, his words of advice and actions drive my many daily activities,” He said. “Now you all have a certain set of specialized skills, which together form the fabric of our island community… As you settle into your respective fields, don’t forget your roots and the community that created you.” .

* Dakota Grossman can be contacted at dgrossman@mauinews.com.

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