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Sponsored Edition: Roll Call


Lei Chic What does your daughter want to be when she grows up? A rocket scientist? Fashion designer? Member of Congress? All are totally viable career options, as long as she has the right attitude and, most importantly, the right education.

But don't take our word for it. We sat down with U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, a former high-ranking attorney and state Senate president, who started off as a young student with big dreams at St. Andrew's Priory School.

Below, the 1969 graduate reflects on her Priory education and how it helped her achieve her goals for the future.

What was your experience at St. Andrew's Priory School like?
I started attending St. Andrew's Priory in the 8th grade. One of the most terrifying moments for me was when someone asked me to conjugate a verb in Latin. I had no idea what they were talking about. I was attending this private school in Honolulu straight from Waianae Elementary. When I graduated five years later, I did so after having served as the Student Body Treasurer in 11th grade and the Student Body President in the 12th grade. During my senior year, I negotiated changes in the school rules that still exist today, including allowing us to wear muumuu on Aloha Friday instead of our sailor uniforms. It was an experience that shaped me as an individual and one that I cherish.

Lei Chic Can you share any fun moments with us?
My best friend during our junior year was Charlene Chun Soon. Our junior prom dates were from Iolani and we were scheduled to go to both proms. Charlene decided that I would sew her prom gowns, so we spent a weekend at my home in Waianae with me sewing and Charlene complaining that I made her iron the patterns and the stitches. We also made trips to stores to buy beads and daisies to fancy up her prom dress. I would love to share those moments with her again. The friendships we developed at the Priory made us closer than family.

What lessons did you learn?
A unisex school like St. Andrew's Priory teaches you that you can do anything; and probably more importantly, you must do everything. We were the student body officers, the athletic teams, the debate teams; and it would be a young lady that would represent the Priory at any competitive event.

During my senior year, out of 60 entrants in the Hawaii Junior Miss Pageant, nine were from the Priory. I was the only finalist and placed second runner up. I had no talent and definitely no poise, but I knew if I didn't try, I wouldn't learn. Having that confidence - or possibly the lack of inhibitions - about my abilities has shaped me and laid out my future. I had no doubt in my mind that I would be an attorney, and when I decided to run for public office, I knew that I would try for the highest office possible. This is because the Priory did not teach the words "you can't do it" or "you can't achieve that."

What advice would you give to young girls who want a career in politics?
You must first decide what a career in politics means to you. If it is to run for political office, then be aware that once elected, your life becomes public. Also know that like any other job, the higher the office you seek, the more scrutiny there will be. Politics will force you to make very difficult decisions. You are in a situation where, for most part, there are winners and losers. Notwithstanding, there is probably no job as challenging or as interesting as being in politics. It is what you make of it. Do I regret my choice? Absolutely not.

See the benefits of a St. Andrew's Priory School education by attending an open house, Sunday, October 7 at 1 p.m., or Wednesday, October 10 at 9 a.m. St. Andrew's Priory School is located at 224 Queen Emma Square. Call (808) 536-6102 or click here for more information.

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